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Local Search 2024: It's time to commit.

Updated: Mar 12

Local Search

You own a business. Perhaps it’s a small floral shop. Maybe it’s a plumbing company with 20 trucks on the road. Maybe it’s a medical practice with three locations seeing hundreds of patients daily. While these are all very different businesses, they all have the same problem. You aren't the only provider of what you do in your local market.

Customers have options. More options than ever. Just think about the last time you did a “near me” Google search. Better yet, do one now. I did, and I scrolled through an endless list of “Pizza places near me”- all within 3 miles of where I live.

Let’s be honest. When the result of that “near me” search pops up on your screen, how long will you spend scrolling? Who are you going to click on first? Call first? The answer is that you’ll most likely contact the provider who shows up in one of the top three spots. They’ll have a great overall review rating over a good amount of reviews, and you’ll be able to explore their business through the content you find after clicking their listing.

Remember, the business you’ve built may provide outstanding customer service. You may offer the lowest price around. Of all the local businesses in your market that do what you do, you may be the undisputed leader in providing customers with something the world could use more of- value. But if you don’t show up in one of those top three spots when someone does a local search, you won't get the opportunity to show and tell them.

Local Search: How do you organically get to the top spot?

So how do you do it? How do you get to that top spot? This is where local search SEO (search engine optimization) enters the conversation. When done correctly, it will empower you to reach potential customers actively searching for products and services like yours in your local market. Let's take a look at some things to think about:

Fish Where the Fish Are

First and foremost (and as my grand-pappy says), “Fish where the fish are.” Google is the proverbial “big dog’ on the block. You’ll want to direct time and attention to claiming and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing. This is a free directory listing and will allow you to manage your business information across Google Search and Maps. Also, keep in mind that this will need to be updated regularly with relevant service information, imagery updates, and special offers. The reason? It keeps Google interested in you. To Google, the activity can make your business look more relevant, thus you have a greater chance of showing up in response to that customer's search.

Google My Business is Not the Only Online Director Out There

There are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across various online directories and websites. You’ve probably heard of some of them like Alexa, Facebook, Yelp, and Bing. However, there are over 100 more you haven’t. While you may you may not personally have use for them, Google does. Ensure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are identical across all of them.

Why is that important? Think about it this way. If one hundred people call you by your full name, there’s no doubt they're all talking about the same person. However, if some call you by your first, some by your middle, and some by your last, there may be some confusion in terms of who is being talked about. The same applies to your business in the eyes of Google. If all of these online directory pages are lined up with your correct NAP information, you’ll be more relevant to that Google search.

Online Reviews are High-Octane Fule for Local Search

There is no disputing their importance, as they act as your “online word of mouth”. Google puts tremendous weight on real-world customer experiences as they relate to a business. The more reviews you have, the better. Just look at the top businesses in the next local search you do. The businesses coming up first have a ton.

Ideally, you’re getting these reviews organically. Meaning, you provide such good service and value, that customers simply want to leave them, and do. That’s awesome. My advice is DON’T STOP THERE. You must make efforts to proactively grow your online review presence. There are several ways to do this that aren't very intrusive to your customer and will result in a noticeable increase. We will discuss this in a later blog.

Don't Ignore Other Online Directories

Lastly, the reviews that you have on your Google My Business (GMB) are critical. But don't ignore some of the other online directories that provide prominence to your business. These include Facebook and Yelp for example. You can practice what I call “review balancing”. See which platforms you need to grow your review presence on and enact a series of initiatives to grow them individually. Remember, you want a well-rounded review presence.

It's Time to Embrace Local Search

Bettering your position in local search is an ongoing commitment and process. Be prepared to alter your strategies and optimize your approach over time to maintain a dominant position within the local market.

If you’re ready to leverage the power of local search to effectively target your audience and achieve your growth goals, you may want to consider aligning yourself with a company experienced in guiding you through the process. If you need help getting started or want to chat more about it, we'd love to talk!


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