Many local businesses may think that having an online presence is difficult when competing with larger chain companies. Though these larger companies may come up frequently in search engine queries, a decent amount of searches are done with the intent of finding a local business. And when someone is looking for a local business, don’t you want to assure your business comes up somewhere in their search?

But just having a website isn’t going to bring you to the top of online search results. You have to work hard to get your business well recognized through search engines. The following are some great ways to get your business to rise farther to the top of those searches.

Make Being Local Work for Youlocal marketing places on the internet

Building relationships with other local businesses as well as media outlets can work to your advantage in more ways than one. First and foremost it may spread your companies name by word of mouth. Many may recommend you when the moment arises. But they can also help you online. Local websites are a great place to have your link placed. Check out your Chamber of Commerce site or other sites that lean toward information on local businesses. When you start networking yourself with other business owners and local website managers, be sure to talk your business up by letting them know exactly what you’re about. You might be amazed to see a few links appear.

But you can’t merely depend on others to help you with nothing in return. You have to do the same for local businesses as well. When you come upon a business that your customers may find interesting, take a moment to place a link to their website on your own site. Shortly after, let that business know that you’ve made mention of them on your page. This will build a relationship between your two businesses and they may return the favor on their site.

Build a Social Media Following

Social media sites are currently home to millions of users daily. There is no better, or more inexpensive way, to build a following in today’s marketplace than by taking the time to create a page on a site like Facebook. By building a business page through Facebook you are easily able to insert company and contact information, photos of your business or products, and keep in constant contact with your fans. And the best part, when fans like your page or something you’ve posted, their friends and family members on Facebook will see you too. And it’s easy to let people know your business is on Facebook. The next time you send out an email newsletter/bulletin, throw in a link to your Facebook business page. On your website be sure to add a Facebook icon, which can be easily downloaded from the Facebook page. Somewhere in your store or office, make mention that customers can find you on Facebook. It’s that easy! It is almost irresponsible of a business not to be on social media websites today.

Be a Blogger

Today you can easily find a blog on just about anything, but it can be an incredible marketing tool for businesses. A blog should be linked directly from your website and is useful in showing both current and future customers that you know your stuff. Your posts can be somewhat informal in tone, but should always remain professional and link somehow to what your business is about. Anyone can write a blog on multiple topics, but for a blog to help build upon your current business you must be sure it always has your customers in mind. As people read a blog they can share it with others on their own sites or through social media sites. But it’s not all about having your own blog. Many blogs will allow you to write guest posts. These are wonderful when posted on a local blogger page or on a blog that is closely tied to the type of business you do. Make sure to include a link to your website any time you offer a guest blog.

Start Getting Reviews

Reviews can be scary. Yes, the good ones can be wonderful, but we always worry about the bad ones that can pop up. But you can help your business get as many good as possible by talking with your customers. Set up a page on your website that will allow customers to submit a review of their experience with you through some of the most used review sites (Google+, Yelp, Yahoo, etc.). As you talk to your customers let them know that it would be helpful to your business if they’d be willing to take the time to submit a review when they had a moment. Or, when you send out your next email newsletter/bulletin, make sure to mention that reviews are always helpful.

Whichever avenues you choose to better represent your business online, be sure to investigate them all. What you think might not be right for you may work sometime in the future as you make more connections. Talking to others offline can help build your online presence as well; just let customers know where to find you. Get yourself out there and let your followers or fans do some of the work for you. Don’t allow all the many online options slip past you while your competition may be using them for all they’re worth.