What is online visibility? For people selling products and services in the local community online visibility can be translated to “findability”. The more easily people can find you online, the more visibility you have. From a marketing perspective, the more online visibility you have the more sales you are likely to make.

In the past merchants increased local visibility using a variety of marketing techniques including; word of mouth, printing flyers, placing newspaper advertisements, running television and radio commercials and hosting events.

Local Online Marketing Increases Local Visibility

Today we also have the Internet and increasing local business online visibility is what local online marketing is all about. There are several online marketing programs that can be used to increase online visibility. These programs include paid advertising, website search engine optimization, social media networking and geographical marketing. Each program can increase a business’s visibility and search engine ranking over time. However, geographical marketing (online business directory listings) is by far the simplest, most powerful and cost effective way for people and businesses to increase their local visibility.

To fully understand the concept you need to understand how search engines work. Search engines are powerful platforms that index websites and webpages so that when a user conducts a search within that search engine, a list of results are returned based on the keywords used in the search. Each search engine organization has its own formula for returning search results to customers. Any search result returned that has not been paid for by an advertiser is referred to as organic or geographic. Search returns that have been paid for by advertisers are referred to as sponsored and usually are referenced and at the very top or to the right of organic search results.

Improved Online Visibility and Local Search Results

Search engines are increasingly returning “local search” results just after sponsored results and before organic results on the front page of results. Local search can be defined as an online search by a user looking for something in a specific geographical area. Local search results are returned by search engines based on not only keywords entered by the user but also the geographic location. Geographic location is translated by search engines using names, addresses and phone numbers. Since search engines already know the geographic location of the person conducting the search they can return geographically specific results using information either previously entered directly into their own database or from an external data provider. By physically increasing the number of directories that you have your business listed on, the more visibility you have and the more likely that your overall search engine ranking will improve.

As a result, if you are not actively engaged in ensuring you are using an online marketing strategy that truly improves your local business online visibility, you’re not likely to consistently show up on relevant search results pages.


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Author: Jim Merrick