You’ve benefited from local SEO as a searcher if you’ve searched for restaurants in a new city or for “pizza delivery near me” at home. The same principles apply to folks looking for plumbers, hardware stores, tailors, personal trainers, or piano tuners. When you pick up your smartphone to find a tailor, you don’t want results from Pittsburgh if you live in Fort Worth. Google knows that and makes it their business (literally) to give you the most relevant results.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a matter of setting up your website and content strategically so that it’s easy for search engines like Google to understand and navigate. Local SEO is setting it up so that your website appears when local people search for your products and services. It’s the way you get people to show up at your place of business when they’re most likely to buy.
This introduction should be enough to convince you of the value of local SEO services, but for those of you who tend toward stubbornness and are more difficult to sway, here are 10 reasons your business needs local SEO services.
You need local SEO because brick and mortar retailers rely on foot traffic
You can offer free shipping all you want, but if nobody ever steps foot in the store, your business will go under. That being said, the internet is not a retailer’s nemesis. It’s a tool to get traffic in the door.
The Google Ads blog indicates that around 90% of global sales will happen in a physical store this year. According to Accenture, retailers who function in multiple channels will continue to glean the most revenue contribution from brick and mortar stores until at least 2026.
Want to know why? Pew Research Center found the answer. Sixty-four percent of Americans prefer buying from brick-and-mortar stores because they want to try a product in-person.
Local SEO gets you on the search results map, above other websites
N.A.P. gets you on the map. It’s more than just a catchy phrase (but thanks for noticing). N.A.P. stands for name, address, and phone number. Basic stuff, right? Well, are you certain that these pieces of information are presented consistently everywhere on the internet? Consistency means it always says “Suite” instead of sometimes being shortened to “Ste.” Or the area code is always typed with parentheses instead of just a dash.
Everywhere on the internet means everywhere: your website, directories, social media pages, Google business listing… everywhere. Even the places you don’t know exist. Only SEO professionals know where to look to ensure your N.A.P. is consistent.
Why is it so important for it to be consistent everywhere? Because then it’s more likely to show up on the map when Google reveals the search results.
Just beneath the ads on the Google search results page, there’s a map. The three businesses that manage to get on that map show up higher on the page (and therefore get more clicks) than websites that are not on the map. Case in point: Iron Egg is technically in the #1 spot for “Fort Worth web design” on a laptop search, but they’re not on the map so local searchers may never find them, especially if they’re searching on a mobile device. Additionally, being on the map allows mobile searchers to “click to call” the business immediately instead of having to go to the website first.
Local SEO services help to get you on the map, and now you know how valuable that can be.
Your competitors are using local SEO services
If ever there was a time to keep up with the Joneses, this is it. Imagine this: a potential customer asks Siri where to find the products/services you sell. Your competitor used local SEO services, but you didn’t. So Google found your competitor’s site to be the more relevant result and provided directions, a phone number, and a link to your competitor. You basically handed business (and the money that goes along with it) to the competition.
You can turn the tables on that scenario, though. According to Brand Muscle via Local Search Association, 56% of local retailers haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing. If math isn’t your thing, allow me: that’s more than half of retail businesses. Here’s what that means: if you claim yours, you’re already ahead of the game.
The internet has wider visibility than a storefront sign
Need a break from all the Google babble? Fine. Consider this: A limited number of people just “happen to drive by” your location and see the sign. Even if you increase the chances of passersby seeing the sign by employing a sign spinner, your numbers are still limited. Crunching traffic numbers, subtracting the average number of drivers who are looking at their phones when they drive by, and accounting for the number of people who happen to need your product or service at the time they see the sign, you’re left with approximately… less than you would hope.
Local SEO has a broader reach because the internet is everywhere at once: in the car with the distracted driver, in the pocket of the pedestrian, and on the desk of the executive. Everywhere. Even if the sign is in their blind spot, folks can still find you online with proper local SEO services.
Phone books are becoming obsolete; the internet fits in your pocket
Signs still serve a purpose, but phone books? More people use phone books as booster seats, doorstop, or kindling than as a resource for finding the products or services they need. All the information you find in a phone book, you can get online, and then some. You’re better off claiming your Google My Business page than you are naming your company AAA Whatnots.
If your business isn’t online, does it even exist? Websites get more clicks
Some businesses have chosen to use the internet as their phone book listing by including business information in directories like Yelp or Angie’s List. The problem for those companies is that it’s the only presence they have online. They don’t have a website.
Here’s the deal: people stopped using phone books for a reason. Not only are they too heavy to carry in your purse, they don’t provide the same amount of information you can find on a website. According to Google, business listing that include a website get 25-35% more clicks than those that don’t. It’s not enough to just be in the directories. Would you be happy to see 25-35% more customers? What business wouldn’t.
People who live in your area need your products or services
Google trends acknowledged that local terminology searches like “nearby” or “closest” when looking for businesses dropped during the last six months of 2017. However, they theorized that it wasn’t because local searches decreased. On the contrary, people have come to expect local results instead of asking for them specifically.
The expectation of local results coupled with Forrester’s prediction that mobile devices will influence $1.4 trillion in local sales by 2021 should be all the motivation you need to consider local SEO services.
People who perform the most local searches are ready to buy
Still not convinced? Okay. Try this statistic on for size. Mediapost reports that more than half of “near me” searches result in a store visit. More than half! If they find you in their local search, chances are good they’ll come to the store with an intent to buy. Local search simply lines up the dominoes to fall all the way to your cash register.
A Hubspot marketing statistics report indicates that over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product while conducting a search on their smartphone. Again, that’s more than half. Local SEO services simply put the odds in your favor. It’s a legal way to rig the game.
Local SEO services help you make friends with search engines
Search engines continue to get smarter and smarter, but they’re dependent on the information they find online. The more you set them up for success by showing them how relevant you are to certain areas and search terms, the better they treat you. It’s quid pro quo, artificial intelligence edition.
Think with Google (an organization only slightly biased in the search engine discussion) says that 82% of smartphone users use a search engine to find a local business. It makes sense, though. Why would someone who knew where to find what they wanted do a local search at all?
People trust the reviews they read online
Once the search engines find you relevant enough to put on the first page of results, you need searchers to see what a quality business you are. That’s where customer reviews factor in.
Imagine you’re a young mom who is new to the Fort Worth area and needs to find someone to cut her 4-year old son’s hair. She searches “barber for kids” and gets the following results:
The first map listing (remember: N.A.P. gets you on the map) has an average of 4.8 stars, but there’s no website to find out about prices or how the barbers work with kids. The second listing mentions kids specifically but only has 3.6 stars. The third listing has a website and 4.6 stars as well as a review quote. I don’t know about you, but that’s the one I would choose. That’s the one most likely to have put an effort into local SEO by obtaining 130 reviews and still maintaining a 4.6-star rating.
I’m not alone in this decision-making process. Inc.com reports that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust a friend’s recommendation. Neuromarketing, knowing the cerebral effects of reviews, provides a guideline for how to ask for reviews. (You’re welcome.)
The long and short of it is this: you need customer reviews.
Well, there you have it. Reasons your business needs to focus on local SEO. If the whole thing seems too overwhelming or time consuming to tackle on your own, enlist the help of a local SEO expert… or an agency like Ardent who employees some. 🙂 Don’t be digitally invisible when you could be digitally spectacular. We’ll make it easy for you. Go to this page, fill out the form, and we’ll take it from there.