Due to the sheer size and scope of the internet, locally-based small businesses often become buried in the search results. Larger websites dominate search rankings while small businesses are relegated to the back pages of Google. However, recent changes to Google's search ranking algorithm have made it easier than ever for small businesses to compete.
For many small businesses, a solid local SEO strategy is an absolute must-have. As search engines evolve to understand search based on location, demographic, search history and more, it is essential to make sure that your business is optimized for local search, especially if the majority of your revenue comes from within your town or city. Consumers have become more impatient, and as they expand search on desktop and mobile, they want information on local companies faster than ever before.
According to various online studies:
4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information for a business, such as address, business hours, product availability and driving directions (Source: Google for Business)
50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same. (Source: Google for Business)
18% of local searches on smartphone lead to a purchase within a day vs. 7% of non-local searches. (Source: Google for Business)
Almost all consumers (97%) now use internet channels to shop locally (Source: BIA Kelsey and ConStat)
83% of individuals utilizing local websites follow up their research with offline action. This action involves in store visits, telephone calls, emails or purchases. (Source: Local Search Usage Study, TMP Directional Marketing)
Here are some of the reasons why you should take advantage of local SEO.
To Gain More Visibility
When the average person types a query into a search engine, the results that they will receive are dependent on their geographical location, the search method (photo, voice or written), common searches made by other users, the context of the search (usually based upon the user's search history), the language, and any synonyms to the search query that may be relevant. Over 200 factors go into the ranking of each result to the query. While some of these factors measure in the site's freshness and quality, others use contextual clues, such as geographic location, to provide more relevant answers to the search query.
If you have executed a thorough local SEO plan, your business will likely rank higher on the search engine results page for relevant queries performed in your region.
To Give More Information
If all of your local listings are properly formatted with your correct location on the map, address, phone number, hours of operation, etc., you are more likely to attract nearby customers and get them to your business as easily as possible. While the older generations of people may not mind calling your business for directions or store information, younger generations tend to prefer to look up the information online and obtain the information they need rather than call your business.
To Attract More Traffic
Simply put, the more opportunities you give your customers to find your website the more business you will receive. Most consumers visit a company's website after reviewing their listing on Yelp, Google Maps, the Yellow Pages, etc. While they may not conduct business with you today, they know you are there in the future.
To Inherit More Credibility
Review sites are an integral component of local SEO. Good reviews across several different review sites let potential customers know that you are a trustworthy business, and centralizing your marketing efforts to a smaller radius of impact will allow you to reach more targeted leads and develop a strong relationship with your community.
To Become More Efficient and Effective
Not only is it generally cheaper to target a specific region for your online marketing efforts, it is also more effective and more efficient. It makes the most sense to attract leads that are in a better position to do business with you than to spend your time and budget on a large and vague national demographic.
If a small local business cannot be found online, it is missing out on opportunities to grow. For more information on local SEO or for a free website evaluation to see how your local marketing efforts are faring, please contact CyberMark International today! For more information about the ever-changing state of the internet marketing landscape, download our free eBook, Internet Marketing Trends 2014.