The term “local search engine marketing” seems to have as many definitions as there are companies offering local search engine marketing services. If you don’t speak “geek” – then the various options offered under the umbrella of “local search engine marketing” may seem a bit overwhelming. Make sure you understand what you’re getting when you decide to hire any local search engine marketing firm.
Five Most Popular Services Offered by Local Search Engine Marketing Companies.
Business Listing Management: This fundamental service is now offered by many local search engine marketing firms and involves claiming and managing your local business search listing on various local search sites. Accurate local business listings are essential to reach new customers online.
Managing your business listing in any directory requires strict adherence to the policies of the particular site which is where these firms can help the typical business owner. For example, when offered the field of “business name” it’s essential that you simply list your business name. It’s surprising how many business owners will try to include other information like a phone number or marketing tag line in this field. These tactics may provide a temporary “lift” for your listing – but in the end will almost always be penalized heavily by the directory site.
If you perform a search for the products and services your business offers on a major search engines and a local map appears on that first page of the search – then it’s important to choose a company which offers this service. If your business doesn’t appear on the map displayed – then finding just such a local search engine marketing firm should take high priority.
PPC a.k.a. Pay Per Click: Many local search engine marketing firms offer PPC campaign management for your local business. Unlike traditional offline methods of advertising your business – with a PPC campaign your business will only PAY for the ad when a user CLICKS on the ad.
A PPC campaign begins by carefully targeting the keywords consumers are using to find the products and services offered by your business. As shown in the image to the left, your ads will be placed prominently on a page where a consumer has typed in the keywords you have targeted in your campaign.
As you can see, offering a PPC campaign is the best way to get your business prominently displayed when someone searches for the keywords you have chosen.
PPC can be very cost effective when you carefully manage your campaign. This means carefully choosing the right keywords, and crafting the right “ad copy”. Since you’re paying every time someone clicks on the ad, it also means creating a landing page which will turn an internet visitor into a real life customer.
PPC ads run like auctions where your business “bids” on placement. The advertiser can dictate how much they will pay per click and usually will be given an option on how much to spend per month.
Online Display Advertising: Some local search engine marketing companies offer to manage your banner or display advertising on the internet. Unlike PPC ads – you frequently pay for the number of “impressions” made by your ad – a.k.a. every time someone loads a page and your ad is displayed.
SEO a.k.a. Search Engine Optimization: Some local search engine marketing firms practice traditional search engine optimization. What this means is that these companies will make your current website more search engine friendly. The objective of SEO is to get your site listed high in the “natural search listings” – a.k.a. “organic” search.
Studies have shown that when a company’s website is represented in both the natural and paid search results that click through rates increase exponentially. However, unlike the other services listed above, SEO does not provide “instant” results. It often takes a lot of time and hard work for a site to build the necessary “trust” with the search engines to be displayed prominently in natural search. Making an investment in SEO is a sound long term online marketing strategy for any business. The SEO efforts of today usually don’t show up in the bottom line for months – however can provide long term benefits which in some cases can last for years.
Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing is another service offered by local search engine marketing firms. Social media marketing can mean anything from launching a blog for your business to creating and maintaining a Facebook Page for your business or creating a Twitter account to “tweet” news about your business.
If your business relies upon repeat business from your core group of customers, then making an investment in social media marketing is probably a wise investment for your business.
These are the five most popular services offered by local search engine marketing firms and consultants. It’s important to decide in advance which of these services your business needs before contacting a local search engine marketing firm.