Did you know that 80% of consumers searching for a local product or service online don't have a specific business in mind?* When someone searches for a local service or product, a search engine will devote the top portion of the search engine results page (SERP) to the local listings of various companies. Think of this local search listing as a snapshot of your business; what would make your listing stand out from the competition?
Whether the user is searching with explicit local intent by adding a location to the end of their search ("car accident lawyers in Columbia, MD") or searching implicitly without a defined location ("car accident lawyers"), it is extremely important for your business to appear. But imagine that a potential customer clicks on your listing for the search "car accident lawyers in Columbia, MD" and when they arrive at your page, the local phone number isn't listed and the address is wrong.
You may notice a local listing for your business on a local search engine directory like Yelp or Google+ already, and not remember creating it. Search engines scrape websites for information and automatically create unclaimed and unverified listings in an attempt to get every business in the searchable database. However, the scraping often goes awry and you might search your business one day to find it has three Yelp listings under three different addresses. It only takes one click of the back button to lose a potential sale. Verified, correctly filled out, and active local profiles on local search engine directories like Yelp, Google+, Yahoo, and Bing are imperative to adhering to best practices for local search marketing.
Local search is growing in importance every year. Because local search is growing, so are the number of views and inquiries into your business. While this can be a great thing, an effective online reputation management strategy is also a must. Be aware of everything being said about your business, and try to answer that feedback openly and positively. Managing your online reputation can have an extremely positive effect on your branding and revenue!
To read more about how local search can help your business, visit Visual Data System's local search marketing page.
*2012 comScore Localize/15miles Local Search Usage Guide