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The vast reach of the internet means that both online and offline business owners frequently look for the easiest ways to connect with as many people around the world as they possibly can.

There is an argument, however, to say that these businesses are missing a trick if they aren’t targeting their local community primarily. This is often most noticeable in offline businesses that advertise themselves online. Most, if not all, of their revenue is going to come from the local area, yet they don’t advertise anything that says where they are from.

The attitude of ‘the internet will save us’ is a very dangerous one, and one that should certainly be avoided. It may well help your business, but only if it is harnessed and used correctly.

Whether you operate online or offline, and regardless of the nature of your business, building a loyal customer base close to home will give you a strong foundation to grow your business and be sustainable for many years. How can your business use local search techniques in order to conquer your local community first, prior to branching out further?

Getting to Grips With Search

While your competitors are all fighting with each other for the imaginary brass ring, in this case the number one spot on Google, you can be a step ahead by focussing on your local search marketing.

By increasing the exposure and awareness of your business in your area, you will increase the likelihood of building strong customer relationships, gaining more word of mouth recommendations, and increase everything from your bottom line figure to your reputation as a quality service provider, whatever your industry.

Focussing your efforts on local search will work. Even when using e-commerce and other online businesses, people are more trusting of nearby businesses rather than a company based halfway around the world.

Why Does It Work?

The principles of local search marketing are the same as wider optimisation techniques. If people are searching for your business, then a high enough keyword rank will see you generate leads.

It isn’t just a case of ensuring you rank highly, however, but by connecting yourself specifically with your area. A strategy for growing your business locally isn’t going to work if people in London are as exposed to your business as people are in Leeds, where you are based.

How do you connect yourself without stuffing your site full of awkward phrases and paraphrases such as ‘leeds plumber,’ ‘plumber leeds,’ ‘leeds best cheap plumber’ and so on?

The key is to make the most of local business directories. While things such as Yell.com will gain you some exposure, not many people use that as a search engine, do they? Target Google Places primarily, and if you are only going to list yourself in one place, make it here.

As soon as the listing is picked up, potential customers in your local area will see your location as soon as they search for your industry or service. Why would they call the business out of town when you are around the corner?

Although focussing on your local area with search can feel like small time thinking, it could provide your business with its most consistent and valuable percentage of revenues far into the future.

Robert is an online content writer with a specific interest in business growth strategies, and how these are planned, developed, and executed over the short and longer term.

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