More and more consumers are using the Internet to search for products and services in their area. Sadly, local businesses are struggling to keep up with the trend. They are finding it more and more difficult to stay visible to potential customers online.
On the other hand, a select few local businesses are thriving. They are dominating local listings and enticing prospects to come and visit the shop. Want to dominate your local area for your products and services, too? Discover how you can thrive locally with the help of optimized local listings, customer ratings and reviews, check-ins, and maps – otherwise known as “Local Search.”
Local Search and Why It’s Growing
Many local business owners are aware that nearly 8 in 10 consumers use the Internet to look for products and services online. Google, of course, is the leading search engine of choice. That’s why business owners spend majority of the budget on having a website and optimizing it for search results. What many owners are realizing now is that they should optimize their online presence based on location too, not just on products and services they offer. That’s what Local Search is all about.
Local search happens when prospects type in geographic keywords in their search queries (i.e. “best wedding gowns san francisco” or “website design in chicago). Some 54% of searchers include a local modifier (city, zip code) in their search nowadays.
Much of the popularity of local search can be correlated to the growth of mobile device ownership and usage. Some 74% of smartphone owners get real-time location-based information through their phone, as of February 2012, up from 55% in May 2011, comScore said.
Local Search Means Money for the Biz
For now, it is clear that consumers are online and they are looking for a local business with the help of the Internet. But why should you care? In essence, it’s about your bottom line, your sales. It’s about your business’ future. Local searches are not just aimed at locating a business. They are also geared to make a purchase! As mentioned above, mobile is fuelling local search. So it is no surprise that:
- 78% of mobile phone searches resulted in a purchase
- 77% of tablet searches resulted in a purchase
- 73% of mobile searches trigger other additional action and conversions
Local searchers therefore aren’t just typing queries on Google using their mobile devices; they are looking to buy! Now this is what matters: is your local business “buzzing” on local listings and consumer feedback? Or is it invisible when prospects search online?
Local Search 101: Beyond Traditional SEO
Typically, business owners hire a designer to create a website and then employ an agency to optimize that site. There is nothing wrong with this approach. In fact, these two things should be first in your priority. They ensure your business is present online. But your local business needs more than just exposure on general search results. It needs to be visible in various local listings and entice prospects to visit your shop and avail of your products and services. That’s where Local Search comes in.
Unlike typical and traditional search optimization, “Local Search” focuses on your business’s local online presence. This is done by combining traditional SEO with the optimization of genuine consumer reviews, check-ins, maps, and local listings. This also means that aside from your own web pages, search results from Google maps, Foursquare, independent reviews sites, and local listings will come up when prospects search online. Local Search aims to make your local business visible and appealing to local searchers.
Dominate Local: Check-ins, Listings, Maps, Reviews
Various studies have shown that local listings, maps, reviews, and check-ins not only dominate local search results, they also influence a user’s purchase decision. For example, a BrightLocal study found that the effect of online reviews of consumers is also stronger this year, compared to last year.
- 85% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses (up from 76% in 2012)
- 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (up from 72%)
- 73% of consumers trust a business more because of reviews (up from 58%)
- 65% of consumers are more likely to use a business with positive reviews (up from 52%)
Aside from reviews, geo-social or check-ins websites and apps should be part of the strategy. Foursquare alone has 40 million users and has logged 3.54 billion online check-ins so far. You may use check-in promotions to entice prospects to visit your local store or shop. Rewarding them after a number of check-ins is one type of promotion.
Maps and listings also matter. For instance, 35% of mobile phone users who search for local businesses via apps use Google Maps, according to comScore. Meanwhile, 76% of searches using Internet yellow pages resulted in either a purchase or intent to purchase, says the Local Search Association.
The message these statistics bring is clear: you need to dominate local listings with location-based services to ensure prospects find you, and that they find you worth dealing with. Your local business needs Local Search.
Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on Local Search.