These days, the competition for the top spots on Google, Yahoo, and Bing is getting fiercer than ever – even when the searchers are located just down the street. That’s because more and more small businesses, not to mention a few bigger ones, are incorporating geographic keywords into their web pages, blog posts, and other content.

It’s not hard to understand why. Google, which gets more than three quarters of all search engine traffic in the US and even more overseas, shared with us an interesting piece of information not long ago: that roughly one out of every five queries had some sort of location component. In other words, customers are not just searching for dog walkers, for example, but for “Arizona dog walkers.”

The result has been a scramble to find new ways that you can not only outpace the rest of the world, but your competition down the street. So, for all of you who might be interested in finding a hidden edge, here it is: Make the most of YouTube.

YouTube, often referred to as “the world’s second most popular search engine” because of the high number of hits and searches it receives daily, has billions of videos. Savvy marketers are using it to do more than share videos of their cats, however, including finding new tie-ins to local search engine optimization.

That’s a great idea for most small businesses for two reasons: First, because YouTube ranks so highly, meaning that any link from it back to your own site is valuable. And secondly, because it’s something that most of the other businesses in your area probably won’t think of, meaning you can gain an edge that they may never catch up to. Here are a few quick tips for producing your own video that helps you optimize your businesses website for local customers:

  • Pick a topic that would attract buyers in your area, like an overview of your business, tour of your store, or some answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Make sure that your city and state feature in both the video’s title and description, as should your company name.
  • Keep it short; two or 3 min. is plenty of time to get your message across. If you have more to say, make a second video.
  • Posted video on YouTube with a link back to your business website.

That’s all you have to do. In time, Google and the other major search engines will notice your optimized video, and it will be easier for shoppers in your area find you. There aren’t a lot of things you can do to “get ahead of the line” in search engine optimization, but this is one you should definitely try.