Search Engine Pros Local SEO Solutions help you dominate your market.
Local Search enables users to find businesses and services within a specific geographic region. A Local Search Listing gives your business instant locally targeted exposure online. Once we create and submit your Local Profile live to Google Maps, Yahoo Local Listings, MSN Windows Live Search and YellowPages.com, your business will be tapping into local search engine traffic and deliver more potential customers. With your business listing in the Major Search Engines on Yahoo! Local, MSN Live, Google Maps and YellowPages.com you will increase your visibility to potential customers while utilizing our search engine optimization specialists to create your online profile.
Local Search is becoming increasingly important with internet usage sitting at just about the 70% mark in North America, it’s clear that the internet represents a powerful marketing opportunity for businesses with a local scope. According to Comscore Networks, an internet analytics research firm, 63% of internet users – approximately 110 million people — in North America conduct local searches to find local businesses. And two out of five of those users – 41% — use the internet to find local businesses in their home area. These businesses are barber shops, grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and accounting firms – basically, the types of businesses that cater to a local market and are always in search of new customers.
But the best part about these local searches is how well they convert into real-world commerce. According to the same Comscore study, 49% of local searches result in a visit to a local merchant. To put that in perspective: nearly half of every search for a local business converts into a real, live person setting foot in a brick-and-mortar store.
This is because local search is consumer-driven and not business-driven: consumers actively searching for a product or service are much more likely to follow through with a purchase than those passively being advertised to. But what of the 51% who didn’t set foot in the store, you ask? Comscore indicates that, of internet users who conducted local searches, 41% made contact outside of the internet. That means that, out of 100% of people conducting local searches, 90% either visited the store or contacted the store.
Local SEO Is “Low Hanging Fruit”
All of this information begs the question: With internet spending increasing so dramatically by local businesses, can any business afford to not create a presence on the internet? Local businesses have passed the point where they can ignore the internet as a tool for marketing their products and services. A prime example of this evolution can be seen in the restaurant industry. Most restaurants focus exclusively on their local market – even large chain restaurants, some with a global presence, can’t rely on a brand-level marketing campaign to drive sales in individual restaurants. This being true, those restauranteers who embrace the internet’s marketing capabilities stand to benefit the most from increasing internet penetration and the growth of local search: a recent consumer survey found that an eye-opening 89% of restaurant-goers use the internet to research potential dining destinations. And these restaurant-goers don’t simply use local search to decide where they’re headed for dinner. The same survey reports that 61% of respondents appreciate promotional emails advertising specials and updated menus from restaurants, with 36% respondents indicating that food coupons were their preferred promotion. These statistics corroborate what the most savvy restauranteers already knew: the internet not only exposes customers to new locations, but it also has the power to influence where they dine.
The same survey revealed that, of the information listed on a restaurant’s website, 32% of respondents believe that directions and a map to the location are very important. This came second to menu and pricing of the restaurant’s food, which respondents rated as the most important. The third most important aspect, at 23%, was the ability of end-users to rate or review the restaurant. What’s revealing about this information is that these pieces of information are generally not available through other marketing mediums. A billboard or flier campaign can’t easily incorporate a full menu or an interactive map – but these aspects of a restaurants website are considered the most important factors in making a restaurant decision. This showcases the unique ability of the internet to deliver an interactive experience to the end-user, even in advertising. Given the level of interaction that exists between a potential customer and a restaurant’s website, why would they choose to avail themselves of traditional advertising when deciding where to dine?
Another recent survey, by ROI Research Inc. and Performics, found that 55 to 65% of respondents consider local search to be influential in the purchases they make at local retailers. With more than half of consumers indicating that they utilize local search in making purchases, it stands to reason that no local business should be taking a pass at internet marketing.
Dominate your market with Search Engine Pros
1) Local SEO and local search engines
Local search engines often crawl each other to find “citations” that will validate or correct the business information in their own indexes. After all, the search engines are in the business of serving up relevant, up to date information. As an example, you’ll frequently see a business’s Yahoo Local profile show up in the ‘Web Pages’ tab of its Google Local Business Listing. There are other second-tier search engines that show up frequently as well, such as Superpages.com, Yelp.com
2) Local blogs
Local blogs are a smart place to get your business listed. These will obviously vary by particular geography, but if you simply perform a search on your favorite search engine for “[your city] blog” or “[your neighborhood] blog,” you’ll find some good locations. The web sites that top rank for these kinds of searches are very well-indexed by the search engines, and highly associated with a particular neighborhood, city, or region. Businesses that are mentioned or linked on these blogs are viewed as trusted, relevant results in the Local search engines.
3) Local web directories
Similar to Local blogs, getting your web site listed in Local directories can have a tremendous impact on your local search engine rankings. Local directories are well-indexed by the search engines and are highly associated with a particular city or region. Localized directories are typically edited by a human and are much better than those which are “free for all.” You may have heard the term “FFA Link Directory” – this stands for free for all link farms. Steer clear of those. Human-edited directories are less susceptible to spam and are therefore more trusted by the Local search engines. An example of a terrific Locally-focused directory is Best of the Web’s Regional Directory. You can perform searches for things like “[your city] directory” or “[your state] directory” to find good prospects for these kinds of citations.
4) Industry-focused directories or blogs
Should you only go after the local directories or blogs? No. Go after industry focused directories or even if a website or directory is not focused on a particular region. If that website is focused on topics and keywords related to what you sell, it may be included among the sites that the Local search engines count as citation sources. The mantra is of course, Relevance! Search engines love relevance. So what is an example of a industry focused blog or directory? Well, for instance, the membership directory of your trade organization, or a blog that is popular among readers in your industry will probably be crawled by the Local search engines for citations. Searches like “[your industry] directory” or even “[your keyword] directory” will give you some ideas of the kinds of sites on which to get listed. You may have heard the saying; “Content is King”. It’s actually quality, keyword rich content that’s KING. Ask yourself, how much quality, keyword rich content do you have on the net?
5) Local Search Increasing In Popularity
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rooting for newspapers to fail. In fact I enjoy reading my local newspaper and seeing the latest events coming to town. But let’s face facts: For local bloggers, this is a golden Opportunity. The reality is that the decline of the traditional media is imminent If you’re thinking about starting a hyperlocal blog, there’s no better time than now to do it.
Here’s a few reasons why:
- Your neighbors are starting to shift their news-reading sources. The web will soon replace traditional media as the primary source of news.
- Traditional media is struggling, newspapers especially. The numbers above offer plenty of evidence.
- Not only are papers struggling, but many of them haven’t yet figured out how to gracefully transition to the web. There’s a high likelihood of a deep void in your area where online news is concerned.
- Starting a loyal customer following, whether online or offline, typically takes time. The difference with the online strategy, such as with a local blog, it that cost wise it is much more affordable, and it is also quite easier than traditional media to maintain the customer base (email). Granted, your local blog probably won’t be an instant success. Start now, get those beginner’s mistakes out of the way, and get into a routine. Learn what works and what doesn’t in your hometown, and keep repeating the mantra, Content is King. Remember to include those target keywords in your posts.
This shift from traditional media to online media is still in progress. Over time, more and more of your neighbors will turn to the Internet for local news and information. If you start now, you’ll be better prepared to give them what they want when they find you. Don’t wait. Get started today!
Step 1. Design a web site that captivates, informs and motivates your target audience to take action.
Step 2. Develop an annual content publishing plan detailing specific steps to success.
Step 3. Delegate execution of the plan to a team that delivers a true return on investment.
Ready to get started? Inquire with Search Engine Pros today – your Santa Barbara Social Media Experts.
About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros. Services provided include: Google search marketing, SEO copywriting services, ethical search engine optimization, internet marketing courses, seo consultation, seo positioning. Search Engine Pros is a Santa Barbara web marketing agency that provides a full range of web marketing services, including social media consulting, top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEO services. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.