Now more so than ever before any search query with local intent (“laptop repair” or “bank branch near me”) shows the level of seriousness of a user to buy or to visit a point of sale. In this regard, local SEO is one of the main strategies of search optimization which helps brick-and-mortar companies to “bring” clients directly from the search.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what local SEO is, why it is so important for effective lead generation, and what brick-and-mortar businesses should focus on to win the traffic and the local search game.
Some years ago a user’s search path looked completely different. In order to find some goods or services, a person entered a search query, chose a site from the SERP (sometimes for this a user had to check a dozen) and explored the information provided. Then they searched for reviews, star rating and the company’s contact details.
To check other relevant results a customer had to repeat the process over again, which was both time consuming and inefficient.
The SERP for every local query looked like a huge list of relevant links divided into several blocks: ads related, search engine optimized sites and a small block with a map top right.
The SERP: 2020 vs 2014
In just a few years, the SERP evolved considerably and at the same time it changed the way users search. So, the “path” to the purchase has become much easier. This happened largely thanks to local search.
What is local search and why do companies need local SEO?
Local search is the system that forms search results according to a user’s location. A typical local search query, first of all, includes information about “what” a person is searching for (a business category, a company name, or the name of goods or services). “Where” information, such as an address or related keywords (“Manhattan restaurants” or “hotels near Opera House”), is also contained but it is not a mandatory requirement.
Even if a user doesn’t specify the search area (a city or district), the search engine returns the results on the map which are relevant to the user’s location.
Searches that reference a product or service which is typically consumed locally (for example, “cafe” or “barbershop”) is an implicit local search.
Today, the map is in the priority position on the SERP, above the organic results. Local SEO helps companies to appear on the map, be “visible” to potential clients and overtake competitors with great SEO.
Local SEO: presence on the map shortens the “path” to a purchase
One example that reflects the idea of local search and the importance of local SEO is searching for a pharmacy nearby.
Let’s say, a person needs some medicine straight away. They enter into the search query “24-hour pharmacy” using their smartphone. The search engine generates a page of results taking into account the person’s geolocation. These include some of the most relevant options at the top (map block, i.e. Local Pack), whose business information is detailed and without any inconsistencies.
Businesses that do not have a mark on the map are not visible to potential customers. This means they lose a great part of search traffic that could be turned into foot traffic and thus produce a profit.
Local SEO implies digital knowledge management
If you want customers to find your business location without any promotion or advertising costs you should submit your company’s information to online maps and other sources working with local search (online business directories and catalogs, GPS-systems, social networks, review sites). Also, it’s necessary to provide optimization of each listing according to the local search ranking factors.
So, the competent managing of business information across different platforms on the Internet is the only way to control a company’s online presence, thus making the business brand more developed across the digital world and attracting customers to stores and offices as efficiently as possible.
In other words, to be “visible”, overtake competitors in the SEO and to get more leads you should make digital knowledge management one of the main parts of your marketing strategy.
Every location of brick-and-mortar businesses such as banks, HoReCa representatives, local stores, and medical centres, etc. should present on the maps and other relevant sources. Their listings should contain accurate and comprehensive information, be updated and include users’ reviews – these give Google everything it needs to find your company in local searches.
Even compared to the sites at the top of the SERP, the map gives advantages thanks to a higher conversion rate.
One extensive study confirms the following:
- 44% of users choose one of the variants from the Local Pack (top-3);
- 8% of users view “More places”;
- 29% of users explore organic results;
- 19% of users click ads.
So, if you’re not ranking in the top three (the Local Pack), you will reach just a tiny fraction of all local searches.
Business listing management is a crucial part of Local SEO
A survey from Google confirms the following: it is an online map that generates traffic to the points of sale. 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day, and 28% result in a purchase.
Business listing management is a task that requires weekly and even daily attention. To manage all the listings across platforms in the most effective way RocketData provides a professional tool for improving a company’s local SEO.
The algorithm can submit information to sites, optimize listings according to local search ranking factors. Also RocketData ensures reputation monitoring opportunities in every tariff plan. So, its mission is to “connect” every business location with customers of a defined geographic area in order to turn search traffic into foot traffic.
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Today, buying and running ads or optimizing your site is not enough to guarantee that users find your local stores or offices by relevant queries.
Since it is difficult to guess where and how a user will search for goods or services at a particular moment (using a navigator, on the map, in social networks, on review sites, etc.), your business should be presented in geo services and online business directories.
Check if your potential clients will be able to find your company’s locations on the maps and if all data is correct. And leave your contacts on the website to make a free business listing scan and get online presence report on whether your online listings contain inconsistencies.
Read Full Article Here – Local SEO: How Companies Can Overtake Competitors