Although the Internet lets us explore and communicate with anyone anywhere on the planet, we don’t always need the worldwide part of the web.
In fact, the number of local business searches being conducted on Google and their ilk is rising all the time as people are realizing just how adept the major search engines are of providing ever more localized results when required.
To take advantage of this shift, business owners now need to understand the value of online local search marketing.
They need to know what it is, why it’s so important, and how to implement it.
What is local search marketing?
If local search can be defined as looking for something in a certain place, then local search marketing is making sure your business shows up when that place is your patch.
For somebody looking to download music or buy a stock image, location doesn’t matter.
For people in need of more physical (and traditional) services such as hairdressers, plumbers, gyms or French polishers, it can be assumed that the location is important.
It’s really nothing new, and can be likened to a modern take on paper directories such as the Yellow Pages, but search engines are becoming smarter with knowing when to prioritize local results for those searches that state or suggest a preference for them.
Local search doesn’t necessarily mean local to the searcher. For everyone looking for an emergency dentist, there may be someone searching for a tattoo artist or car rental in their upcoming holiday destination.
Local search marketing is ensuring your business is visible to anyone who may be looking for your service in your town, wherever they may be.
Why local search marketing is important
Local search marketing is important for two major reasons; the amount of exposure it can get a business in search results, and the quality of the traffic it can bring.
The majority of people searching for products or services are looking local, which makes defining your location an important factor in your marketing. Local search results also take priority over those without a stated physical location, meaning you will either be in the top band of results with your local competitors, or ignored in the generic results below.
Certain search terms will give localized results even with no locale specified if the search engine deems it something that is being looked for locally, especially when searched for on a GPS-enabled mobile device. It’s a sign of the times: they always know where we are.
As a marketer, you should recognize the importance in the quality of your traffic. The majority of people who search local aren’t simply browsing, and they are likely to take immediate action if they find what they are looking for.
How to market yourself to local searches (and searchers)
When carefully dropping keywords into your content, did you think about adding your location next to your business type?
‘Plumber in Calgary’ is a far more likely search term than ‘reliable plumber’, and will bring you this higher quality traffic.
You should also include your physical address, with neighborhood, zip code and landline telephone number, as well as any local attractions, as people may well search for ‘plumber near Calgary airport’ or similar.
Registering with Google’s ‘My Business’ is also essential for any company with physical premises that wants to be found. Ensuring you show up on both Google Search and Google Maps, and giving you a Google+ profile too, it makes it easy for customers to find (in both senses) and communicate with you.