Monday, May 23, 2005

Local search and advertising

Discussion here deals mostly with techniques to drive traffic to your website organically or naturally. Besides raw SEO optimization, however, you also have the option of plain old-fashioned advertising -- paying for those links from websites and search engines to your website.

I've focused for several years now on local content. International news sites such as CNN rank very highly to search engines. If you want the local news, however, you have to read your local newspaper. Many high profile web design professionals have been downplayed the importance of local search for several years, but now that the major search engines have jumped on the bandwagon in providing Local Search results, they're starting to change their minds.

Similarly, Joe Soul looking for a church wants to know where the local churches are. If he searches online, one way you can get his attention is through the use of paid advertising. Google and Yahoo both offer local search options in their online ad programs. These are the "Sponsored Listings" that appear before the normal results whenever you do a search at the various search engines.

These advertising programs are cheaper than you might think, especially if you carefully select the right keywords for your program. People with effective advertising report a much higher return on their investment with online advertising targeted to local searches versus buying a Yellow Pages ad.

Some people report great success in just setting up the program, forgetting about it, then watching the phone calls come in. It's a little more involved than that, but buying ads is an easy and inexpensive way to get people to visit your website.


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