The purpose of local search optimization is to:
- Help businesses show up on the map
- Outrank their competitors on the map
- Be the most desirable choice among the businesses that show up on the map
Map results show up when users search for products/services in a specific geographical region/city. For example - when users search for ‘best seafood restaurants in Vancouver’, they will see 3 restaurants pop up on the first page on the map between the advertisements and the organic search results.
This post highlights 5 advantages of local search optimization.
1. Get Found With The Buyer’s Intent
Have you ever searched on Google for things like ‘restaurants near me’ or ‘plumbers near me’? Do you remember phoning the ones that popped up on the map? When users search for such keywords, they are generally searching with a buyer’s intent.
With the help of local search optimization, you can be a part of this last, which also gives your business some credibility. This will entice your potential customers to come to you, rather than your competitors.
Here is a video explaining the different categories of search results on Google
2. Have Your Business Information Displayed In The Knowledge Graph
When users search for your business name on Google, what do they see? Do they see a list of websites or see your information display prominently on the right-hand side of the search results (known as the knowledge graph)?
What would you, as a business owner, prefer? You don’t need to answer that question.
Your business information will appear in the knowledge graph when you have a properly created, verified listing on Google Business. A Google Business listing is the preliminary step to Local Search Optimization.
Here is a video demonstrating the same
3. Make Users Interact With Your Business Through Website Links And Phone Calls
When you appear on the maps, are you one-click away from getting a phone call or having them visit your website? By ensuring that your phone number and website links are included in your Google Business listing, you will make it easier for users to get in touch with you to research you further.
It is also important for your business name, website and phone number to be accurately and consistently published on the myriad of online directories where your business information may be published.
Examples of online directories can include Homestars, Yellowpages, Yelp, BBB, Industry Canada etc.
In the attached video, we demonstrate the user experience on a desktop.
4. Run A More Effective AdWords Campaign
To create a verified Google Business listing, Google verifies your business's physical address by mailing a postcard with a pin number. Upon verification, Google is able to confirm that you are indeed located at the particular address you mentioned.
A verified Google Business listing can be connected to your Google AdWords campaign. By connecting the two together, you can improve the effectiveness of your ad campaign by using location extensions. This is especially important for a business that wants to drive foot traffic. Location extension allows ads to display your address and also show nearby searchers their distance from your business with a link to get directions.
Imagine that you are a hair salon in Yaletown. When a user searches for hair salons nearby from Yaletown using his/her smartphone, your ad shows up with your salon name, ad copy and the user’s distance from the store. They can easily tap the call button or the get directions button. This is great for user experience and translates into more visitors to your salon/store.
Another advantage of connecting the Google Business listing with AdWords and using location extensions is that Google rewards campaigns that use such features. This can mean higher ranking ads, higher click through rates and lower cost per click.
Here is an example of a client we use the location extension for.
Having a link to your address in your ad makes it that much easier for your customers to find you. They can simply tap/click on the address and Google maps will show them directions to the place. It’s these little things that can make a big difference.
Included is a video with live examples.
5. Positive Reviews Will Outrank Competitors With New Search Result Filters
Along with rankings, review management is the other half of local search optimization. A positive review profile on Google, Facebook, Yelp etc can impact rankings.
But more importantly, a positive review profile helps you to get an edge over your competition.
Very recently, Google started testing new filters on the map wherein users can filter results based on ratings or hours of operation.
Here is a screenshot of search results in the map pack for ‘Cosmetic Dental Clinics in Burnaby’:
As you can see, Google has introduced new filter options for users to look only at the results that are relevant to them.
These new filter options allow users to filter results based on:
1. Ratings: Users can choose to only see clinics with 4 or more stars, 3 or more stars or 2 or more stars.
2. Hours: Users can choose to see only the businesses that are open now or only the ones open on Monday/Tuesday or any other particular day of the week.
Here is a short video where I demonstrate the same.
Given that users can now filter results based on reviews, the online review profile has become more important than ever before.
There are software and tools that can help you manage reviews across multiple platforms with ease. You can consult us for our recommendations.
But please do note that, 2017 onwards, online review management needs to be an integral part of your overall marketing strategy.
The whole idea of search engine optimization (SEO) is two fold -
1) Ranking: For your business to be discovered by users when they are looking for products or services that you provide.
2) Reputation: To appear as the most attractive choice for users as compared to your competitors.
The focus of Local SEO is to be featured on the map results. This is becoming an increasingly popular part of local marketing plans.
The space on the map pack (the 3 map results that show on page 1 of Google search results) is limited and can be highly competitive. Making an effort and allocating some resources towards local SEO can be a great decision depending on the type of industry and the geographical region you are in.
To find out how you can outrank your competitors on the map and for effective online review management solutions, reach out to us and we can assess the benefits of local SEO as it relates directly to your business.