Did you know that a little more than one-third of all searches in 2017 were local searches?
That's a lot of people, but with more than half of consumers looking up local businesses monthly, I can't say I'm surprised.
With that in mind, businesses need to have a strong local search marketing plan now more than ever to stand out from the competition and be found by customers.
What is local search marketing?
Local search marketing is what allows your business to be found in relevant, local searches on search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing to name a few. To put it simply, it’s making sure your customers find you locally on the map.
But, I think it’s safe to say that a strong local search marketing strategy is the foundation of any digital marketing plan.
Which brings us to one major question: why should you give local search a chance?
We Use Local Search for Everything
Whether it’s looking up hours or directions for restaurants, looking up parking lots near a business or checking the gas prices at nearby gas stations, one thing is certain: we use local search for everything.
It’s gotten to the point where we expect all of our searches to be local to us. In fact, most people avoid using the phrase ‘near me’ in their searches for that reason (thanks, location services).
Need more convincing? Take a look at these statistics:
- Searches for ‘where to buy’ on mobile have grown 85 percent from 2015 to 2017
- Searches for ‘is it going to rain today’ have also grown 85 percent in the same timeframe
- Half of the U.S. has replaced the phone book with a local online search
Why Is Local Search So Important?
Let’s say you want to go out to a new sushi restaurant that opened near you. But, what if that restaurant isn’t showing up on your GPS? Or, what if the location is wrong and your directions guide you a block away from the restaurant?
It’s inconvenient to you as a customer and can lose you sales as a business owner.
The reason that local search marketing is so important is that customers are going to search for you online.
Ninety-seven percent of people looked up online businesses in 2017, and I wouldn't be surprised if that number increased a percent or two within the next couple of years.
How Does Local Search Marketing Benefit Your Business?
How many times have you looked up a business online and then immediately driven to their store? Did you wind up making a purchase as well?
Well, you’re not alone; 72 percent of consumers visit a store within five miles after they perform a local search, and 78 percent of local searches on mobile end with an offline purchase.
And, about two-thirds of customers are more likely to purchase from businesses that have a mobile website or app that customizes information to their customers' location.
In other words, if you focus your marketing efforts on local search, you'll make it easier for customers to find your business and in return, they may choose you over your competitors.
How Can You Get Started With Local Search Marketing?
So, we’ve learned that it’s crucial to have a great local search marketing plan for your business, but how do we get started?
We have a blog post that can you help you learn a little more about how local search marketing works and where to start, but we'll give you a couple tips to begin.
First things first: claim your free Google My Business listing. Seriously. You’d be surprised how many local businesses didn’t claim their listing last year (if you’re curious, it was 56 percent of businesses).
Plus, if you have a website, you’ll get 25 to 35 percent more clicks in your business listings.
You'll also want to make sure your NAPU (name, address, phone number and URL) is up-to-date. Having inaccurate information will not only hurt your local search ranking, but it looks unprofessional and will turn customers away.
And don't be discouraged if it's taking a long time to be found in local search. Local search marketing takes a while, so be patient!
Now is the time to take action and give local search a chance.
Unlike the past where we used the Internet to answer questions, today we care more about search results that are localized and meet our personal needs. Because of that, we expect hyperlocal search to rise as we move forward in digital marketing.
If you're ready to get started with local search marketing, we have a plan that can work for you!
Or, if you want to learn more about local search marketing, check out these resources: