How to Target a Local Audience Online

By Hostway

Local-specific searches are becoming more popular on the Web as people increasingly search online before walking into a store. A good local search strategy is important to any business looking to reach out to customers in their area whether they sell online or not. Here are four tips for getting your business in front of local customers on the Internet:

1. Submit a business profile to the popular search engines.

When someone searches Google Maps or Yahoo Local for a business, the results return a list of businesses in the area with links to profiles that give customers all the information they need to buy from these businesses. The catch is that only businesses that submit a profile are included in those results.

You can submit a profile of your business and use it as your complete Web presence or include a link to your Web site on the profile to drive traffic to your site and increase your search engine rankings with a high quality inbound link.

2. Optimize your Web site with words related to your location.

Attract more local customers to your Web site by adding location-specific words. When someone types in your keyword plus your city, you’re more likely to rank high in the results when your location is relevant to the search. Follow the same rules you would to optimize your Web site with regular keywords: use your city, neighborhood or state in a heading, in the text and in the meta tags. For more information on how to optimize your Web site with keywords, read  Keywords are It! Seven Powerful and Useful Keyword Marketing Tools.

3. Design your promotions specifically for your local audience.

If your business caters to a local market, you can make this apparent in your online promotions. Try tying a sale to the annual summer festival and promote that on your Web site. If you’re sending out a marketing email or newsletter, mention local events to show that you are part of the community.

4. Advertise on your local newspaper Web site.

Local news sources still reign in terms of local news coverage. While some people may read national or international news Web sites, they’ll always turn to the local new sources for things like weather reports and goings-on around the community.

A local newspaper’s Web site is a great place to advertise your business and provide a link to your Web site or local business profile. While advertising on national or international Web sites may generate more clicks overall, an ad on a local news Web site is sure to generate quality clicks from people in your community who might actually become your customers.