Being found locally is a very important thing for businesses to focus on. This will keep a steady stream of new customers coming through their doors while also increasing their word of mouth and local brand awareness. For businesses looking to step up their local online marketing, there are a few things that they should do to get started.

Keyword research is at the heart of local search and maps optimization. This can be done easily with the Google Keyword Tool. The tool displays accurate and constantly updated search data about even very low volume local search phrases. After doing this, a business owner should have a good idea of what people are searching for in their area and how they can focus on those keywords.

Once these keywords are found, pages on their website will need to be optimized for them. The most common changes are in the title and meta description tags on the pages. These are the little pieces of information that people see when they come across their website in search engine rankings. They should both include the target keywords. It is also worth pointing out that it may be a good idea for businesses to have multiple service pages for different areas around them. This will allow them to appeal to a wider audience.

Another simple thing that can be done to help anyone increase their local search rankings is to add their physical address and phone number to the footer of all the pages on their website. This will help search engines to crawl their information and associate it with their search listing.

Once this is done, submitting the website to local directories and Google Places is the next step in the process. Although they are often forgotten, many local search directories do still exist today. When done properly and with the right on-page optimization, a Google Places submission can be extremely effective. Ranking high in Google Places is a guaranteed way to increase traffic and sales.

These are just a few of the basic, yet very effective ways that business owners can optimize their websites for more local search and Google Places traffic. These changes and submissions can be done quite easily, yet can make a huge difference.