I’ve been seeing alot of hype lately about how local searches are the ‘next big thing’. This is nothing new folks.  I’ve been telling clients, friends, and colleagues to prepare for this for more than a couple of years by including location information on their sites and making sure they register for both a Google Local listing and a Yahoo Local listing.

Printed Yellow Pages are a thing of the past.  I throw mine directly into recycling.  There are statistics that show that nearly 75% of U.S. households use the Internet as a resource when shopping locally.  Google has been incorporating its Google Local results at the TOP of locality searches for almost 2 years.  That is, search for something like ‘internet in Fair Oaks, CA’ and you might find me.

So if local customers are one of your core target markets, it makes sense to address this geographical area in your web site’s optimization efforts.  It may seem common sense, but you’d be surprised about how many businesses with clearly defined local markets ignore this and don’t even include location information in their basic web page copy.

A search engine can only index your website according to the information your web pages provide. In order to encourage the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN to categorize your business within your locality, you must include specific local information on your web pages, such as your address and phone number, so that it is clear to the search engines which area your business serves.