In an article posted by Search Engine Lands’ Chris Silver Smith,“Three Ways to Optimize Business for Local Search via Online Newspapers,” he explains how newspapers are a valuable resource for local businesses. Online newspapers are an excellent way to reach local consumers and achieve a higher ranking on search engines. Online yellow pages and local search engines are not the only ways that you can improve your local online presence.

“In Google’s eyes, if your site is going to rank well for locally-specific searches for your area, there should ideally be a number of the sites in your local “solar system” which are mentioning you and linking to you as you are within the same gravitational pull as the rest of the group,” claims Smith.

Search engines regard news and newspaper sites as trustworthy resources of information. Obtaining links and citations (when a business is referred to without a link) from online newspapers can be very beneficial for your local business. Google does recognize when local businesses are linked to online newspapers. Even if the online newspapers currently have low page rankings, it can still improve your overall search engine page rank. There is also potential for online newspaper growth as they develop themselves more in search engine marketing.

Research shows that Google “favors” blogs, news, newspapers and microblogging sites. Links from these sites prove to increase ranking against local competitors. “Google’s Caffeine, may also indicate that they perceive highly fresh news content and blogging content such as from microblogging site Twitter to be highly valuable,” states Smith.

Listed below are 3 ways you can optimize local search via newspapers:

1. Get listed in Classifieds. Some online newspapers provide free listings or require you to pay for premium features. Online newspaper classifieds can be beneficial for your local business if they aren’t too expensive, are search engine friendly and are popular among targeted consumers. Make sure your ad is updated frequently and includes links, pictures and/or videos if the newspaper allows it.

2. Expand your listing/profile in the newspaper’s yellow pages. Most newspapers have their own yellow page directory, where you can optimize content for your local business. Yellow pages and classifieds typically are outsourced by a parent company for their development and hosting. To optimize your local business you may need to make changes to the parent yellow pages.

3. Pitch stories and content about your business to local news reporters. Develop a media grabbing stunt or response to current news. There is high value associated with links and citations that occur in the content of an article. How can your business grab the attention of local reporters? Develop relationships with local reporters and try to get on a mailing list. Become a resource that journalists can depend on in exchange for a link.

Utilizing online newspapers for your local business can enhance local search from Google and other search engines. When selecting your news site, target online equivalents of the local newspapers in your area. You may not see results right away, but if you stay consistent, over time you will notice improvements.

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