By Andrea Greene, Internet Marketing Specialist

Over the last several years, buying keyword listings in the search engines has become a widely used and effective method of advertising your products and services online. For businesses with a website and a national audience, this approach makes most sense. It allows you to put your message in front of the entire Internet audience, for any potential customers to see.

Unfortunately, for many businesses serving a local market there can be one major drawback: lack of geographic targeting. These keyword listings can show up for searches done anywhere in the country, from California to
Florida to Maine. For products and services available nationwide, that might be an appropriate strategy. But consider the local pizza shop in Beachwood, Ohio. They don’t want to be stuck paying for irrelevant clicks on searches for “pizza delivery” from a searcher in Philadelphia because chances are that pizza shop is not going to make the 900 mile round trip just to deliver a pepperoni pizza!

Research from The Kelsey Group estimates that at least 10% of searches
are local in nature* and that by 2008, advertisers will spend approximately
$2.8 billion on local search.

Search engines are now developing new tools and programs that allow you to pick precisely which areas your potential customers will be able to see your keyword listings. You can target by city, state, region, and in some cases even by inputting custom coordinates.

Local Keyword Purchasing Programs: Currently, there are a number of different keyword campaigns available in the top local search marketing programs. Both Google and MSN have programs in place that can actually determine where you are searching from and cater the search results to your location. Other programs let you buy listings directly in the local search engines, such as Yahoo Local, or in an online directory, like the Verizon Superpages, that are displayed when the searcher inputs their location, usually city, state or zip code.

Example: For Designs of Distinction, a local event production and planning company, we tested a geography targeted campaign with the Verizon Superpages. We were able to put our client in the top results of the party equipment & supplies category in the Cleveland, Ohio geographic market!

Business Profiles: Don’t want to pay for clicks? Consider letting Dynamics Online create and manage custom businessprofiles for your business in your specified local market. You control the information provided,
including business hours, contact information, payment options, reviews, and more. Your business profile can be added in the top local search engines and directories, including Google Local, Yahoo Local, Superpages, MSN Local, InfoSpace, Switchboard, and many others. See examples of optimized business profiles in Google Local, Yahoo Local, and Verizon Superpages.

If you are interested in starting a local search engine marketing campaign or just want to learn more, contact
Dynamics Online today.

*via Local Search Guide:
http://www.localsearchguide.org/html/local_search.html