Though mobile analytics at this point are a wilier and less well-understood quantity compared to traditional web analytics, it’s apparent that the use of smart phones is going to continue to rise. To take advantage of this new trend, market forces need to begin devoting larger percentages of online advertising budget to local search.
image credit toprankonlinemarketing
Before people started using smart phones, they’d sometimes search for local businesses online, appending or prefixing their search term with a city name. Other times, they’d look in the newspaper, other print advertisements and word of mouth. But last October Google changed the way that they integrate local into search, by merging place results with organic results on the SERP for searches that Google identifies as local. Since Local signals—reviews, place pages etc.—have become increasingly important.
At the time, though it was helpful for a business to come up at the top of the search engines for a specific city, it wasn’t as important as it’s become. People often use their smart phones to find local businesses, whether they are looking for a flower shop or a restaurant.
To insure that your business information come up in a local search, you’ll first want to register your business with Google Places. Though Google generally pulls information from bigger online directories, the information isn’t always verified and may be incorrect. To find out where your business shows up in a local search, you’d enter the type of business and the city where your business is located. If your business is a grocery store in Oklahoma City, then you’d go to a search engine and type in ‘grocery store Oklahoma City.’ If you haven’t verified your business information, you’ll see a link at the side of your business listing asking for the business owner to update the listing.
When you register your business with Google Places, you’ll be able to choose the categories that your business fits under. For example, you might have a bar and a restaurant. This will help ensure that your business will show up in a local search for all appropriate categories. When you’re registering your business, give all of the information you can, including website address, and hours of operation. You might even add pictures of your business and a short blurb about the payment types accepted. The more information you offer on Google Places, the better prepared your customers will be when they find our listing on a local search and walk in your door.
To get reviews, you might offer a discount of some type when someone reviews your business. You should also have your business listed through the local Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. The more legitimate links there are on your website, the higher your website will show in a search engine for local businesses.
Though many companies focus on getting their information listed on Google and Google Places, you should also get your business information listed on Bing Local and Yahoo! Local. Though Google may be a more popular search engine, there are some people who prefer to use a different search engine. The more places your business is listed, the more likely it’ll come up in a local search when someone is looking for your type of business.
Local searches are part of the key to getting more customers through your door. Mobile analytics and various strains of research show us that conversion rates are very high for people searching for restaurants and boutiques on their smart phone while they’re on-the-go. When you focus your search engine optimization to local SEO, you can get your business information in front of more customers. When you add in customer testimonials that show your business is very customer friendly, your business will get more attention from potential customers. Most of your customers will not be at their own home when they search for your business. Making it so that everything is in one place can go a long way toward getting more customers without spending a lot of money for advertising.
Written byThomas Stone
Thomas Stone is a contributing author at Technected.