Published: 28 June 2016
Ok, so there is a lot more to it, but I’ve always wanted to start a post that way.
Let's start again.
It used to be as simple as placing an ad in the Yellow Pages
One thing any Digital Marketing Executive, Consultant or Specialist will tell you that the job title can be a little misleading in it’s grandeur – likely due to the word “digital”. All it means is implementing traditional marketing strategies on digital platforms, which is simply making sure your marketing content is seen by the right people, and that the right people can find it when they look for it.
And these days, people are looking online.
Last year, Google officially announced “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers”. Its also been stated that 70% of those mobile users will hit the “call” button on the search results page, rather than visit the website and look for the contact info another way.
Why is this relevant? As you’ve probably guessed, that call button appears because of Local SEO.
When you search for a service, be it floral delivery or digital marketing, Google will categorise its results page to account for ads, organic search results, and a very attention grabbing section dedicated to businesses with the best Local SEO, based off your location data.
The power of a little local optimisation
As Adwords changed on the 20th of February, Google now displays four ads above the organic search results. This has also had a knock-on effect on the importance of Local SEO, because in most cases, Google will display local results immediately after those four ads, instead of organic results, seen here when we searched for “Stonehenge Tours”!
That’s a pretty important change. Lets look at another example and talk about what it takes to get to the top of those local results.
We’re based in Ashford and feeling a bit romantic, so after searching for “Flower delivery”, Google is showing us the three “best” local places to order flowers from, along with a handy map showing us how where in Ashford those places are located.
A few of the ways Google chooses which businesses to display in the local results are as follows:
- How long your website/business has been online for
- The number of websites that link back to your page
- The number of reviews
There’s much more to it than that, and after looking at the sheer amount of information Google can display in such a small preview, you can imagine how influential a difference like the addition of review stars could be for any one of these businesses. Theoretically, a fourth florist could usurp one of the top 3 positions simply by improving their local SEO, which would be a huge boon to their business.
Local SEO on Mobile
Recently, Jess Howes visited Google’s London offices to attend their Mobile Advertising Bootcamp. Along with an exam pass (well done Jess) she returned with a wealth of stats about the behavioural habits of mobile users, and three points in particular caught my eye:
• More than half of all Google searches are on mobile
• 66% of mobile searchers want to purchase within the hour, and 50% of mobile searchers DO purchase within the hour
• 1 in 3 mobile searches have local intent, with ‘near me’ becoming a popular search term e.g ‘café near me’
Now we know how important mobile searching is, lets see what happens when we search for “Flower Delivery” and get those same local results on a smartphone.
You can see now why so many mobile users will call straight from the results page – it’s the most obvious and alluring option!
But as stated previously, there is a great deal more these businesses could do improve their local SEO. Lesleys Florist has managed to gain a review, but Google won’t start displaying an average review score (stars) until they get five. None of them currently have an image of their storefront, which could make them stand out from their competition and influence more customers to call.
As you’ve by now gathered, Local SEO is ABSOLUTELY VITAL to small businesses and local shops, but the practice is just as important to larger businesses who cater to customers nationally or even internationally.
Think for a moment how many of your potential customers may search for a larger, nationwide service or business in London. Now think how many of how many of those businesses have their HQ in London. You can start to get the picture as to why Local SEO shouldn’t be limited to just shops and takeaways. As stated earlier, Local SEO isn’t a separate practice from standard SEO. It is just the next step to get ahead of your competition.
There is a great deal more to go over to effectively optimise your business for local search results, but hopefully by now you’ll see the importance of putting those procedures in place.
If you’ve noticed that your Google Results have dropped, or you’d like to improve your current rankings, get started on the next step of your SEO practices today by giving us a call