Setting up free local search marketing (and why you should)

From Jade McAuley, Rebel Marketing
“Local search marketing” describes when people are searching for a product or service online that is based on a location. For example, if I’m looking for a hairdresser, I’d type “hairdresser mackay” into Google – as opposed to just “hairdresser”.

One SEO (Search Engine Optimisation – ie getting onto the first page of Google) technique is to list your business on all of the wonderfully free online business directories. Two key components of SEO are relevance (how relevant is your website to a person’s search) and popularity (how often people are clicking on and around in your website).

These directories will most likely be attracting a lot more web traffic to their URL then you would be receiving for just your website – so having a free listing helps you in two ways. One – directories are categorised by industry type, services/products and geographic location, so if I search for “hairdresser mackay” and you are listed everywhere online in the “hairdresser” category for “mackay”, then there is a greater chance you’ll show up in my search. Two – because of all the “eyeball traffic” they receive (nice phrasing hey, feel free to use that) from people EVERYWHERE looking for EVERYTHING, it shows they are popular and if there is a one-way link from their site to yours (known as a quality backlink) then this helps to boost your rating. Ie the more sites that link to your website address, the more quality backlinks you have (as long as you aren’t also linking back to them – still useful, but not as powerful).

However – what you will notice when searching for something like “hairdresser mackay” is that quite often, due to their relevance and popularity, these directory sites rank higher than individual business websites anyway. Either way – it really pays to spend an afternoon writing out an interesting and keyword rich blurb, and setting up free listings for your business on any directory that will take you.

Keep in mind however, SEO is never a solo mistress. Successfully completing one SEO technique will pretty much do diddly squat. You need to be using multiple techniques, tools and tactics continuously (because there is always new content being added online every nanosecond) to keep your site competitive for search engine rankings. Or you can just pay for it – but beasts like Google AdWords are a whole other (long and boring) conversation.

Below are some of the online business directories that you can create free listings on:
Bing for Business:
Google My Business:
Hot Frog:
Local Business Guide:
Local Search:
Sensis (Yellow Pages):
Start Local:
True Local: