The Internet has drastically changed the way people seek out local goods, services and businesses. The face of Internet seeking (searching) is ever changing as an increasing number of web searches are made from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) while people are out and about. Search engines have changed their techniques in order to deliver the closest local sources (search results) that match those local mobile searches.

Since over 80% of Internet searches are for local businesses, an effective local search marketing strategy is essential. Companies need to attract the people that are searching for the goods and services that they offer. It is predicted that by 2015 local searches on mobile devices will exceed local searches from desktop computers.

As has been said many times of many things, ‘there is a method to the madness’, and it is the same with Local Search. Local Search is part of a process and not a single event; it is just one element of online local marketing. There are ongoing marketing activities businesses need to be involved in to be successful at Local Search.

I’ll cover the below three Local Search activities in this blog series:

  • Part One: Reviews
  • Part Two: Social Media related to Local Search
  • Part Three: Unique Content

When traveling, I use a popular review engine to search for local restaurants and other local services in the cities I visit, as do millions of other people. Far more people use review engines to search for local businesses, than for actually posting and reading reviews.

Many business owners we run across claim that they don’t want to have customer reviews on their site or have links to any of the various review engines on their site because a disgruntled customer might leave a negative comment. Well, reviews happen, and chances are a company already has pages on review engines and local search engines that they are unaware of. They need to “claim” those business profile pages to correct and update the info there, and control the page.

A general rule on reviews is to try to respond to every new one within 24 hours, thanking customers for their business and attempting to remedy any negative experiences shared. Addressing negative comments shows that a company was willing to or remedied the underlying cause so that situation won’t occur again. Responding encourages repeat business and shows how much you value customers. By managing your reviews, you are actively employing and participating in a good reputation management strategy.

Understanding and implementing all the elements of Local Search can be maddening to the small business owner but we are here to help educate, advise, and walk you through the process. We can help you set up or modify your review channels.

We look forward to answering your Local Search questions so please leave your comments below.

Stay tuned as next month’s blog will be a continuation of the Local Search process but with an eye on the impact of social media on it.

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