How important local search or “near me” search SEO is for your business?
The simple answer is…very important! According to Think with Google, local searches or “near me” searches on the web has increased more than 130% year over year. In the latest report from Think with Google consumer insight, there is a 500% growth in “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” over the last two years. I agree with Lisa Gevelber (VP, Marketing for the Americas at Google) on what “near me” searches is about. It is not about where to go, rather is about how to find what we need…or maybe want. Least known as the Pigeon update, Google implemented this new algorithm to provide more useful, relevant and accurate information on the search engine results page (SERP). The intention of this update did shake up how companies strategize their search engine optimization (SEO) plans, but it is supposed to improve Google’s distance and location ranking parameters. We talked quite a bit in a previous post on boosting the presence of your local business, especially a brick-and-mortar store here.
Let’s first understand what “local search” or “near me” searches are all about.
What is a Local Search or “Near me” search Marketing about?
When a consumer searches locally, they are often looking for a product or service that is near their current location. Local search marketing is what businesses are engaging at the moment due to the increase in “near me” searches. Sometimes we call it geo-targeting which is targeting based on the geographical location of your target audience. Local search is an action in which a consumer or user takes when looking for a particular product or service that is available in a brick-and-mortar store. Moz.com explains that local search is anything a company does on the web to promote their business which has a physical presence to increase face-to-face interactions. We can call it a brick-and-mortar store and better yet, a local business. The technique behind a local search is a local search marketing or commonly referred to as local SEO.
According to Moz.com, there are 9 tasks before being able to gain a competitive edge for your local business. These 9 tasks are guideline compliance, website authority, website quality, website optimization, review acquisition, NAP breadth, NAP consistency, publishing strategy and lastly, obtaining a competitive edge. I would recommend reading these 9 tasks on Moz.com as it explains in detail how to integrate the local marketing search technique in your digital marketing strategy.
The Pigeon update not only aligned the user interface of the Google Search and the Google map for their SERPs, it also improved consumer-driven local “directories” such as Yelp and TripAdvisor and other third-party applications. The immediate effect for local businesses may have increased on decreased in Key Performance Indicators such as leads and conversions which is indicated with “Directions” and “Call now”. To be honest, I do find that the search results are better when I am looking for a restaurant nearby. I don’t actually have to type in “near me” or “by me”. I just need to turn on my GPS signal on my smartphone and the search is on its way. If you are on a desktop or laptop searching for a restaurant, you can filter by distance. Eventually, we want to have a better search experience as consumers and as business owners, to provide our potential customers as much information as possible at their fingertips.
A takeaway from this article is that it may sound redundant to say it, but claim your business on Google+. Do what you have been doing in terms of SEO strategy but implement KPIs more prominently.