In a blog entry, to help small business get online, Google today revealed that 20% of searches on Google are related to location, and 97% of consumers search online for local businesses.
First thing, today having a presence on social media is a great way to reach local community. "Social media allows you to engage with your customer base by sharing timely announcements and promotions, listening and responding to customer feedback, and giving customers an easy way to recommend your business to their friends," wrote Garen Checkley, Search Quality Team.
Here are a few essential steps to getting started:
Start with Google's social network, Google+, a Google+ business or brand page help you share all types of information and content with customers, allow them to "+1" your business, and even video chat face-to-face with groups using a Google+ Hangout.
You can also use Google Places for Business to ensure that your business is easily discoverable online. "Simply create a free listing for your business, or verify the existing listing already available. That way, when a potential customer searches on Google, Google Maps or Google Maps for Mobile with a phrase related to your service," Checkley adds.
See this video for more info on Google Places:
If you are looking for more ideas, the Webmaster Academy.
In other Google news,
Google Ideas in recent months, using Google App Engine, Google Voice, and Google Docs, developed a pilot project with the Somali service, calling it "Africa Division of Voice of America (VOA)" to help Somalis register public opinion.