MARKETING & ADVERTISING • November 11, 2015
2 minutes Read
By Rieva Lesonsky
When consumers are looking for personal or professional services, a store to shop at or a restaurant for dinner that night, they’re usually looking for local businesses.
If your business relies on a local clientele, you need to be marketing your business with local search.
Think of local search marketing as the new Yellow Pages. How often do you pull out the phone book to look up a business? Instead, you most likely grab your phone and do a search—just like the majority of consumers. According to Google, 82 percent of smartphone owners use search engines to look up local businesses, and the number of consumers seeking local businesses is growing. Google reports the percentage of searches looking for something “near me” (such as “pizza restaurant near me”) has doubled in the past year.
Local search marketing is especially important because Google’s research indicates that consumers who perform local searches are highly likely to buy. Half of consumers who do a local search on their smartphones visit the location within a day, as do more than one-third of those who search on a tablet or desktop computer. In addition, more than twice as many local as non-local searches lead to a purchase within one day (18 percent compared to 7 percent).
How can you grab the attention of those ready-to-spend local searchers? It’s actually pretty simple.
First, start by “claiming” your business’s listing on local search directories such as Google My Business, Local.com and YP. You may find a partial listing already exists for your business. Fill out your listing as completely as you can with the information customers are looking for when they’re ready to visit your business. That typically includes your business address, directions or a map; your hours of operation; a phone number; a link to your business website; and anything else that might convince people to visit your location vs. the competition, such as photos of your location or menu items, a menu, or links to review sites.
Next, make sure that when customers do visit your business website (which is often the next step after a local search) it’s mobile-friendly. After all, chances are these customers are searching on their smartphones. A mobile-friendly site needs to load quickly (within a few seconds is all most people have the patience for), be easy to read on a smartphone and be easy to navigate on a tiny screen.
Using responsive design for your website is the best way to ensure your site is mobile-friendly on all types of smartphones and tablets. However, you should also incorporate some basic design principles:
Last, optimize your business website to come up first in local searches by using locally related keywords in your site content and tags. For instance, if you own a pizza restaurant in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego, you’d want to include keywords like pizza in san diego pizza, pizza in pacific beach. You can also incorporate keywords related to local landmarks such as pizza near legoland or pizza near seaworld.
By using these three tactics—local search listings, mobile-friendly website and local keywords in your SEO—you’ll see your local customer base growing steadily.
Small business influencer Rieva Lesonsky is a guest blogger for CAN Capital. She is a nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship and has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years.
(Photo courtesy: iStock/Thinkstock)