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There’s a good chance that no matter what type of business you have, local search marketing can help improve your bottom line. That’s because local search optimization includes map, business and local directory listing that helps users find you in the search engines. Those listing usually include important information like your phone number, address and hours, plus a link to your website, so it’s easy for potential customers to contact you. If you operate a business that serves a specific geographic location, like Northeast Ohio, local search marketing should be at the top of your 2016 marketing plan. If you’re wondering how much it can help, check out these statistics from Google. “We know that consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit (a business) and 29 percent are more likely to consider purchasing from a business with a complete business listing. Complete business information can really generate more business.” – Google

What Should I know About Local Search in 2016?

Similar to the big three search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) in 2015, local search has been changing fast – with no signs of slowing down. Here’s what’s important for you to know about local search as you work with your marketing team or agency in 2016:

1) It’s Time to Break Up with Google+

Google+ no longer has any influence on local search results. If your company already has invested a significant amount of time and energy into developing a Google+ presence, don’t feel that it was in vain. And if you’ve built up a following, continue posting and engaging your followers. Just don’t delete your Google+ profile because any review you have will remain active, and you will lose the ability to respond to them. While not yet confirmed, there’s some early indication that those reviews (and their sentiment) may be important in the future. Your best strategy is to wait for Google to announce how they attend to utilize Google+ before abandoning it altogether.

2) Start Dating Google My Business

Spend more time utilizing Google tools that effect local search results. Google’s “My Business” tool will now be solely utilized to create a local presence for your company in local searches.

3) Give Facebook a Second Look

If you leverage Facebook as part of your digital marketing plan, stay up-to-date on all of its new features. For example, you can now integrate Facebook Messenger into or website, making it an essential part of your customer service toolkit. Facebook Events has also become more localized; it only displays yours events to followers located in your area. Most importantly, Facebook has unveiled a new local business search engine to help users find nearby business with the best Facebook reviews. Businesses should focus on creating marketing strategies to create more Facebook engagement and reviews in order to be ranked high on this new local search platform.

4) iOS: the Apple of Your Eye

Sure, Google Maps is important. But make it a point this year to know where you rank on Apple Maps too. On iOS devices, such as iPhone and iPads, Apple Map is used for local search three times as often as Google Maps. A good listing here could have a significant impact on your business.

5) Directories: Be Discerning

Traditionally, obtaining listings in local and industry-specific directories has been a great way to increase local rankings and traffics. With increasing scrutiny placed on links, it’s important to choose the right ones, so you and our marketing team don’t waste valuable time and resources.

Learn More About Local Search

Wondering what a local search marketing program can do for your business? Are you curious about what the status of your local search rankings? Or are you curious how you can improve our current local search program? Whether you need an evaluation, a strategy or someone to just do it all for you, we’re here to help. Simply send us a message or call us at 330.220.6100 for more information.

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Beth is our VP of Digital Marketing Strategy who, besides drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, helps clients generate more business. Whether they’ve partnered with Proximity Marketing for a decade or just joined the family, Beth helps clients achieve success and achieve measurable results.

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