by Heidi Schwende, Featured Contributor
Local search is a lot more important than you might think
DURING OUR Google Alliance team call this week, we learned more about 2 updated studies Google conducted with Ipsos Media CT and Purchased. The goal was to understand consumers’ local search behaviour today. The results were astonishing. 4 in 5 consumers are now conducting local searches on search engines ~ not phone directories and not yellow pages. Plus, 88% of those consumers are using a smartphone and 84% a tablet.
This begs the question; is your web presence mobile ready?
The searches consumers are conducting are relevant as well, particularly since 56% of them have local intent.
Local intent? Yes, near where they are at the time of the search
- 54% are looking for business hours
- 53% for directions to a local retail outlet
- 50% need an address
- 45% want to know if a product is available in-store
- Consumers are searching for local information everywhere, on every device and at every point in the purchase process.
I hope at this point the profoundness of these implications is becoming clearer.
Another nifty little statistic that you should consider is that 97% of searchers are using mobile devices to access websites in B2C, B2B and B2B2C. Yet, a meager 7% of websites are mobile ready. There’s a distinct competitive edge to be gained here for those who are able to start thinking outside the proverbial box.
Now let’s talk incrementality for a minute
Google wanted to evaluate the impact of organic rank on ad click incrementality. They ran an analysis of 390 cases to answer two very simple questions
1. How often is an ad impression accompanied by an associated organic result?
2. How does the incrementality of the ad clicks vary with the rank of advertiser’s organic results?
As you can see below, pay-per-click ads tend to generate new site visitors and do not simply divert traffic from organic search result links, as some marketers have feared.
So how do you make this work for you?
First of all you need to deliver your information for the devices consumers are searching with. Then you have to make sure they can find you, which means you have to show search engines how relevant you are. And with Google My Business, your business information will show up in Search, on Maps and Google+ so that customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using. And finally, you want to drive more traffic to your site.
Don’t let anyone fog you out with marketing or tech speak.
These are the first six steps to building your local business presence:
- Get a mobile ready website
- Optimize it for organic search
- Implement Google My Business
- Invest in some paid search
- Engage in social
- Ask for reviews
If we do these steps, our businesses will get found and will benefit from the incrementality effect shown above.
We have to cut the out-dated tactics and implement a more natural approach to obtaining organic rankings and traffic, all the while adhering to Google’s aggressive guidelines. Is it harder and more in-depth than it used to be? Yes. Will we all need to devote more time, energy and resources in order to sustain an effective long-term strategy? Yes. But in the end analysis, can we really afford not to?