Why Local SEO Is About to Become Even More Important
Local search engine optimization isn’t just about local mom-and-pop shops anymore. Practically any business can take advantage of local SEO’s benefits. Since Google’s fan-named “Pigeon” update in 2014, the importance of local SEO has grown, leading many entrepreneurs to focus on their strategy despite going years without considering a local tangent to their inbound marketing campaign. Others, who already practiced regular local optimization strategies, saw the update as an opportunity to increase their efforts even further.
These moves are savvy, because local SEO has risen in importance, but the ride isn’t over yet. Over the next few years, I anticipate that local SEO will become even more impactful and more useful for businesses. Here’s why.
Google loves local businesses.
Over the years, Google has shown slight favoritism toward newer, smaller, more agile companies. While most of its ranking biases have to do with a brand’s history and authority, Google also wants to give the people what they want — and that often means showcasing nimbler, more popular brands.
Competition is increasing.
Every year, millions of new sites are created and thousands of new businesses stabilize as formidable enterprises. In response, potential search visibility is actively dropping in many areas, with features such as the Knowledge Graph taking over search engine results pages and long-standing blue chip brands dominating the national search landscape.
Competition is increasing, so business owners will be forced to find smaller target niches in order to achieve relevant visibility. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to optimize locally, so local SEO will only grow in importance as competition continues to increase.
10 Reasons Why Local SEO Will Help Attract New Customers to Your Business
1. Local customers are switching to the internet to find local businesses
64% of local customers use online search engines and directories as their main way to find local business; only 28% of people use old paper directories as their preferred source of local information.
2. The number of online searches for local businesses is up 58%
In 2008/09 the number of ‘local searches’ (i.e. a search that included a location in it) grew by 58%. This was more than double the growth in general search volumes meaning that more & more people are looking for local information & businesses via search engines like Google.
3. Local search marketing is highly targeted & timely
Using local search engines & online directories promotes your business to local customers at exactly the point that they’re looking for your business. There’s no better time to connect with a potential customer then when they really need you.
4. Highest conversion levels of all local advertising channels
Local directory marketing has higher conversion rates than other, traditional advertising options – up to 50% conversion on some directories. That means that you’ll convert 1 in 2 leads into an actual customer.
5. Mobile internet usage growth
More and more local customers use mobile phones and mobile ‘apps’ to find best local business while they’re walking around. Local SEO covers both PC & mobile internet access meaning you never miss out on a potential customer.
6. Great return on investment
Unlike other advertising (e.g. local papers, leaflets etc…) with local SEO there is little wasted exposure. You reach potential customers when they need you not when they don’t. This makes local SEO both efficient and cost-effective.
7. Only 10% of businesses have claimed their Google Places local listings
Most local businesses haven’t got to grips with online marketing yet. That leaves the door open for you to get a head start before your competitors wise-up and it gets more competitive. Strike while the iron’s hot.
8. Local SEO opportunities with directory listings
Getting your business listed in hundreds of online business directories – That’s free promotion for your business, but it may not be free forever.
9. Local newspaper readership is in massive decline, down 40-80%
Fewer & fewer people are reading local newspapers. Recent figures show some local newspapers have lost 80% of their readership in the last 20 years. Why? Because local people are turning to the internet for their local news as well as to find the best local businesses & local deals.
10. 70% of local consumers trust online business reviews
Word of mouth is a major factor in the success of local businesses. Get your trusted customers to review your business online and attract hundreds of new customers.
And if you need an 11th reason to grow your business through local online marketing then here’s an ethical reason for choosing local SEO – it’s Green & Eco-friendly
These trends are strong now and they’re only going to get stronger and more significant in the future. Now is the time for you to take advantage of local search engine optimization and boost your business before your competitors boost theirs.