It's common for "main street" business owners to rely on their local network, chamber of commerce associations, and social media to "get their name out there" in the community. And in many towns and industries, it works. But if your business doesn't have a local search marketing plan in 2023, your company is going to be invisible to a large segment of your target audience.
Fact: Many Consumers Want to Support Local
While studies show that consumers are moving from buying in-store to home shopping, the same studies show that about 49% of consumers want to buy from businesses with a local presence. Local search engine positioning, listings in smart phone results and voice search, and trust-building content will play a significant role in the number of prospects who find your business in 2023 and become customers.
In 2019, Think With Google recognized the value of local search marketing for local businesses and the association with mobile devices. Keep reading to review the changes that Google has implemented to improve search results on mobile devices and the tools they offer to small business owners.
The Growth of Local Searches on Smartphones
- "Near me" mobile searches grew 136% YOY.
76% of people who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a physical place within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches resulted in a purchase.
- Google launches local pack ads on mobile.
- 78% of holiday shoppers who visited a store turned to an online search before going into a store.
- Google Business Listing Update: Image focused local packs with carousels containing reviews, images, and updates from local businesses began appearing in mobile searches.
2020 - Today
- 63% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps offer them relevant recommendations on products they may be interested in.
- Mobile usage now makes up almost 60% of global web traffic.
- In 2021, 53% of holiday shoppers in the U.S. said they check online to ensure a product is in stock before going to the store to buy it.
- From 2020 to 2021, Google Maps searches for "shopping near me" have grown globally by more than 100% year over year.
And finally, consider these two mobile device milestones:
Black Friday 2022 marks the year that half of all online sales during Black Friday came from mobile devices.
Data from Shopify suggested that as much as 73% of DTC (direct to consumer) sales for smaller brands came from smartphones.
What can local search marketing do for YOUR business?
The answer to that question will depend on your industry, location, and competitors. But organic search engine marketing is the most cost-effective way to reach potential customers.
To determine the cost-effectiveness of digital marketing, businesses should focus on the cost-per-lead (CPL).
The Lead Generation Institute compiled the average cost-per-lead per marketing channel, and you can see that the average CPL for search engine optimization is $31.00. That figure varies by industry, but the data provides a benchmark for you to calculate and compare in your own business:
What should you do to optimize your website for local searches? First, recognize that search engine optimization is an ongoing campaign strategy that manages frequent algorithm updates, competitor updates, and digital assets.
Next, ensure these top five Local SEO pillars are complete:
1. On-Page Optimization for Local Content
Ensure title and meta-description tags contain geo-specific keywords on location landing pages.
2. Ensure Your Google Business Listing Profile is Complete
Complete all the fields, upload photos, videos, and a website address.
Create a strategy to encourage happy customer to leave reviews on your Google Business Listing.
4. Website Speed & Core Web Vitals
Use Lighthouse to evaluate the page load speed. Compare the ratings with Google's Core Web Vitals recommendations. Work with a developer to make adjustments to so the website meets the 75th percentile performance threshold.
5. High Value Local Listings
If you belong to local business organizations or groups, check the membership or directory page and look for a link back to your website. If there isn't a membership or directory page, ask about contributing a blog post or sponsorship opportunities in exchange for a listing.
A local search marketing checklist in 2023 is much longer than those 5 main pillars, but those will give you a good start. Once those items are implemented, make a note of the date and begin monitoring your website for local traffic activity. If traffic flatlines or doesn't grow at all, call in a local search engine optimization expert.
Never commit to a specific digital marketing tactic without evaluating your top competitors. A digital marketing competitor analysis will determine if competitors are growing their business through local search marketing, paid digital ads, social media, or something else. Submit your information below and we'll send you our competitor analysis template in Google Sheets.
Would you like to learn more about your business and local search options? Book a complementary Digital Marketing Session with Markelle.
Markelle Sargent HardenA leader in content strategy and digital marketing, Markelle has been helping digital marketing agencies and businesses identify, implement, and measure the ROI from marketing efforts for over 15 years. iHer advice and insights have been quoted by Content Marketing Institute, Search Engine Journal, CMS Wire, Databox, and Prowly.
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