Nearly half of all Google searches include local intent—i.e. finding local businesses—and 84 percent of those searches will lead to purchases. If a business is not optimized for local search, they are missing out on the biggest driver of local brand perception and revenue. And unfortunately, many small, local businesses do not give enough priority to local marketing.

If a business is relying on traditional search engine optimization (SEO) while neglecting local SEO, they are effectively losing customers. Traditional SEO is optimizing a website so that it ranks higher in the search engine results pages; however, many customers do not need a website for their decision-making anymore. Now, information can be found and decisions made via Google Maps, Yelp, and Facebook Local.

Understanding how to tap into local SEO is crucial. Dedicating time and resources to the following strategies will help small businesses take advantage of location data and local search:

  1. Make sure your local listing is accurate. Google prioritizes local listings with correct contact information, consistency in posts across platforms, high-quality photos, and reviews. Updating addresses and contact information across platforms can be tedious, especially if a business has multiple locations. But there are services like Vendasta, Location 3, and Chatmeter that can keep listings consistent for you.
  2. Know what people are saying. Reviews are crucial for Google results. According to Adweek, “84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.” A business will benefit if they encourage customers to post reviews and if they take the time to respond to both positive and negative reviews on their listings.
  3. Keep it social. Social media is here to stay, and many customers will check a social media platform to guide their purchases. An updated, engaged, and relevant social media page will drive traffic and help a business connect with its community.
  4. Consider getting beacons. As we’ve mentioned before, 70 percent of retailers are investing in beacons that will deliver ads, offers, directions, and information in retail spaces. Beacons can give a local business a competitive edge as consumers are searching for more information before and during their buying experience.

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