In a world where customers have the opportunity to buy products and services from anywhere around the globe, more of them are choosing to keep their business local. Is your company ready to take advantage?
More than 20 percent of the searches on Google today are related to location, that’s people looking for doctors, or museums or a park to take their kids,” (Google Hosted News, October 2010).
20% is just a number, until you realize that hundreds of millions of searches are being performed every day. 20% may seem like a relatively small number compared to the global searches done every day, but imagine if people searching for products and services in your area found you, instead of the competition. Those numbers would start to seem a lot more interesting now wouldn’t they?
The old adage, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” applies when it comes to the shifts between local and global search. There was a time, when the internet was new, that we couldn’t wait to order products from outside of our city/state/region. But as the novelty of a global marketplace begins to wear off, more people, it would seem, are returning home to do their shopping.
Is Local Search Right for Me?
If you are a company that doesn’t feel that local search is important to their business, keep this fact in mind. Not every “local” search needs to be accompanied by city/state keywords (i.e. marketing company Phoenix, AZ), but if Google determines that you would benefit from seeing localized results, then by golly they are going to show them to you. Even if you have the ability to ship products globally, if you ignore potential customers in your hometown, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
So now you’re interested in finding out how you can show up higher (or at all) in the local search results. The one key to ranking higher in local search, above ALL OTHERS, is reviews. Google didn’t build their empire on simply providing results for a search query, they built it on the premise that their results were better than anyone else’s. When it comes to local search, the quality of a listing is determined primarily by one thing – positive reviews. You should already have a process in place where customers are encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions about their experience with you, so now is the time to integrate that into your local search strategies.
Differentiate Your Listing
Making your listing stand out is perhaps one of the trickiest aspects of local search marketing, but here are a couple ideas on how to make your listing more clickable/attractive to searchers.
- Gather Reviews. I can’t say this enough. Reviews (especially positive ones) will show potential customers that your business is worth talking about and not just some ghost town that nobody’s ever been to.
- Add Pictures: Find pictures of you performing various services, get a picture of your company logo, put up pictures of your office building. Again, this shows that you are a serious company who is ready to do business.
- Fill out the information completely: Hours of operation, brands you carry, parking information. Anything that will make your listing more robust and tells your potential customers more about you is a positive thing.
Showing up is the first step in attracting more local-based customers. What you do from there is up to you. Don’t expect that the fact that you simply exist is going to be enough to get and keep your customers coming to do business with you. Once they arrive, give them service worth talking about.