There are more than 2.3 million Google searches a minute, and many of those are for queries related to local businesses. More than half of consumers who search for a local business visit a store within a day, and nearly 20 percent of local searches lead to sales. So what does this mean for your business?

Google Local Search needs to be part of your digital marketing strategy. Whether you need to boost your Denver search engine optimization results or want to make your business reputation in New York City improve drastically, here are five reasons why your business should care about Google Local Search.


  • 1. It’s There Whether You Like It or Not


Whenever a web user searches for a local business in the Google Search engine or on Google Maps, the Google My Business listing for that brand will show up. This listing is free for businesses, who can claim it and manage it. Your business has the power to add up-to-date address details, opening hours, a website and email address, and even photos on the page.

Since the profile represents your brand, you may as well take control of it as best you can. Treat is as an extension of your brand, and as a valuable free web listing that can increase profits for your business.


  • 2. Improve Sentiment for Your Business


Businesses who need a reputation overhaul or who want more positive visibility for their brands can create a better view of their business with the Google My Business listing. Businesses can upload beautiful photos that reflect their brands well. They can also respond to users leaving reviews and show that they’re invested in customers.

Having a positive presence on Google Local Search can also increase the trust people have in your brand. The 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal found that positive reviews make 73 percent of consumers trust a local business more, and consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business. For new businesses who need to grow trust, or for businesses that have lost trust and need to regain it, positive reviews can help.


  • 3. Share Business News with a Wider Audience


Google made a social media-like move with its Google Posts feature that was rolled out for all businesses in 2017 for Google My Business users. Like Facebook Business pages, businesses on Google can now share content with photos, text, event titles and call to action buttons, which will appear on their listing. Daily specials and new products can now be promoted directly on the world’s largest search engine in Google Posts.

If your business uses Facebook, Instagram or other social media channels to promote its products or service, Google Posts should also become part of your content strategy. Experiment with various types of content on the channel to see which ones are driving in-store traffic or business enquiries.


  • 4. Connect with Customers


Sending out surveys or conducting customer focus groups takes time and money. With Google Local Search, you can get free customer feedback in real time. This gives your business valuable insight into what customers’ honest opinions of your brand are. You can use prevalent feedback to help shape your business strategy.

Managing a Google My Business listing also gives your business the opportunity to:

  • Thank customers who leave positive reviews, which reinforces the relationship, makes the customer feel special, and could incentivize future reviews
  • Fix problems, when you take negative review feedback to identify issues in your busines and eliminate them
  • Reverse customer opinions, by responding to negative reviews in an empathetic and caring way and offering a solution
  • Promote the business as one that prioritizes customers, since you show that you take the time to read and respond to reviews

A single customer can refer several new ones to your business, creating a positive ripple effect. Simply taking the time to respond to both positive and negative reviews is a cost-effective way to generate positive public relations for your business.


  • 5. Capture Those Closest to You


BrightLocal reports that
12 percent of consumers search for a local business almost every day. More than 90 percent of consumers want to have to travel no more than 15 minutes or less to shop for everyday purchases, Search Engine Land reports. Your business has a tremendous opportunity to entice web searchers who see your business online to visit you, particularly if you operate near them.

This means, the more you can optimize your Google My Business page with keywords related to what people are searching for, the more likely you can appear in higher results. The number of and quality of reviews on a Google My Business listing also influence ranking. The more complete your page is, the higher it can appear.


  • Optimize Your Google Local Search


If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing yet, do so as soon as possible so you can take control of your presence on Google. Claim your business here, or follow these steps to gain ownership of the page.

From there, you can perfect your page, add photos, start posting content and respond to customer reviews. Ask current customers to leave reviews for your business on Google, and use the feedback you receive to improve your local business.