According to a May report from BIA/Kelsey Group, local search ad revenues are expected to grow by 10 percent by 2015. Given that local search already generated revenues of more than $5 billion in 2010, it can be assumed that figures will reach even more impressive levels in the coming years.
What's more, 30 percent of all searches will be of the local variety by 2015 - an 18 percent increase from 2009.
Eighty percent of searches conducted via smartphone are already for local products, because Google and other search engines have increased their focus on providing more user-friendly information to potential consumers. And the good news for businesses is you don't need to break the bank to get noticed anymore - assuming all of your SEO is in place.
According to MarketingProfs, optimizing your local search listing starts with SEO - particularly long-tail and geo-specific keywords that should be present throughout your website. Placing these phrases or words consistently will enhance your presence on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Also, if your company has more than one location, be sure to optimize each site page uniquely based on location or service. Search engines also take reviews into consideration for SEO purposes.
In addition, you must claim your local profile not only on search engines, but directories such as the Yellow Pages, chambers of commerce and review sites. Being registered everywhere shows search engines that your business is consistent and reputable - so confirm that your company's name, address and phone number match up across all claimed sites.
Speaking of review sites, a 2010 BrightLocal survey found that nearly 70 percent of polled Americans trust online consumer opinions and personal recommendations equally. This points to the impact a five-star (or, conversely, a one-star) review can have on your business' traffic and reputation.
Also, don't neglect photos and videos. Internet viewers are typically very visual people, and showing off your digs or providing short informative videos from staff may appeal to more consumers. Google Places also allows five slots for your business to input pictures.
Lastly, make sure you update - preferably monthly. This means new specials, products, services, photos, videos, etc., and if you've changed addresses or phone numbers, be sure to make people aware of that as well. There's no greater turnoff than expecting to call one business only to have someone from another company answer the phone.