If you operate a small, medium or large business you probably want to show up when someone searches for your local area and your type of business. For example: If you were a dentist in Provo, you will want to show up in the top search engine results page for the search term “Provo dentist”. How do you show up for that search term? Well, there are books and advice that could keep you busy for months teaching you SEO techniques. Here’s one tip that is simple and just as important for businesses without websites as the ones who have sites.

Get a business listing in the major search engine’s local areas. Google and Yahoo should be your first two targets. Once you have submitted information about your business, it can be found by someone looking for local businesses and services. Let’s start with Google. Visit the Google Local Business Center. If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll have to create one. Follow the steps to create an account and include as much information as possible. You can include your operating hours, forms of payment, company logo’s and pictures. As with many Google services, this one is a freebie. There is really no reason to not take advantage of this. It also will become more and more important as Google is changing its search engine results page to include maps at the very top. The links just to the right of the map are generated from the Google Local Business Center. If you don’t have a website, it will display your contact info. If you do have a website, it will display your contact info but also a link to your website.

You’ll also want your business to be included in Yahoo! Local. You can add your business by visiting their Local Merchant site. Yahoo! offers a free listing but also has paid options that include allowing you to add more information and photo’s as well as premium placement. Their search results look a little different but if you are serious about ranking well in Yahoo!, paid placement might get you straight to the top.

Even if you can’t afford the paid placement option in Yahoo!, you will find that including your business’s contact information in these two major search engine’s local section will help potential customers find your business.

Bryan Phelps