Are you struggling to get more local customers to find your business online? Do you have a website but very little to no traffic? You’re not alone as many companies are facing similar challenges but the good news is that local search marketing can help.
In this post (and free webinar recording) you’ll learn all about local search marketing, the benefits and main types of search results along with a few actionable tips you can implement in your business. Take the first step to improve your online visibility and be found by more customers in your area.
What Is Local Search (And Search Engine Marketing)?
Local Search means being found when someone is looking for a product, service or business category in the local market that you serve. When talking about the term “local search marketing”, we are referring to anything you do on the web to promote a physical business that makes face-to-face contact with customers.
If an organisation sees its customers directly through a storefront or service area, it is termed a “local business”. A unique set of techniques and skills can then be used to increase its online visibility which is referred to as “local SEO,” or local search engine optimisation. Here are some fascinating statistics to show how important local search truly is.
- 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information (Source: GoGulf)
- Half of all local searches result in an in-store visit within 1 day (Source: WebFX)
- “Near Me” type searches grew by more than 900% over the past two years (Source: Chat Meter)
Four Types Of Search Results
People use search engines for different reasons and the search result will depend on what they are looking for. Each visitor will create their own search term according to their intent and will get a different result when searching for articles, videos or an entire website. Here is a brief breakdown of local search results pages.
1. Google My Business (GMB) Maps
Google is the most widely used search engine with more than 3.5 billion daily searches. Considering it’s a free service and the exceptional audience reach, Google My Business (GMB) should be your first choice for listing a company online. That said, did you know that 90% of consumers use GMB to find a local business? And, perhaps more shocking is that over 50% of local businesses have NOT claimed their listing.
When someone searches for a product or service ‘near them’, they are often close to making a purchasing decision. Truth is half of the people who conduct a local search, like “dentists near me”, visit a physical location on the same day. That’s why it’s imperative that the information about your business that appears after a Google search is accurate, complete and fully optimised for SEO.
Recommended: ‘How To Start Using Google My Business‘
2. Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When someone types a search phrase into Google, it checks the pattern of various website signals or ranking factors. Google’s goal is to list the most relevant results based on whatever a person is searching for and this is where SEO comes into the equation.
Google uses programs called “spiders” to crawl the web looking at single pages, following links on that page and inspects all the content on the subsequent pages. Local SEO involves optimising your online presence based on a set of ranking factors. There are many signals Google take into account but the biggest ones are as follows:
- Proximity – How close your business is to the person searching
- Relevance – How relevant your products/services are to the search query (phrase or sentence)
- Prominence – How well-known your business is and the strength of your domain
Recommended: ‘Top SEO Ranking Factors’
3. Paid Search Results
Paid search results are ads paid for by a business to appear above the organic search results in the fastest way possible. If you do a quick Google search for “MOT testing centre near me”, you’ll notice the listings with the word “Ad” in front of them. These are Google paid ads.
To appear here, these companies have to pay a fee each time someone clicks on the ad or when a phone contact is generated, ‘pay per call’. As good as pay-per-click ads can be, small local companies will often have to compete with national, bigger businesses which is not an ideal situation.
Also, doing paid ads is not easy as setting them up is one thing but the right results is a different story. So, unless you have experience in PPC and understand the mechanics behind ad optimisation, it’s best to work with a digital marketing agency.
4. Google Guaranteed Listings
Businesses that earn a “Google Guaranteed” badge are listed (rotated) at the very top of the page for local searches. If you want to become Google Guaranteed, there are two different approaches you can take.
Option 1: Sign Up For Local Services Ads
Eligible businesses that want to receive the Google Guaranteed Badge in their Local Service Ads must first sign up as a service provider. Once signed up, you will receive an email to start the background checks and screening process.
The qualification process may differ based on your industry but it will most likely involve screening your company’s relationship with Google. If you pass the screening process, you will be awarded the green checkmark on your Google Local Services Ads which is a big plus in our books.
Option 2: Upgrade Your Google My Business Profile
If you’re a qualified local service business, Google is also offering an upgraded business profile option. This will allow any qualified business to display their Google Guaranteed Badge on their profile or a Google Local Pack.
Google’s Local Pack is a section of the search results that shows three local businesses related to what a user searched for. So, instead of paying for an ad where your Google Guaranteed badge will appear, it will now show up next to your listing in organic search results.
Provided you pass the screening process, your Local Service Ads will include your Google Guaranteed Badge free of charge. Remember that do still have to pay per lead for Google Local Services Ads but the Google Guaranteed Badge is a bonus.
Recommended: ‘The Google Guarantee – Local Services Help From Google’
What Can I Do To Increase My Online Visibility?
There are several things you can do to make it easier for your local customers to find you. We’ve already covered the local search aspect and to find out more about the 7 action points, please watch the FREE webinar recording and download the slides. Here’s a breakdown of what you will learn:
- The importance of having a mobile-friendly website
- Why you should always put your business address on your website
- How to create a Google My Business (GMB) listing
- How to manage customer reviews on Google My Business
- The power of weekly Google My Business posts
- Creating local-oriented content for your website
- Update and create business citations
- Optimise your content for voice search
- Get Google guaranteed
Lead Generation With Local Search
Dominating the digital realm is more challenging than ever which is why you simply cannot afford to miss out on these vital bits of information. If you need help with your online lead generation strategy or any of the 7 steps for attracting more qualified leads, contact WSI eMarketing.
We specialise in PPC, SEO, email marketing, content creation, marketing automation, social media marketing and video marketing among others. If you need an expert in your corner, visit our website and request a free consultation or give us a call on 01453 542761. We are here to help you find the right marketing strategy for your business.