Remember the phrase ‘Let your fingers do the walking’? In the business sense that is…
Some years back, businesses used to be found easily through phone directories and placing ads on local papers. Oh, weren’t phone directories convenient! Grab a phone directory, look up the name of the business, and voila! – all the details there.
Today though, the majority can’t even find a Yellow Pages in their homes while a generation in their mid-teens have no idea what the heck that even means. Business search has gone online and is done on the palm of our hands now. Whenever you want to look up something, you just hop online and do a quick Google search.
A lot of this search is driven by smartphones and most consumers these days use location-based marketing apps with little regard to their safety and personal information. This is especially so if you are on the go where you use apps like Apple or Google Maps, Yelp, TripAdvisor or any other resource that returns local business information or reviews.
Enter local search.
What is Local Search?
As the name suggests, local search depicts those searches people do online as they look for products or services within their locale, or in other words, searching for local businesses.
A search that bears a location modifier such as ‘Melbourne’ or postal/zip code is an explicit local search. For example, ‘kids daycare Sydney’, ‘emergency plumber Los Angeles’ and ‘Manchester restaurants’.
In short, local searches have a local intent and usually will return listings with a corresponding map, particularly on Google.
This is the reason local SEO should be top of every small business’s marketing agenda. Do not confine your marketing campaigns on flyers or newspapers or other local resources. Online local marketing is essential for the survival and subsequent growth of business in this day and age.
Here, we outline reasons that will give you a better grasp of why local SEO is good for your small business.
Let them Know you Exist
It is very difficult to let your local audience know you exist without an online presence. If you have a physical address, people might probably drive or walk by and notice you, but this number is not much, especially given most are not paying attention to the businesses they bypass.
What you need is to make your presence felt to every Tom, Dick and Harry searching for what you offer and local SEO can help you do this.
Local Customers are Searching Online
Naturally, most people don’t think about local businesses until the need dictates. And today, more than ever, whenever people need something in their locale, they simply jump online and do a quick search to establish if their needs can be sufficiently catered for with convenience.
Chances are if someone is looking for a product or service you deal in, they are looking for it online. If you are not there, most likely they will find someone else who is, and chances are they will be returning customers especially if they are satisfied with the experience.
Online Conversion Rate is High
The highest conversion level of all advertising done locally is online. When someone goes online to search for a product or service locally, it has been shown that at least half of those are very likely to make a purchase.
This is definitely an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on!
Local Online Search is Targeted
The other reason you are likely to benefit from local SEO is because online searches are highly targeted. What this means is that your ads targeted at customers in Adelaide will not be seen by folks from the Bronx, New York, but only by people located closely to your business.
You can interpret this to mean your advertising funds have not gone to waste, and you are only reaching people who are very likely to buy from you. This kind of conversion rate cannot be guaranteed by outlets such as flyers or newspapers.
Mobile Search is Growing
Mobile search is the other reason local SEO has grown so important. You can bear testimony to this yourself. Think about that time you were out of home (or even at home) and you wanted to find a local massage parlour, or pizza restaurant. You didn’t do your search by sifting through the flyers or checking the newspapers.
Majority of people will probably use their cellphone or tablet if they are not on the computer. And if your business is not online, you will be invisible.
Local SEO makes you Unique
After going through this short post you might expect every business in the world to be online. This is not the case though. Most business owners are oblivious of the benefits they stand to gain by advertising online at a local level.
In fact, only a very small percentage of the Google Places listing has been claimed so far, and if this is the only thing you do, you already will stand out from other businesses in your area.