As consultants, we serve clients wherever they are, but we can take advantage of the fact that people are interested in local businesses. This is part three of Four Questions for your Website’s SEO: Getting a handle on how to make your website – and your business – better.

Think publishing your address and phone is risky?http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-washington-dc-image13936004 Think again. Marketing your practice as a local business helps it grow, and provides an opportunity to establish credibility.

The Advantages of Being Local

Even if you can serve clients “anywhere,” you live “somewhere.” Many consultants who work out of their home are concerned about privacy; however, there are compelling reasons to let your website visitors know where in the world you are. Even if you do not publish your street address, several desirable things happen simply by adding the city, state, zip code, and phone number on every page:

Improve credibility

People like to picture where you are – is your office in the Windy City, or on a windswept steppe? Are you near influential people in your field, or too far afield?

(Almost) all search is local

When people search for professional services more often than not they include a city with their query. An element of trust goes along with knowing where you are – even more so, when you are close by.

Verification

Search engines cross check the information on your website with other sources on the Internet, so it’s important to have the NAP (Name, Address, Phone) on your website consistent with online directories.

Smart phones find you

All mobile search is geo-targeted, and we’ve moved way beyond looking for the nearest coffee shop. Search engines give preference to local businesses when responding to queries from a mobile device.

If the point of having a website is to help people find and contact you, it’s time to think and act local.  Start by getting the NAP (name, address, phone) of your business on every page of your website…the sooner, the better. Next, think of ways to cement the relationship between your business and the community, for example by sponsoring events and speaking at local organizations – chambers of commerce, Meet-ups, civic groups, etc.

A helpful article by Miriam Ellis about the basics of local SEO (search engine optimization) helps us appreciate how numerous local “signals” influence a website’s authority.

In other words, local search has a place in your overall marketing plan, even if you aspire to work with national clients. Being located in the Washington, DC, area, has an added advantage; while the decision makers are local, their decisions are often global.

The decision to publish your address and phone number on your website isn’t easy. Before deciding I asked friends and colleagues about their experience. Based on their positive comments, I made the leap, and I’m glad I did.

Here are the other posts in this series for Consulting Women:

Part 1: Call to Action

Part 2: Be a Hero

Part 4: Watch Your Language