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Is Local Search Helping or Hurting Your Business?

You know that local search is important to your business’s growth and success. After all, if customers can’t find you online, how will they be able to buy from you? But what you may not know is that consumers are becoming frustrated with local search—and when search falls short, they blame your business.

That’s right—if you’re not handling it right, local search could actually be hurting your business instead of helping it. Here are a few of the findings from a new report:

  • 73 percent of consumers lose trust in a brand when its online listing is incorrect.
  • 67 percent lose trust in a brand if they get lost walking or driving to the business due to an incorrect address listing.
  • 61 percent would go to a competitor if they received a special offer from the competitor while searching for a specific business. Hungry customers are even more fickle: 73 percent say they’d go to a competitor if they got a special offer from the competitor while searching for a particular restaurant.

What do these findings mean to you?

First and most obviously, be sure your local search listings are constantly updated so consumers don’t find incorrect information and get frustrated. Poor information will reflect poorly on your business.

Most customers (71 percent) still search for business information and directions on a computer before leaving the house, compared to 22 percent who do so on a smartphone while driving. Because most customers use search engines rather than apps to find businesses, it’s important to work on improving your SEO. The study notes that customers who use directories are more likely to be exposed to listings from your competitors, so it’s a good idea to put more effort into SEO.

If you have multiple locations, it’s especially important to make sure your online information, including local search directories, is accurate and updated so customers don’t go to the wrong location. Also create an optimized, fully indexed local landing page for each location of your business.

The study found 55 percent of consumers like ads to be personalized to their needs and interests, and don’t mind when businesses use geo-location or other tools to send them relevant, timely offers. Investigate how you can use mobile marketing tactics such as geofencing and text messaging to provide timely offers. For example, you could serve up a special offer to a customer walking near your competitor’s restaurant.