Consumers are online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week looking for the products, services and information they want. So how do you make sure they find you and your website? Simple: specific, targeted searches through search engines. Every businessperson knows how to employ Search Engine Optimization to attract the right kind of browsers and consumers – but do you know how local search optimization can put you on top of your competition?
What Is a Local Search?
Local searches are searches that contain a geographic region either entered by the user or added automatically from “location services.” Most browsers localize searches to the geographic area being searched – all mobile devices do, and that’s more than half of all searches. For that reason a search for “Italian restaurants” will generally return a list of restaurants in the geographic area where the search is being entered. Local search also encompasses searches such as “best Italian restaurant San Diego.” This search is localized to San Diego regardless of where it is being entered.
What are people searching for using local?
An astounding 80% of all searches are localized. So what are these folks searching for?
Ipsos, a global research company, conducted an online survey of 4,500 consumers across nine vertical segments: Auto, CPG, Finance, Local Services, Media & Entertainment, Restaurant, Retail, Tech and Travel. The firm also reviewed and incorporated data from a smartphone shopper diary study involving 653 respondents.
Here’s what they found:
Notice how the searches conducted on smartphones represent very immediate needs. There’s something else important to recognize about local searches made on smart phones. These people are highly motivated. In fact 73% of mobile searches conducted on smartphones lead to additional action such as store visits. A whopping 17% lead to a purchase.
This means it’s crucial that your business is showing up at the top of local search results, and that’s gotten more competitive. Google local now only shows the top three results without the user having to click through to dig deeper. This gives those business in the top three slots a significant advantage.
To get to the top of local search results, you’ll need to concentrate on a few things:
You’ll need to choose the best keywords for your company, and a great way to do this is to check out Google’s Keyword Planner. Through the AdWords application, you can experiment with keywords and discover many ways to mix them up and infuse them into your website copy to assure that your organic search rank is high.
Be certain that all of the major directories like Google My Business, YellowPages and other NAP (Name, Address and Phone) directories have accurate and consistent information including business hours. This information gets automatically syndicated around the Internet so inconsistent or absent listings can have a negative input on your search results.
Another crucial way to raise your business’s standing in local search results is through reviews. The number and freshness of reviews your business has on Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor and other review sites are powerful factors in your local search results. Make sure to set up your company profile on top review sites so that you can address consumers’ concerns directly and maintain a positive reputation.
The bottom line is this: local searches are the number one way that people find businesses, whether they engage in e-commerce or in-person sales. Set up your review profiles and localized SEO now to beat out your competition!
(Written for ratingsmax.com)