When people think of the term “search engine,” often the first ones that come to mind are the big players of the search engine world—Google, Bing and Yahoo. When people think of the term “local search engine,” the same three seem to come to mind. After all, even these big power houses offer local options. However, there are also a variety of local search engines out there with marketing potential waiting to be tapped by the enterprising business.  A few examples include local.com, AskCity.com, and CitySearch.com.

These local search engines are, quite obviously, search engines that focus on showing location-specific results. In addition, online yellow pages directories and local social networks can be considered as part of the local search engine network. For businesses that are looking to gain an edge in local marketing, optimizing their presence on local search engines can be an excellent way to drive traffic towards a site. Once someone discovers that there is a search engine other than Google, they’re likely to stick with the smaller choice when searching for something in the area.

4 Reasons to Start Optimizing Local Search Results

Many business owners may direct their efforts towards search engine optimization and marketing on well-known search engines. However, small businesses may find it difficult to compete with larger companies that have a stronger presence on search engine results. After all, SEO is expensive, and not every company can get a small business loan just to reach that number one spot on Google. The following are methods that will help you small business begin developing local results on local search engines:

  1. Reach your Target Audience : For many local businesses, the target audience is often those in close proximity to the actual location. Examples of businesses that rely on a local clientele include restaurants, hair stylists and professionals such as lawyers and dentists.  In other words, trying to find a good hair salon on a search engine filled with every hair salon in the country is a huge undertaking. Do your own background check on your customers, and decide whether or not they need to be close in location to your business in order to be interested.
  2. Local Search Engine Optimization:  If your business rarely appears on local search engine results, there are ways to rectify this problem. One way in which businesses can develop an online presence is to engage in local search engine optimization.  Local SEO allows companies to appear higher on certain keywords, allowing their businesses to make a stronger impression on prospective customers. This works the same way it does with larger search engines, but the results are seen much faster!
  3. Local Advertising: Most search engines offer advertisers the ability to target an audience based on their region and location. Through this service, businesses can create banner and text ads, which the search engine displays towards individuals that are within the company’s target audience. By utilizing local advertising, small businesses can target their ads towards the customers that are most likely to visit their stores.
  4. Business Listings: Many of these search engines now have a feature where your business is able to appear on search engine results through local business listings. It is important to appear on these results, as this additional exposure will make your business more visible to your audience. In addition, search engines also have map features, where businesses will be shown when an individual searches for an address.

Businesses don’t necessarily need to concentrate on major search engines when optimizing their online presence. Local search engines can have just as strong an effect simply by targeting individuals that are most likely to respond. By developing their local internet presence and optimizing search engine results, businesses can watch the traffic flow through their doors.

Image courtesy- stayonsearch.com

Amanda DiSilvestro is an expert writer on toll free numbers based in San Diego, California. She writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as workers compensation insurance. You can find more of her articles as well as vendors comparisons for your small business needs at Business.com.

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