As Google pushes for personalising your search results, so local search is becoming more popular and important than ever. Both Google and Bing offer free sign-up for companies to their local search systems, but just being listed won’t guarantee the best results. Here’s 5 tips on how to maximise your impact:

  1.  Be consistent

As with all branding you need to make sure that the information people find about your company is correct, accurate but also consistent. Make sure your listing in Google Places is word for word on the your Bing listing. Inconsistencies raise fears and basically look shoddy.

  1.  Check regularly

Once you have your listings take some time to check them every now and then. Make sure your links are up to date. Can you link pages up together? Are your images / logos the most up to date versions? Check for typing errors and capitalisation consistency.

3.Complete All Information (Even if it is Not Required)

If a search engine prompts you for something, it probably has a relevancy to the way it organises search – however minor. Yes of course, your company name and post code are going to be most important in terms of local search, but if the form asks for information it is not gathering it simply for fun.

Even if it doesn’t have the mandatory asterix alongside it, complete some information relevant to your company. You may think the request for information is irrelevant to how people will find your company, but these are the search experts and they understand all the quirks as to how people search – trust them.

  1.  Engage

It is at risk of becoming the most-overused word in social media, but then again it is the most important word for successful social media too. With Google pushing personalised search so user generated content is set to become even more important in search terms and especially SEO.

Encourage your customers to leave reviews, make it easy and interact when they do leave comments. Remember these same customers are of the ilk of who will be searching too. They may use terms for your products or services you may not have thought of before. These are effectively keywords you may not have thought of, but could be used to drive new traffic to your site.

  1.  Think like a customer

Tying in with the above point, imagine how your customers are going to be finding you if they don’t know your company exists. The chances are they are searching for a solution to a problem, so word your entry so that it answers likely problems. If you can give your descriptions in terms of solving problems and issues – again this will push you into using keywords that your would-be customers will be searching for.

That’s only 5 tips but the key is to keep on top of your listings. Make it a regular house-keeping duty to test how it features in search and then how it looks on the page when your entry is displayed. The internet is all about global custom but local search is set to get even more important in the months ahead and if you want to stay ahead of your competition, staying on top of local search is vital.

What are your experiences of local search? Have you seen custom improve since you enrolled?