iMerge Advisors As an m&a advisor or internet business broker our primary role is helping to sell an internet business or website business. However, we also want to be part of helping internet companies grow thereby increasing revenues and profits.

iMerge is seeing an explosion of interest and activity in local search. Local Search is becoming increasingly important as more and more companies grow their online presence and more consumers use the web as their first option where it used to be their third.  Further evidenced in yesterdays Wall Street Journal article, Companies Yank Cord On Residential Phone Books.  As the decline in circulation of phone books and yellow pages accelerates new options abound for both brick and mortar as well as internet businesses looking to capture eyes from local search portals. There are several things you should be doing to bring in those consumers who are increasingly turning to local search tools.

1. Claim your business listing on places like Google. Yahoo and Yelp
2. Promote your brand on social destination, the largest being Facebook and Twitter.
3. Look at locally focused tools like Foursquare and Groupon
4. Optimize your profile and keep in mind the following important factors that contribute to ranking:

  • Business Address
  • Category
  • Business name – use keywords in the name if possible,
  • Citations build trust with the search engines, see Google Places for more information
  • Reviews – Always help with local ranking
  • Complete profiles when presented

In terms of Advertising there are numerous  solutions today to help.  From locality specific sites such as Hometownlocator, Americantowns and Yelp to the traditional yellow pages companies including SuperMedia, Yellowbook and Yellowpages who are now into the online game.

In addition to advertising, businesses should be reconfiguring web pages to use long tail search terms instead of generic one word terms.  Recent long-tail keyword research has found that long-tail searches often exhibit a higher conversion rate by up to 200% compared to short-tail (generic) keywords, and can be extremely profitable for search engine marketers in terms of a lower cost per action and higher return on investment.

As we shift from a focus on clicks to one of conversions, this will prove to be even more important for businesses.  In terms of business valuations the use of all available marketing channels, including a strong local search presence can only add to the bottom line.