Even local businesses who conduct very little business online can take advantage of the internet. The fact of the matter is, today more people find out about a new business through the internet than they do from the local newspaper, phone book or flyer. Setting up a web presence is a powerful way to develop a business. By utilizing the power of local business internet marketing, a company can spread awareness about its products and services in a way that was not possible before.
Skilled local marketers take advantage of the fact that a great deal of people discover local businesses through services such as Google Maps, Bing Maps, and MapQuest. Whether or not a potential customer uses these services directly, the results of these mapping programs are often prominently displayed in the results of search engines. This is especially true when a person searches for a product and specifies the location. Google, Yahoo, and Bing will all display a list of five or ten local businesses in the search results when a location is specified in the keyword phrase searched for. A business is much more likely to get noticed if it ranks in the top five local search results. There are two primary methods of promoting a local business through internet marketing. They are referred to as search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). SEO is the process of optimizing a site so that a search engine understands the relevance of the site in relation to specific keywords so that the site will be displayed prominently whenever those keywords are searched for. There are many factors relevant to SEO, but the most important elements are the quality and quantity of links from other sites, the prevalence of keywords on the site and on the sites linking to it, and the internal organization of the site. When these factors are used in combination with local techniques, such as posting the phone number and address of the business on every page of the site, and claiming profiles with Google Local Business Center, Yahoo Local, and Merchant Center, a business can claim a larger percentage of the local internet traffic. SEM is an alternative form of local internet marketing that allows a business to pay search engines a fee to display advertisements. The advertisements will be posted above or near the search engine results, as well as on websites talking about related subjects, and payments are only made to the search engine when the ads are clicked on. This technique is referred to as pay-per-click.