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8 ways to advertise locally for free online

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Advertising online gives a local business a marketing advantage over competitors without a Web presence. Many consumers search online for local products and services as opposed to finding them in newspapers or printed telephone directories.

A company must have a Web presence in order to be found by shoppers searching online for local businesses. There are numerous ways to create this presence for free, including advertising online.

8 Free Online Advertising Methods for Local Businesses

Here are eight local online advertising methods that are absolutely free:

  1. Google Place Listings – Because Google is the #1 search engine, Google Places listings generally appear first in search results on Google. Once you've created an account, simply “list your business” by following the prompts. When creating your profile, make sure to include keywords in your local business description.

  2. Yellowpages.com – This is the online version of the Yellow Pages print telephone directory. Local businesses are broken down into categories. Advertising companies can also add coupons to their local business listings.

  3. Local Search Sites Listings – These are websites dedicated to providing free online listings for local businesses. Some of the most popular local search sites include local.com, urbanspoon.com, merchantcircle.com, mapquest.com and insiderpages.com.

  4. Yahoo! Local – When consumers use the Yahoo! to search for local businesses, Yahoo! Local listings will appear first. These listings also have high page rankings in Google and other search engine results.

  5. Local Community, City or Chamber of Commerce Websites – Many of these sites feature local business directories. These are local authoritative sites. So, your listings are giving high search engine rankings. The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce provides free business listings for all of its members.

  6. Craigslist Ads - According to an Alexa website report, Craigslist is ranked #11 in the U.S. when it comes to the highest combination of pageviews and visitors. It's an extremely popular online tool for advertising locally online. It's also very simple to use because there are no graphics or flash involved.

  7. Facebook Fan Pages – Setting up a Facebook Fan Page is different from creating a personal profile. These business pages can be crawled by search engines, unlike personal Facebook pages. This makes them very effective tools to advertise locally for free online. See Facebook Marketing Strategies: How to Setup a Facebook Fan Page for more information.

  8. Business Blog – Google and other search engines give higher rankings to sites that publish fresh, new content regularly. Blogs give you this ability, while allowing you to share your expertise with your target market. There are various platforms that allow you to blog for free, such as blogger.com and wordpress.com.

Wave Collapse conducted a survey which included data from 1,000 smart phone users. According to the results, 54% of those who used smart phone apps inside stores were looking up prices at other local stores. This is proof that every local business needs to create a Web presence by advertising online.

Know of other ways to advertise local businesses online for free? Share with us in the comments below.

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