It’s pretty obvious that in spite of our stretched economy there’s still incredible business opportunities out there for those companies who are prepared to look for them.
The key to success is increasing the public awareness of the products or services you supply. However, there’s a strong temptation to try to spread this awareness as far and wide as possible. Whilst that approach might be understandable, it ignores one vital section of the market: the local market.
The local economy is still faring well in spite of the recession, so it makes sense for local businesses to get a piece of the local action. How do you ensure that your business is maximising its leverage in the local market? Well, it’s simple: by being prominently placed in the local search engine listings – and the best way to achieve this is by optimising your website for the local market.
Local SEO is becoming increasingly important.
So why is ‘local’ so important? Well, in a recent survey by Chikata, the independent research arm of online ad network Chitika, the research clearly showed that 28.81% of searches using Bing and 25.28% and 24.24% using Yahoo and Bing respectively had local intent. The reason for this Chikata argued is that people often feel more comfortable engaging with a local firm as they know they’ll more than likely get their items earlier and be able to visit the business should the product or service not deliver. What’s more since the advent of the smart phone, more and more consumers are now using the search engines to find local businesses.
According to Google:
- 20% of search queries are for local businesses.
- 40% of mobile searches are for local businesses.
- 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.
Consumers increasingly like to research online purchases offline.
According to Google, 4 out of 10 people actively chose to research their online purchases offline. So it’s pretty obvious that if your business can give its customers the greatest levels of information on products and services through local searches, then you will probably grab a greater share of the local business.
Prominent first-page local listings can lead to a greater share of the local market.
When any search for products and services is coupled with a local identifier, then the results that are typically displayed on the first page of Google will include a map on the top right hand of the screen. This map will show those businesses that Google sees as relevant to a particular search. This is now a standard feature of Google+ local listings. In the organic search results there will be pins or markers on the map which correlate to a listing. Therefore if you can persuade Google to recognise the relevance and quality of your listing, then your business should be able to get multiple first page local listings.
Local search is less competitive, but equally lucrative.
Some businesses prefer to stick to advertising their online services nationally as they believe that number count: the thinking is that advertising nationally leads to a greater number of conversions as more people will see what products and services businesses offer. Whilst it’s true that fewer people will see what you have to offer if you only advertise your business locally, the flipside is that there will be less competition in this sector of the market. So those businesses with websites that are optimised for local SEO, will inevitably grab a greater slice of the local business.