Businesses are losing out on a potentially “huge” number of sales by failing to get their local search strategies up to scratch, according to one expert.

Jon Schepke of Search Engine Watch said there is a strong case for brands to brush up on this area of their internet marketing services.

According to comScore, there were 16.4 billion internet searches conducted in the US during June and the expert claimed around 20 per cent were “local in nature”.

More importantly, people making geo-specific queries are more likely to make a purchase, he added.

Firms should therefore be looking to claim their local listings through the business centres of Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

In addition, these profiles should be fully optimised, with not only the correct name, address and phone number but also keyword-rich descriptions, maps, directions and photos.

Finally, firms should make the most of positive online reviews from their customers. Other consumers are likely to trust these appraisals and having good feedback “validates” a business in the eyes of Google, Bing and Yahoo!.

Mr Schepke added that all brands will soon adopt local search strategies in the same way they have taken up search engine optimisation – but marketers that move quickly will have a “competitive edge”.

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