I have a feeling that Local Search will be an important topic as SBS grows and gets older. Local Search is still a young and generally underdeveloped search tool at each search engine — and it’s one part of the search equation where small businesses will, for the most part, only be competing for eyeballs against other small businesses. With that in mind, it’s in your best interest to get familiar with what each SE (search engine) offers in terms of Local Search and marketing your business in those channels.
Google, for example, recently introduced a way to advertise your business on its Google Local / Google Maps service. It’s called Google Local Business Ads, and it’s still in beta testing (like most everything at Google). But it’s something you should try to take advantage of as soon as possible.
Whenever a user enters a query that matches advertisers’ chosen keywords and business information, up to three local business ads may appear as “Sponsored Links” below the user’s Google Local search results. The ads display in two parts: a highlighted listing in the search results column and a map marker that expands to show additional business details when the user clicks on the ad title or the marker itself.
Seems to me that everybody loves Google Maps, so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how beneficial it could be to have your ad showing up right on the map.
You’ll need an AdWords account (which you should have, regardless), and you’ll need to have your business listed accurately in Google Local. The Local Business Ads page has all the details and links to get you started. So get going already!