Local Search is Worth the Wait

Local Search is Worth the Wait

Content Writer: Elizabeth Lauer Elizabeth Lauer Blog Contributor
In a world where instant gratification is the norm, the thought of waiting for anything a month, a week, a day or even five minutes can be overwhelming. Think about how long those last 30 seconds on the treadmill seem to take. Safe to say, we're a pretty impatient bunch.

Just the other day I went to get some ice cream with my nephew and the line was out the door. You know what I did? I went to a different ice cream shop where we wouldn’t have to wait in such a long line. The fact that I was willing to drive five minutes down the road to go to a different ice cream shop seems crazy. It seems especially crazy considering it would have likely taken the same amount of time if I would have stayed.

Why couldn’t I have just waited a few extra minutes for ice cream I actually wanted? Why did I settle for something that was not my first choice? My impatience got the better of me because my desire for instant gratification was stronger than my desire for my favorite ice cream.
What on earth does this story have to do with local search marketing? Everything. 
My clients always want to know what’s going on behind the scenes with their marketing strategy (as they should). “When will I start showing up for my keywords?” “How many months will it take to be ranked number one in local search results?” The list of questions could go on for a mile. They’re good questions, but the answer is different for every situation. The thing I tell them time after time is that local search is a process, but it’s worth the wait.
In the Forbes article, “7 Reasons Why Your Business Should Invest In SEO,” Steve Olenski, writes that contrary to popular belief, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not dead. Olenski gives his list of seven reasons why businesses should be investing in SEO. Aside from the fact that your competitors are likely doing it, investing in SEO still works. This investment will help prospects find you and when you boil it down, what else matters?
It takes a lot to run an effective local search marketing (local SEO) strategy. Having a locally-optimized website is a good start, but you can’t stop there. You need to optimize your local listing pages, select the correct keywords, create high-quality citations and earn credible reviews. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good foundation. If you want to learn more, I suggest you check out our free marketing guide, A Small Business’s Guide to Local Search Marketing.
Why is local SEO so important? Because your prospects are using the Internet to search for products and services. Seventy-eight percent of consumers research products and services online before making a purchase.
You might have the best soft serve in the entire Midwest, but if consumers can’t find you when searching, “ice cream shops” then nobody is enjoying it.
Some of you may be thinking, “Hey, we’re in the Yellow Pages. That’s all we’ve ever needed to get new clients through the door!” And maybe that was the case, but it’s certainly not true anymore.
Today, 54 percent of Americans have substituted local search for phone books. If you’re okay with losing 54 percent of your potential audience, then you can stop reading this article and go back to looking for your ads in the Sunday newspaper.

Online reviews are as good as gold.

Aside from just having your business showing up in local search results, another big factor that helps consumers choose where to get products/services is through online reviews. According to Bright Local, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In the online world, positive reviews are as good as good as gold.
Consumers want to be reassured that they're making a good decision when purchasing something. One way to feel better about making a purchase is by reading about the positive experiences of other consumers. Consumers see reviews as authentic and trustworthy.
In addition to earning consumer trust, online reviews play a significant factor in your search engine ranking. With all things being equal, businesses with authentic and positive reviews will rank higher than ones that don’t have reviews. Review marketing needs to be a part of your overall local SEO strategy. It takes time, but it pays dividends. 
This line from an article by Business 2 Community sums my point up pretty well, “Consumers have become savvier and want information on local companies faster than ever before. If a local business cannot be found online then it is already missing opportunities.”
Local search is worth the wait. It’s the best strategy for sustained success. To be successful over a long period of time, you need to build your strategy from the ground up. Local search should be the foundation of your digital marketing strategy.
As much work as it may seem in the beginning, the investment of time and money will be worth it. You have my word on this…and if I’m wrong, I’ll take you out for ice cream.