Until now, newspaper ads, mailings and referrals may have kept your business growing. But lately, many potential clients have stopped reading newspapers. Some people aren’t even getting mail. No kidding!
One manager for a telecommunications company says mail isn’t delivered anymore. Why? “So many of us telework. When we do come in, we’re often sharing offices. If we’re expecting mail, we have to physically go to the mail room to see if it’s come in.”
Trend-trackers at the Kelsey Group report that local search is booming. Every day, 61 million local searches are conducted online. Clearly, if your business isn’t visible in search results, you’re losing out to competitors that are visible.
There are many ways to make your business search friendly, including:
- Listing yourself on local search engines
- Search-engine optimizing your entire web site
- Buying pay-per-click services AdWords or AdSense
But one of the quickest, easiest and free ways to boost your search visibility is by making smart use of “tags.”
What ‘tags’ are and how they work
Tags—also called meta tags—are words you use to tell search engines what type of content is in the material you post online. Each page of your web site can have a tag (or title) that tells search engines what’s on that specific page. You can also add tags to blogs, photos, videos or even press releases. Use the right tags and search engines will pull up those links for anyone searching for services in your area.
Sound simple? It is! The only secret is using the right tags and using them everywhere. Let’s take a look at some examples:
1. Do not tag your home page “home.” Why not? Because not a single person will search for your services using the word “home.” What they will search for are words related to the services you offer. That’s why those same words should be used as the meta tags and titles for each page of your web site.
Think tags don’t make a difference? A web guru friend of mine wanted to see if he could make a business selling his family-recipe hot sauce. He set up a five-page web site and tagged each of the pages with keywords. Before he even posted his marketing copy and photos, his site ranked No. 1 in local searches for gourmet foods, hot sauce and barbeque sauce. Obviously, you’re not selling hot sauce, but the same smart web page tagging could make your services hot stuff!
2. Use heading tags, too. Use heading tags to create headlines and subheads in your text. Since these bold, larger phrases stand out, search engines weigh the words they contain very heavily. Make sure your headings – especially your largest ones – contain keywords people may use to search for services in your area.
3. Tag all types of content. Example: If you post a press release on a service like PRWeb.com, you can choose from a variety of tags to flag interest in your services as well as audience-specific tags. Not only does this help on local searches, many journalists and bloggers also set up “watch services” so they receive automatic notification of any news that matches the tags they’ve identified as relevant.
For example, one tax pro says that thanks to tags, his online press release about energy-related tax deductions got picked up by at least a dozen local blogs, bringing him more than 20 new clients.
Bottom line: If you want your business to be “it” in local searches, play a smart game of tag!
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