2018 is proving to be yet another year of rapid change for digital marketing strategies. The explosion in the use of smartphones and other mobile devices over the last five years is one of the primary driving forces of this change, drastically altering the way consumers find, research, and purchase goods and services. More than ever before, it’s vital to have an effective local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place. It could even mean the survival of your business.
2018 Local Search Statistics
Some eye-opening numbers showing the importance of local search SEO for SMBs, from surveys of PC users as well as mobile users, gathered from various online consumer research firms:
- Over 81% of consumers do research online before making a purchase.
- Mobile devices, especially smartphones, accounted for 64% of all organic searches in the first quarter of 2018.
- 72% of consumers conducting a local search visited a business within five miles of their location.
- 50% of mobile local searches resulted in a store visit within 24 hours, and 34% of consumers searching on PCs and tablets did the same.
- 30% of searches are for a specific location, and 28% of those lead to a purchase.
- Overall, 78% of all mobile local searches resulted in purchases offline.
Clearly, staying up-to-date on the latest local search SEO tactics is essential to businesses.
Tactics Your Competitors Use To Win At Local SEO
- Think locally, even if your business isn’t. If your business sells products and/or services nationwide and globally, you shouldn’t neglect having a local online presence. It establishes that you are a real company with an actual physical location, building trust while strengthening brand awareness.
- Get listed on business directories. This is extremely important these days. Customers won’t visit your store if they can’t find you or even know you exist. Google My Business is the place to start. Google has over 86% of the global search market share, far surpassing it’s nearest competitors. Google My Business is a free service that allows you to list your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, directions, and pictures, which will appear in searches and on Google Maps. Last year Google Posts was launched, which lets you post updates about sales, special deals, and upcoming events to your Google My Business account. And while Google is the biggest player in the game, don’t forget to list on Bing and Yahoo and other directories.
- Keep your business listings updated. Anytime you make changes to your contact information or location, make sure that information is updated across all of your listings, not just your GMB listing. Consumer studies have shown that a wrong phone number or wrong directions really frustrates consumers, and most will lose trust in a business if they have a bad experience because of outdated info. It pays to check that your information is accurate from time to time, because it’s not uncommon for accounts to be pirated by scammers, competitors, or even unhappy customers, and your data changed.
- Make use of business review sites. According to recent consumer surveys, more than 90% of people said their shopping decisions were based largely on online reviews, and most share their impressions from reviews they’ve read, good and bad, with people they know. And online reviews can make up almost 20% of how Google calculates your page rank in SERPs. Make sure you have a presence on the most popular review sites like Yelp, Google + Local, Foursquare, Yellow and White Pages, and niche and business specific sites. You should also enable reviews on your website, and respond to them. Don’t neglect the reviews posted to your social media sites.
- Use keywords that are locally targeted. Add your city or town and state to the keywords you use on your website and business listings. For example, if your keyword research says ‘bicycle parts and repair’ is a top keyword, simply add your city and state to it, ‘Indianapolis, Indiana bicycle parts and repair’. It makes a big difference to your local search visibility.
Stay on top of local search SEO tactics and marketing strategies. It will only continue to become more important for the foreseeable future.