Why Your Small Business Should Be Focusing on the Local Search
Gone are the days of flipping through the pages of the phone book to locate the contact information for a business or service. That has since been replaced with the Internet search. While the importance of SEO has long been a central focus for many businesses, what’s proving to be most fruitful for small and local businesses is focusing on local searches.
What is a Local Search?
A local search is a lot like an online phone book, but with more detail. When a user searches for something Google deems to be localized, for example “Atlanta plumbers,” they’re going to receive results based on geographic location.
An organic Google search gives you the “what,” while a local search gives you both the “what” and the “where.”
It’s not just Google that’s making a name for itself among local searches, either. In fact, mobile device users are bringing the local search to the forefront of businesses’ attention.
The Compelling Evidence of the Local Search
Still not sure of how local searches are important for your business? Consider these figures:
- Nearly half of all localized searches begin without a specific business. That means there are consumers all around you, searching for what you offer. The only thing coming between you and new customers is the fact they’re not connecting with your business via search engines.
- Search engine users who do localized searches are more likely to become customers of one of those businesses they find. Connecting with leads isn’t just about quantity–it’s about quality. When someone conducts a specific, localized search it’s often because they have a particular need, and that makes for a high-quality lead.
- About 30 percent of all internet searches have local intent, and a staggering 12.5 billion of those occur on Google every single month.
- ComScore reports 82 percent of consumers who conduct a local online search then follow it up with either a phone call or an in-person visit to a brick and mortar location.
- 90 percent of smartphone or tablet users report utilizing their device prior to shopping, and 84 percent say they use it while shopping.
How To Take Advantage of the Local Search
The only thing to be concluded from the above figures? Your small business simply can’t afford to miss out on the tremendous opportunities provided by local searches.
The best way you can improve your rankings in local searches is to know what search engines are looking for. The top criteria include: your address, a claimed Google+ Local page, the number of citations or mentions of your business on other sites or directories, and the number of inbound links pointing to your webpage.
Essentially, while these factors are broad, a few of the biggest ways you can improve your local search results include:
- Blogging interesting relevant content. Don’t just blog about your industry. Instead, use your blog as a platform for your entire community. Mention events and other businesses in your area, and not only will you attract more readers, but you’ll rank better in local searches.
- Include your complete mailing address on every page of your website, as well as a local phone number. This will help search engines determine your exact location, which is vital to local searches.
- Focus on providing great customer service. With the rise of local searches, customers hold a great deal of power. Not only can they review your products and services directly on Google, but also on other sites including Yelp. These are vital criteria in your local search engine rankings.
The proof is there–local search is not only one of the best ways for businesses to reach their targeted customers now, but it’s holding strong and forecasts for the future anticipate significant growth, particularly as mobile device users become more and more reliant on their phones and tablets for shopping and purchasing information. For small and local businesses, it is possible to remain competitive, even in the vast world on search engines, by using smart local SEO practices.