Why Local Search Matters

When you are looking for a new product or service where do you go? Sometimes you will ask a friend, neighbor or co-worker, but often you will hop online to find the answers. You are not alone, millions of people conduct a local search online for the things they need and want every single day. Even if you are just down the street, people may look online and discover a competitor miles away because they have done a better job of managing their visibility on local search. So as a business how easy is it to find you online?

Start with your website

Obviously, you need to have a well written, mobile responsive website. We know that 90% of mobile searches result in action so if your website isn’t mobile responsive you are missing many opportunities.

In addition to a mobile responsive design, your website needs to be filled with relevant and current information that has the appropriate page titles and meta data so search engines can figure out how your website answers the searcher’s question.

Finally, if you are trying to win “local search” it is important to let customers know you are local. In addition to your address and a mention on your home page that you are an Indianapolis-based company look for ways to include more geographic information in your content. like mentioning how companies in your city use your services. Also update the meta data and page titles to include the geographic reference.

Monitor your online presence

Your website is a starting point, but it can’t be your only online footprint. While many consumers use search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing they also turn to local search tools like Citysearch, review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor and other mobile apps to discover companies which can solve their problem. This is great news because there are now even more ways for new customers to find you. But, it also creates a bit of problem. There are now more places for you to manage. Many of these listings are automatically generated and can often contain incorrect or out of date information. This incorrect or out-of-date information is not what you want as the first impression someone has on your business.

The good news: There are more ways for prospective customers to find you. The bad news: If you want to be found in those locations it takes time to manage or even find all your online listings. Many online directories automatically generate their listings by scraping information from your website or another directory. That is great if the information is correct and current, but it can be quite a challenge to track down and correct information or update records if you make a change to your address or phone number.

So how do you find all your listings?

  • Start with a search for your business using Google and Bing. You may find a few different results on the smaller search engine.
  • Check the listings for accuracy. Submit change requests to update information
  • Conduct a second search for your competitors. Do they appear in places where you are not listed? Go ahead and submit your company information.
  • Also, search for your business on popular sites like Yelp and yellowpages.com.

Monitoring and updating your listings can be tedious and time-consuming. There are tools which will help automate the process. One of the easiest to use is Yext’s PowerListings which looks at information posted on more than 30 different hyperlocal sites, including Yelp, MapQuest, Foursquare and Citysearch.

You can change information in your listings — including business hours, photos, locations and special promotions — on the Yext dashboard at any time. The information changed will be automatically synced across all the directories in the Yext network. Yext’s PowerListings packages range in price from $12 to $41 per month. If you have changed your company name, address or phone number this might be a great short-term investment to get your records updated.

Prove you are the best

Beyond just contact information you can enhance your local search listings by soliciting reviews and testimonials. We know that 85% of consumers are more likely to open their wallets when online recommendations support offline advice. Regardless of the industry you are in, take time to request your customers post reviews, comments and testimonials on directories and social media sites. The more information available about your company from independent sources, the more comfortable prospective customers are likely to be picking up the phone to call you.

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