Question: How do you refine search engine optimization efforts to target a local audience?

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Answer: As search engines have continued to grow in complexity, forcing users to sift through longer and longer lists of potential online destinations, the ability to generate search results based on geographic location has become increasingly attractive. The functionality is especially critical for businesses that rely on a local client base for survival.

To optimize your Web site for local search efforts, the following tactics are essential:

  • Place your company address and ZIP code on the site, preferably on the home page;
  • Include geographically oriented keywords and phrases in the title, description and keyword tags of your site;
  • Ensure that your company information is carried by online directories such as Super Pages, which are tapped by larger engines such as Google and Yahoo!

Additionally, take a look at the local search guide from the Yellow Pages Association ( Providing information about online directories, local search services from major search engines and search advertising tools provided by companies such as Yahoo!’s Overture and, this guide offers valuable advice on search engine marketing for local advertisers.

As with any search engine marketing program, the most important step is taking the time to determine what keywords and phrases your target audience will use to find your products and services and properly optimizing your site for these terms.

Jim Grinney is a principal with 90octane, Denver. He can be reached at [email protected].
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