Standing out in search results can be a fickle thing, and many website owners simply succumb to defeat. Thanks to modern technological advances, the rise in smartphone use and changing consumer behaviours, businesses are now presented with a new opportunity when it comes to search engine optimisation. Step forward Local Search Engine Optimisation.
Over the past 18 months your customers have made a definite shift to location based search terms. In a nutshell search terms are no longer broad and generic, like “plumber” or “carpenter.” I’m not saying that people are no longer searching for plumbers or carpenters, they are, but nowadays their search terms have an additional tag, a location tag. Customers have become more discerning about their search results and want to be shown businesses and trades near their location that they can actually use, and so the search pattern has now evolved to something like “Plumbers in Sligo” or “Carpenters in Leitrim.” Couple this with the significant rise in searches occurring on mobile devices and you’ve got quite a pickle. Website owners have reacted and some are now harnessing the power of these emerging search terms through location based search engine optimisation or Local SEO to drive consumers to their physical store.
Nowadays, approximately 50% of website visitors from mobiles lead to an instore and a whopping 18% lead to a sale within 24 hours. Amazing right?
Business Address/Location is the primary piece of information sought by local searches. Makes Sense?
I can already hear the questions brewing but first let us delve a little deeper into Local SEO and what it entails.
Have you ever searched for your business name and noticed your business information tile on the right hand side like this?
That, my friends, is your businesses very own Google My Business (GMB) page. Generated from your business information across the web, this free page showcases vital information about your business, such as your location, phone number, website details and opening hours. However, most businesses have yet to claim and verify their page which can mislead customers. Worryingly, your Google My Business page gains top position in the search engine results page on mobile devices as seen here, prompting customers to call or visit your business. Ensuring the business information shown on your Google My Business page is of paramount importance and forms one of the very first steps in a Local SEO campaign.
The objectives of a Local Search Engine Optimisation Campaign are twofold. The first objective is to gain ground in the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Page) for location based searches. Secondly, encouraging your customers to take positive consumer actions in real time driving footfall to your store.
But how is this done?
Most people will remember the Golden Pages directory that was an integral part of each and every household back in the 90’s. Step forward 20 years or so, and their online platform is now one the most influential reference elements for search engines. Similarly, other directory websites such as Cyclex, Infobel and Yelp have a significant bearing on search results and amending/correcting your businesses name, address and phone number within these directories is a must. Not only will these actions place authority on your business website, it will also increase the visibility of your GMB Page.
Although a relatively new phenomenon Local SEO Campaigns continue to utilise tried and tested search engine tactics. Using online tools such as Google Trends and Keyword Planner to research the keywords your customers use & amending your onsite content to capture these terms, can see your business website design climb through the search pages. Finally, building and optimising your business platforms, social media and driving positive consumer reviews add the much needed weight, reliability and bearing your customers have been looking for.