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Marketers Need New Local SEO Strategies to Optimize for Local Search Trends

Posted by Brandon Martinez on Feb 7, 2017 4:30:05 PM
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Consumers are turning to the Internet for everything these days; it’s a cyber generation. Luckily for store owners, they’re still using sites like Google Maps & Yelp to shop locally. 76% of shoppers using a local search site will visit a business within 24 hours after their search and 28% of those searches result in a purchase. While users may be on all sorts of different devices (laptops, desktops, phones, tablets), in 2015 mobile phone searches tidal waved computer searches and now home computers are living in their shadows. Mobile has been leading marketers and businesses to focus heavily on their local rankings and with the more recent trend towards local search growing rapidly among consumers, it is more and more important to focus on local SEO to drive those customers into your stores.

Optimizing for Mobile Search but not Local will Cost you Customers

If you believe the strategy for optimizing your listings for mobile search is the same as optimizing for local search, then you are losing out on a number of customers every day. Knowing the difference between mobile and local search is crucial for properly optimizing your listings and driving customers into your stores. Search engines are looking to deliver the most relevant, credible and actionable information to their users and they do so by delivering different results based off of the type of search the user is performing.

While optimizing for mobile search may help your local search rankings, without a proper local search strategy, your business won’t be seen by any users looking to make a purchase from a local business like yours. Search engines differentiate mobile and local search through user intent, or what the user is trying to accomplish with their search. A search is considered mobile when a user queries a search engine from any mobile device with Internet connection. Mobile searches include question and answer services, discovery search services and local search services. This means that while local searches may be mobile searches, mobile searches are not necessarily local searches.

If you want to capitalize on that 76% of local searchers looking to make a purchase from a local business, then you need a more targeted local SEO strategy. Compared to mobile searches, users can perform local searches on both desktop and mobile devices. However, what makes local search so important to businesses is that users perform a local search when their query has Local Intent.

     Mobile Search:                                                                                    Local Search:

             MobileSearch.png                                     MobileGoogle.png

Local Intent Means Customers Need Your Business!

Users who search with local intent are looking for something within a specific geographical area with the intention of making a purchase. Searches with local intent are the door to the store; they are performed online with the intent of visiting the store, restaurant, auto shop etc. offline. For businesses that are able to capitalize on local search, this means more foot traffic and more in store conversions.

Local searches can have either explicit or implicit intent. A user who specifies the area they want a search engine to pull results from defines a search with explicit local intent. Examples of this are “Hair Salon Near Me” and “Car Dealership in San Diego”

Alternatively a search with implicit local intent means the search engine knows you are looking for a local result and the algorithms determine the most relevant and useful results are nearby businesses. Examples of searches with implicit local intent are “24/7 Locksmith” and “Best Italian Restaurant”.

Win More Customers with Local SEO

Local searches are growing 50% faster than mobile searches; getting ahead of this trend and creating an effective local SEO strategy is vital if you want to retain current customers and drive new customers through your doors. From a business's point of view, local search is all about showing up as one of the top local results when customers in your area are searching your keywords with local intent. Knowing the difference between mobile and local search and how each type of search influences the SERP is very important in terms of optimizing your business's listings.

After searching on Google, 76% of mobile shoppers have changed their mind about which retailer or brand to purchase from. Whether it is on their desktop computer, tablet or mobile device, more and more consumers are turning to search engines and local search as a way of researching and vetting local businesses prior to visiting them. As the photos below show, when consumers perform a local search the search engines pull in local business listings or local packs with brick-and-mortar locations that make it simple for users to compare their options side by side.

      IMG_0133.png                YahooSearch.pngWith local search results like these, your competitors and your brand’s reputation are on center stage. Consumers have easy access to all the real customer opinions, ratings and reviews they need to make a decision on which brand to purchase from.

Not only are consumers using local searches as a tool for vetting brands before making a purchase, butover 50% of them are turning to their mobile devices to find a local answer when they encounter what Google calls the “I-want-to-know”, “I-want-to-do” and “I-want-to-buy” moments. By delivering fast, accurate and actionable information directly to the hands of consumers, search engines are creating a reliable solution for the consumer with “on-the-go” needs. With 78% of local online searches ending up in an offline purchase, it is imperative that your business isn’t just showing up as one of the top mobile results, but as one of the top local results as well.

Search engines want to recommend the most relevant and trustworthy businesses to their users. This means that staying on top of your brands reputation and optimizing your business listings for local search go hand in hand. Do you want to better manage and improve your online reputation? Want to take advantage of the growing trend towards local search and drive more customers into your stores? Schedule a FREE consultation with one of our local SEO and Reputation Management experts today!

Topics: Local Search, Local SEO, Mobile

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