29 March 2007

Go Local : Advertise Your Business Online

The other day, I was searching for the term, RV air conditioner. Google and Yahoo! returned at least ten pages of search engine results each. The only problem was that not one of the listings in the first page of these results were local to where I live. If I did not care about shipping charges, I could buy the RV air conditioner of my dreams from Indiana. If I wanted the thrill of bidding on an RV air conditioner, I could find at least three on eBay.

I finally found RV air conditioners at CampingWorld. Unfortunately, after I found the model for which I was searching, I had to locate a Camping World close to where I live. Then I had to call to see if they had the RV air conditioner I needed.

Just to determine if I was missing something, I went to an online yellow pages site and searched for RV air conditioner. I had several pages of results, and most of the businesses were local, but the air conditioners were not for recreational vehicles.

Why is a business in Indiana in my search engine results? Why are my search engine results not keyed to my IP address or my zip code? When I tried the local online Yellow Pages, I could not refine my search to the exact item for which I searched. Worse, many of the local listings did not have websites, so I was back to old-school-search, better known as calling for information.

Do not let this happen to your business. If you are thinking about where to place your small business advertising, make sure you are in the local search engine results for your zip code and your county and surrounding counties. Then, by all means, expand to the state, country, the world. That is what the Internet is all about. Just make sure you are not overlooking the customers in your own backyard first.

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