According to ComScore, consumers will soon conduct 2 billion local searches each month. With more than 80% of consumers researching online before making in-store purchases, that number will continue to rise. Local search has become an important interactive marketing channel.
Some business owners have an understanding of local search, and some now use search engine optimization or paid search.Yet many have yet to take advantage of distributing their own content on local engines. Because much online local business content comes from outdated offline sources, many business listings being distributed across multiple local search enginesare inaccurate. Equally unsettling, many business listings aren’t being distributed at all.
Consumers use local search engines similarly to how they use a print Yellow Pages directory, but online, they are able to use descriptive keywords to find what they’re looking for — not just categories. If you’re not managing your local search engine presence, you have no control over how often or accurately your listings appear in keyword-driven local search engine results.
A sound local search engine content marketing strategy comes down to optimizing your content, managing it and knowing where to send it. If you’re wondering how to get started, here are a few steps you can take to get the ball rolling.
First, search for your company’s name in a local search engine, with a specific location attached, to see where your listings appear, and how accurate and complete they are. You should conduct searches on major local sites like Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Yellowpages.com or Superpages.com.
Once you know how your company ranks and is represented in local search results, your next move is to decide whether you can devote the necessary time and internal resources to manage content across dozens of local search engines currently displaying your listings.
If you don’t want to take on labor intensive local search engine content management in-house, single-source providers can collect, enrich, optimize, distribute and manage your listings. Know that any provider you select must have distribution partnerships with major search engines, as well as Internet Yellow Pages and other specialized local search engines to supply maximum reach.
It will take a little bit of effort to get educated about the unique opportunities local search engine content management offers. However, investing in that effort will pay big dividends as local search engine marketing becomes a standard part of interactive programs.
David Dague is VP of marketing at Localeze. Reach him at [email protected].