If you’re a local business owner, who hasn’t yet made the transition to trade online, you’re about to learn why you need to adapt to amp your business revenue up to the next level.
Search engines are continually adapting their search results to better match consumer demand with the local business services their users are looking for online. That’s not just from home computers either. There’s all sorts of mobile apps that are being adapted to search results as well.
Imagine yourself out for a night on the town. It’s been a busy night. Big crowds. You try to get a taxi to come and pick you up and take you home. The service you normally use is fully booked. You need another service to come and get you.
You pull out your iPhone, Blackberry or whatever mobile device you have with Internet access on it. Load up a search. (A lot of phones default to the Google search engine, as that’s compatible with nearly every mobile device)
You would search for something like:
Taxi service in Conway Fl
…or you might even type in the full word Florida.
The results you get on the front page will be from those companies using methods to let the search engines know about their business, where they are located and a bit of information on each of the services available. It’s how they are getting Google to tell people online about where to find them and what they do etc.
Now, think of yourself as a taxi service company in that area who hasn’t adapted to the new way of modern technology. You’re still relying on people knowing your telephone number from business cards and local ads around the area.
You’d be losing business left, right and center!
Granted, this example is for a taxi service in a local area. Chances are, you have a different type of business. Maybe a local grocery store, an accountancy, a dental practice…whatever type of business you have, think of someone living around your neighborhood and what they would type into a search engine to find the service you have. People find companies around you like this all the time!
Chances are, there’s going to be services around your area or in close proximity to you that can meet those new clients from the search term they put into Google to find them. That’s more business you could have.
It’s called local SEO (local search engine optimization). It’s a fancy way of saying you have your business listed in the search engines for your new prospects to find you.
When you search for nearly all local services, you’ll find a lot of business listings. These are called local citations. They’re part of local SEO strategies, which are implemented for business owners, helping people know where to find them. It’s how businesses are generating new leads and clients everyday. (The ones who have adapted for online marketing anyway.)
There are a few things that you can do yourself, to get your company noticed online. Using your business name on social media websites is one way that you can let your customers know about your service. You can also brand that social media account to your business across most of the offline media channels.
That’s also part of an optimization campaign, which involves local SEO. Not the whole of it though. There’s a lot of things that need to be done to make sure that search engines recommend your business to searchers looking for the service or product that your company provides.
Social media was mentioned earlier as that’s an integral part of a local SEO campaign. It helps to verify the legitimacy of your company. Search providers like Google use the social signals from your customers actions online as a way to gauge the pages they show on the top positions for any given search terms.
A local SEO campaign is carried out using various techniques to ensure that when a potential customer searches for your companies service on a search engine site shows up on the front page results they see.
If you’ve ever searched for anything on Google before, you’ll probably know the degree of relevancy you place on the sites which are shown to you.
When’s the last time you had to go to page 2 of a search query if you didn’t find a match initially?
If you haven’t, try it!
Chances are high that your search is going to have an interesting result based on your search term.
Why do I say “interesting”?
Because built right into that search is a function that lets users see what their friends are recommending. This has only just been rolled out and it’s one way to ensure that you get your business to the very top of that page – by having your customers let their friends and families know about their experience with your company.
The results are both relevant and personalized to tailor the search to the person looking for the information, by letting their friends tell them that they liked your service. It’s word of mouth marketing integrated into the online marketplace.
Word of mouth marketing happens offline, but it’s not always a suitable time to mention.
Sometimes people could be discussing a service they used a long time ago. That’s only with one person. It’s not likely for someone to go around telling as many people as they can how they enjoyed a service from x company. It happens when people ask.
Nowadays, Google is the place where people are asking about services they are needing and products they are considering buying. So they search for it there. It doesn’t matter that it’s been a long time since their friend spoke about it. Through local SEO, your company gets listed there with a personal recommendation from your previous customers experience. The search results are personalized to each individual user.
Do you think that result might peak your interest a bit more now that your friend is recommending it to you?
Probably. It certainly makes a business listing stand out more.
The personalized search results are done through a new roll out that Google has initiated to help local businesses get more customers from online search. It’s taking word of mouth marketing from around your community and placing that same principle into the online marketplace where friends are recommending businesses they’ve tried.
This is why local SEO is something offline businesses need to get themselves not only noticed online, but recommended through word of mouth too.