Google Local Search
For some small businesses, attracting a worldwide audience isn’t part of the marketing plan. Some businesses need to focus on small geographic locations, typically near their businesses or retail stores.
This distinction is important for small businesses that might not have the resources to secure local television, radio, or billboard advertising. If you’re looking for customers in a specific area, how else can you reach them?
Local search is the next iteration of traditional off-line advertising — think of it like Yellow Pages 2.0. Instead of targeting customers by interest or age, local search aims to attract people who are within a certain geographic distance of your business.
Small businesses that serve a specific territory should master local search if they want their businesses to be found on Google. In fact, marketing leaders will spend more than $103 billion on search marketing by 2019.
Today, consumers turn to search to begin inquiries for just about everything. In the past, customers relied on off-line solutions, like the Yellow Pages and the newspaper, to learn more about the products and services available in their local areas. In recent years, use of these off-line resources has gone down, while the use of online local search has grown exponentially.
This shift in consumer behavior means that local businesses have had to rethink the way they distribute their business information and marketing — everything from store hours and offerings, to special deals and promotions.
Small Businesses Need Local Search
Local search is available on every popular search engine; mastering your local search is an easy to way attract customers looking for your product or service nearby.
Through optimization, your small business can provide important company information to customers in ways formerly not possible. Plus, with new insight tools, you can learn more about your customers and how they’re finding you online.
When people search for you local business, does your phone number appear? What about hours of operation?
Local search gives small businesses more control over the appearance and information displayed online. You can upload pictures and showcase customer reviews, both of which give customers a greater sense of your company from the moment they begin their search.
Google recently integrated local search with Google Maps, which means your business information will now display in both regular search queries and Google Maps. This is particularly important for users searching on the go. In fact, 87 percent of smartphone owners regularly use a search engine on their phones.
Searches on mobile have surpassed those performed on desktop computers. Optimizing local search to appear efficiently on mobile devices is another way small businesses can take advantage of local search.
Maintaining an accurate local search will ensure your customers don’t get frustrated looking for your business, and will help them locate the information they want quickly and efficiently.
How Does Local Search Work?
There are different methodologies used by local search, including geolocation. Geolocation is the science of determining where a computer or mobile device is located and using that information to display relevant results in a search engine specific to that user’s location.
Different search engines use a combination of tools to best determine where a user is located. This includes things like language preference, IP address, and sites the user previously visited.
For the most part, search engines like Google rely on local search algorithms to deliver relevant results to users looking for products or services in a particular area. However, there are external factors that can affect your ability to rank well in a local search. Google’s My Business or Google+ are likely factors.
From inside Google’s My Business, you can control most of your local search information from a single dashboard; you can edit details about your business whenever necessary. You can also manage reviews and gain insight from tools that let you see how your business fares online, where your customers are coming from, and how they found you.
These insight tools are here to help your small business grow; we specialize in local search optimization, and we’ll assist you with interpreting the data you collect from local search, so that you can make adjustments to other areas if your internet marketing strategy with greater insight and purpose.