This article will cover Local Search one of my favourite topics. I’ll explore questions such as what exactly is local search? And why is local SEO for small businesses so important?
What exactly is local search?
Local Search covers a specific area, such as a town or city. A map containing pinned locations indicates local search results.
What + where?
what + where searches are a handy way to visualise local search, for example. What are you looking for? and where are you looking for it? Takeaway Pizza Morecambe would be an example of a what + where search, as would Taxi Kendal. Queries of this nature will result in local search results being displayed.
Why is local search so important?
After examining the data, local search’s importance is obvious
- 61% of local searches result in a purchase (Searchenginewatch.com).
- 74 % of internet users perform local searches (Kelsey group).
The growth of mobile computing underlines the importance of local search. As mobile searches have now overtaken searches from a traditional computer, the importance of local SEO is underlinined
- 53% of mobile searches have local intent (Mediative.com).
- Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day.
- 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Search Engines help the public to search for reputable good quality local businesses. This influences the data that the search engines collect.
Google My Business
Over the last few years Google’s handling of local SEO has been pretty haphazard. A number of competing platforms such as Google plus local, Google maps and Google places for Business complicated the issue. Fortunately, things have now stabilised and the Google my Business Dashboard has consolidated the various platforms in an easy to use dashboard, now we’ll examine what you need to do to ensure your business is correctly listed.
Google offer the following description of Google my Business
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses, brands, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.
Local Ranking factors
Citations are mentions of your business on other websites, typically business directories. A full citation requires the following information:
- Business Name.
- Business Address.
- Business Phone number.
This is usually abbreviated to NAP (Name, Address, Phone). Note: a citation doesn’t necessarily require a link back to your companies’ website. Citations help Google to confirm if your business is legitimate, with regards to the authenticity the next point consistency is vital.
Consistency across the web is vital, Ensure that NAP data is identical for every website where your company is listed.
Reviews are another important factor affecting local search results, the three major search engines handle this differently. Google’s handling of reviews has improved dramatically. A year ago it was difficult for customers to leave reviews in the Google network, now it’s a straightforward process. Bing local lacks review functionality, however they have a partnership with the yelp! reviews network with data being shared between the two companies.
Local search offers a productive way for smaller businesses to actively market themselves to their local community. building up a number of citations and ensuring NAP consistency is essential. if they can achieve a snack pack listing which would be effective for both desktop and mobile searches. I’m convinced its the best way for small local businesses to make an impact on the SERPs (Search engine Results Pages)
- Local Search
- Search which covers a specific locale, and results in a map with pinned locations.
- Local Pack
- A prominent window which, in Google contains 3 results.
- Name adress and Phone number, the main elements of a citation.
- Where your business is referenced on another website.
Further Reading & Bibliography
- Why is Local Search So Important?ducttapemarketing.com
- The Definitive List of Local Search Citations localvisibilitysystem.com
- 6 Local SEO Stats Every Online Marketer Needs To Know searchengineland.com
- Local Content Silos: The Secret To Local Search Successsearchengineland.com
- Local SEO: How To Rank Your Local Businesssearchengineland.com
- Top 5 Issues Wrecking Local SEO For Multi-Location Businesses searchengineland.com
- The New Google Local Search Display searchengineland.com
- How Not To Do Local SEO In A Post-Pigeon Erasearchengineland.com
- The 16 Secrets Of Guerrilla Local SEOsearchengineland.com