What you don’t know about local search
What you don’t know about local search could be killing your business
Google has changed the game – and you need to know the new rules
Google and other search engines now determine local search results in a completely different way than they determine universal search results.
What is local search and how is it different?
Local search refers to the process of searching for a product or service within a specific geographic area. You may not be aware of this but Google automatically gives you local search results for certain search queries like doctor, plumber, hardware store or dentist. They do this on the basis of where your computers IP address is located. Which means they are also doing this for your customers when they search. Local Directory submission is the most important tool you can use to make sure local customers find your business information FIRST when they search online!
It’s automatic – Google knows where you live
This means if you live in Woodstock and you search for “plumbing repairs” Google will find the closest geographical match by giving you Plumbing companies in and around Woodstock. (but not Plumbers from Stone Mountain, Peachtree city or Macon) It can also indicate that the search term had local modifiers like: “Atlanta plumbing contractor”,” Dentistry Center Sandy Springs” or “Hardware store Vinings Ga”
This is good for you if your customers are nearby but tricky ifyou want to serve a larger geographic area like the entire Metro Atlanta area. Local Search also determines who shows up on Google maps. You might have noticed them, they now show up for all kinds of queries. There are specific factors that get you ranked on the “Google 10 pack” (as it’s called) and if you aren’t there you might as well be nowhere.
How does Local Search work?
The goal of the search engines (Top 3 being: Google, Yahoo, and Bing) is to give the searcher the most relevant and usable results they can. That is why it is so important to make sure YOUR information shows up there when a local customer searches for topics relating to your services or products. This means using the same keywords or phrases your customers use to search with, having an updated business profile and submissions to over 50+ local directories and search engines.
This bears repeating
You MUST HAVE your business information show up when LOCAL CUSTOMERS are searching for your products or services. Why? Because 82% of people use internet search engines to discover local businesses and 65% of them only click on the top listings !
Yes, your local customers are looking ONLINE for local information. Even more important is the fact that these local consumers are ready to take action. 82% of your community is using a search engine to find information about businesses next door. Better yet is that 61% of these folks made purchases! When was the last time you had print advertising numbers that high?
Local Consumers are more likely to take immediate action
Local Searchers followed up offline with an in-store visit, phone call, or purchase. This demonstrates just how important it is for local Atlanta Businesses to integrate their website and offline information so that it creates a strong web presence and brand. Making sure your information is up to date and correct across hundreds of search engines in no longer a luxury – it is critical step to making sure your business is not lost in cyber obscurity.
Local search customers are both fickle and eager to buy.
Your local customers are going online to research products, brands, directions, coupons and specials. Most will start with search engines Like Google, Yahoo or BING, or go to local directories, map listings and review sites. People have moved to this kind of comprehensive search because the focus on providing information rather than selling. This type of communication has replaced conventional “push” advertising to the point where local businesses must adapt or die. If the information presented to them is not relevant, updated or organized they will click away faster than you can name the competition. If you understand what they want (and give it to them) you will be rewarded with more sales, loyal customers and higher profits.
Only 44% of small businesses have a website ( -Webvisible Feb 2009) while 40% of consumers say that a web presence – or lack of – affects their buying decisions and over 80% use internet search to find local businesses!
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
If they can’t find you – they can buy from you
When it comes to marketing – being in front of your prospects at the right time is paramount. If your information gets their attention and fulfills their needs then you get the business. If not, your competition does. That’s where being highly optimized for local search comes in.
Local businesses must adapt or die
Besides having your information online, it is mission critical to use the same exact keyword phrases in your optimization that your customers are using to try and find you. Most businesses optimize their website and their business listings for the name of their business when in fact over 90% of your customers are using completely different keywords to look for your products or services.
Can you say Missing the boat? More than 8 out of 10 Internet users look on search engines to find information and the products or services they want to buy and 90% of searches are for keywords related to your products or business. NOT your actual business name -Comscore
Updated Local Business listings in local directories is essential
Local consumers use a variety of online sources including search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, as well as directory type sites like Yellow pages, Kudzu, and Yelp to dig up local information. These business listings should be well optimized and frequently updated for optimum results. Leaving out even one important detail could lead customers (and search engines) to choose a competitor with a better optimized listing.
A Local Search Specialist can save you time, energy and money
We lead local searchers to your business information. (whether its your website, yellow pages profile or Google local busines listing) Total community coverage means you get in front of local customers at the right time – every time!