With billions and billions of web pages indexed on all the major search engines, the web is certainly getting crowded these days - and competition is more fierce than ever for top search engine rankings. As a local business with a smaller website, how can you market to your customer base online? How can people find out about your local business? How can you generate buzz about your business in your area? Take a look at these 5 methods I put together for you, the local business owner, to gain more online exposure:

1. Create a Google Local Listing for Your Business

Often when users type in a keyword or keyword phrase with a geographic location such as this particular search for law firms in Baltimore, they're presented with a map and a listing of local firms that meet their search criteria; you need to be on this list. Creating a Google Local listing not only puts you in these results, but also makes your ad stand out more in front of your competitors, should you be running a Google Adwords campaign. See the example below:

Google Local Results for Law Firm Near Baltimore, MD

Use the link below to create a listing:

http://www.google.com/local/add/

2. Target Geographic Keywords on Your Website

If you only take on business in a specific region, make sure you say so in your website. Apart from just the content, make sure to combine your geographic and keyword targeted phrases in all the standard locations for effective on-page SEO: Page Titles, Header Text (h1's, h2's, etc.), Internal Links, URL's, and Meta Tags.

3. Start a Regional Marketing Campaign with Google Adwords

Running a PPC marketing campaign through Google Adwords can be a great way to get more online exposure for your business and bring in highly qualified leads. The great thing about Adwords is that they give you the option of targeting specific geographic regions for your campaign. This can range from a country or state all the way down to a single zip code. If you don't have one already, use the link below to sign up for a Google Adwords account:

Google Adwords

4. Send out Monthly Online Press Releases

Use PR Web to send out monthly online press releases about your business and website. They'll run you around $200, but they have the best distribution of any online PR firm I know about. You can target specific locations, making the release more effective in your area. Also be sure to target local keywords within the Anchor Text of the links you send back to your site.

5. Create a Facebook Group

Whether you're a local restaurant looking to drum up interest in your happy hour or a mid-size accounting firm looking to court recent graduates, creating a Facebook group can greatly increase your exposure online, specifically in locally targeted markets.

Facebook.com

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