When you’re looking for a bakery that sells freshly baked bread, someone who can repair your cracked screen on your phone, or your car is in need of a proper wash, what do you do? You take up your phone and Google it.
Your customers are no different in any way, when looking for a service or product that your business provides or sells, they go online to find out where to go.
Did you know that “near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years and that 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device result in either a call or visit the business within 24 hours?
Social media marketing has become one of the most important strategies within digital marketing. Businesses today spend endless resources and hours on various social media platforms. However, most businesses end up forgetting about one of the most important steps in digital and local marketing, optimizing their search rankings and presence on Google, in other words, doing local search marketing.
Googling (verb) to use the Google search engine to obtain information about someone or something on the internet.Oxford Learners Dictionaries
Local Search Marketing is anything you do on the internet to market and promote your physical business and applies to both enterprise brands, large chains, and single location businesses. Local search marketing is shortly defined as a type of search engine optimization that helps businesses appear in local searches, with the main goal being to show up in Google´s Local Pack.
What is local marketing?
Local marketing is quite simply, the strategy to market your product or service to a nearby audience. The potential customers that you are targeting are customers within a certain area close to your business.
It is no news that the use of smartphones to look up information online is on the increase. In fact, 97% of people learn about a local business online, and 88% of the searches result in a visit or a call to the business.
Your task as a business is to make sure that every inbound marketing touchpoint along the consumer journey, satisfies their needs of the searcher and result in a visit to your business. By making sure that your business shows up in the Local Pack, you make it much easier for potential customers to find and choose you.
Online and offline should not be seen as two different things, both are as important in the customer journey. Consequently, to truly understand and getting the most out of your local marketing strategy, you need to bring offline and online together.
46% of all searches on Google have local intent
Local search is when a person is searching for a business, product, or service near them or in a specific location. The search results display a list of three businesses below Google Maps that Google thinks are the best match for the searcher. These three listings make up the Local Pack on Google.
In fact, 46% of all searches on Google have local intent. Local intent means that the searcher is looking for services, products, or information specific to a location. Any business owner who intends to target a local audience should incorporate the Local Pack into your SEO strategy.
The Local Pack and your Google My Business profile is a valuable tool to strengthen your visibility online and engage with a local audience. Today, Google’s search algorithm is using the location of the searcher to show relevant businesses in the search engine even when the searcher does not include the search term “near me”.
Claim your local listing
One of the most important aspects of local marketing is your local listings online, Google My Business being the most important one. As mentioned, local listings are crucial when it comes to SEO. However, to appear in the search results on Google, you need to have an optimized Google My Business listing. Consequently, an optimized profile gives maximum visibility.
Ranking factors on Google
Google has a set of ranking signals that determine how high you rank in the search engine and in the Local Pack. Your profile does really need some effort to rank. The most important ranking factor is your Google My Business profile, not your webpage.
With this in mind, your Google My Business profile must be optimized in order for you to have the chance to achieve a top-ranking position. Truth is, that the more information your listing contains, the more likely it is that Google’s algorithm favors you in front of your competition.
To appear in the Local Pack, you need to make sure these things are updated in your profile:
- The location of the searcher
- NAP information
- The category of your listing
- Activity in the Google My business listing
- Keywords in the Google My Business listing
- Reviews and the star rating of the reviews
- Shares of the profile
A strong presence on Google and local SEO strategy is the key to driving more people to your store, whether you have a few hundred locations or just one.
Stay ahead and up to date with a specialised parter
Google My Business is evolving at a rapid pace, with new updates and features added almost every month. To constantly make sure you are up to date with the latest information, trends, and updates and at the same time make sure your profile is actively optimized and on point, can be a true challenge for digital marketers. You´ll easily find yourself doing nothing else than updating your Google My Business listings. Partnering up with a specialized partner will save you time and make sure that your listing stands out online.
Mobal is the first Helsinki-born startup purely focused on helping local businesses grow with Google. We are a creative, curious, and committed team, with expertise in digital marketing and strategy. We believe in sharing what we know and love in a meaningful and measurable way.