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Whether or not you have a brick and mortar store, it is vital to ensure your web site is ranked well in searches for your local area. What does this mean?

People aren’t just searching for ’widgets’ anymore they are searching for "widgets AND my town" more and more trying to narrow their searches to their own neighborhood. Why is this?

People want to know whom they are dealing with online. They want to be able to visit your business location for your offerings, or at least have the peace of mind that they could if they wanted to.

For example, if you own a dry cleaning business, potential customers want to not only see your prices; they want directions and a map to get to your store. Even in the face of a global economy more and more people are realizing the importance of community and want to give their business to local merchants.

Here are some additional ideas to think about when adding your site to directories on the web.

Community: Yahoo definitely excels when it comes to including community in local search. They are combining their Yahoo 360 social networks with local listings. The results are most helpful for people who wish to find information relating the their own area.

When you select a listing for a restaurant, for example, you will see all of the consumer-generated recommendations. If a recommender is in your group of contacts, a star is placed next to their recommendation. You know not only other consumers' opinions, you know when those opinions are from people you know.

Mobile: Do not neglect the mobile search market. With the advent of systems like Verizon’s new technology and the Blackberry, people search for the nearest theater using their handheld device. Then they will search for that great martini bar that is nearby and open after the show.

Press Releases: Is your business doing something new and exciting online or offline? Are you you’re promoting it? Take advantage of free press releases from services.

Local City Searches: CitySearch is a major provider of local information for sites including MSN, Ask.com, Expedia.com, Ticketmaster.com, and many others.

Contact information on your site: Have a physical address and phone number within an <address> tag at least on your contact page and one other page; the best option would be the homepage. By far the best option is to have your address on all pages of your site. Such information builds trust rank value for your web site too.

For example, if your website was, dexterityunlimited.com, you could add the following at the bottom of all your pages:

Or something like this:

Make sure that your site is matched up to relevant local directories. The list below points out some great directories where you should include your site.

Incorporate Microformats in to your web site.

Submit your company’s listing to some top directories:

  • Yelp. Restaurant Reviews, Doctors, Bars, Salons, Dentists and more;

Submit to Internet Yellow Pages:

Submit your site to Local Search Engines:

Submit your company to Data Providers:

Set your geographic location in Google's Webmaster Tools:

Don’t neglect localized searches. Some of your best customers could be right around the corner, but if they can’t find your web site in the local listings that they use, they might never come through your door.

About this SEO tutorial

This tutorial was written by John S. Britsios, John S. Britsios (aka Webnauts), Search Experience Consultant at SEO Workers and was published October 20, 2007.

Copyright reserved. Not to be reproduced.