Local businesses should make sure that the internet knows where they are

Even the best small businesses couldn't flourish if none of their customer base knew how to reach them, and there is an interesting paradigm shift underway that has seen the role of phone books and yellow pages be completely undermined by web searches. According to a Local Consumer Review survey reported on by BrightLocal.com, 79 percent of consumers in the United States have used the internet to find local businesses in the past year. In fact, the internet is becoming the point of entry for most consumers, especially young folks, into the commercial world. Small business can no longer afford to not have all their customers be able to locate them.

Fortunately, it is possible for local companies to optimize their web presences to make sure an address and map location are irrevocably linked to their names. Once again, this is the doing of Google. Like search engine results, physical addresses are calculated by complex algorithms and metrics to ensure reliability. Here are some ways that local businesses can ensure that their addresses are known far and wide.

Google Local
The first step is to register a business with Google. Of course, supplementary efforts need to be undertaken. However, this communicates to the search engine that there is an active presence trying to tie an address to a name or web presence. This also allows for companies to be found easily on Google Maps, which because of the rise of smartphones and GPS systems, is increasingly the method used by consumers to get locations and find places.

Directories
Many websites function as a repository for physical data and locations. Usually, these sites will be run by a town or local government and are there for the benefit of local companies. A carefully-written appeal to the government webmaster can net an entry on these directories and gives added incentive for Google to assign an address to a business. However, remember that unlike pages devoted to spamdexing and link farming, directories need to be solidly non-commercial and only for informational purposes. Websites that are blatant attempts to drive ad revenue will not be as appealing to Google algorithms.

Blogs and text
Of course, a can't-miss tactic is to have a company's address appear near its name on the internet. This can be accomplished like any other sort of SEO effort, utilizing blogs and other informative websites. Like other SEO tactics, this shouldn't be done too frequently lest Google disapprove.  

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