One big stumbling block local businesses have is there web site. Most are lucky to have whatever they have up on the Internet at all. Only a very few have gone the extra mile to learn and/or pay for a well-optimized website. By “optimized”, I mean a web site that has been created with both human visitors AND search engines in mind.
I want to make this statement perfectly clear: You MUST design your website for both humans AND search engines.
If you want to learn how to create and manage your web site, great! If you want to pay someone to do it for you, great! Either way, just make sure your business has a well designed site. Your web site plays a key role in how well your business does with local search marketing.
Not only can a well optimized website attract new customers all by a well ranking site in your local business listings (those listings right there by the Google map in a local search) can GREATLY influence your local business ad rankings! High ranking local business listings, especially in highly competitive areas, almost always have a well optimized site associated with them.
What do I call a well-optimized site? First, it is not JUST a brochure site. No matter how “pretty” your site is, if the search engines don’t care for it, they won’t rank it well and no one will ever see it. Whoever creates the site MUST understand the fundamentals of SEO (search engine optimization). Do not create a site without this knowledge. It’s far easier to do it right the first time than to go back and fix a poorly designed site. Learn about SEO before beginning your site. If you already have a site on the Internet, you should still learn SEO so you can modify it and make it more search engine friendly.
A well-optimized site will have at least 4 or 5 pages of content optimized for carefully researched keywords. I won’t go into the details here for selecting the right keywords, but be aware this is a key part of a successful site. More pages are better, but 4 or 5 are the minimum. A page of content consists usually of 400 to 700 words. Yes, content is king! Content is one of the main factors search engines use to rank niche sites. Your site, when optimized for a specific city, is considered a “niche site” regardless of how popular the overall service or product is.
You can use a blog platform such as WordPress if you like. It is easier to learn than making regular static web sites. However, it too requires specific knowledge on how to optimize it for the search engines. I can’t emphasize enough how vital it is that you don’t simply create a website for the sake of “having a website”! You want people who are looking for the products and services you offer to find your site.