The importance of Local Search is growing
There are billions of searches every day. In the US alone there are well over 10 billion unique searches done each month and growing. Of those searches:-
- 40% of queries have local intent (and growing)
- 5% use the town/city and/or county name
- 2% use informal local terms
- 0.5% even use postcodes
Figures for the UK will not be too far behind.
And more Local Search is mobile search
Mobile searches are primarily going to pull their results from Local Search Engines.
The growing use, even in the UK, of increasingly sophisticated devices like the iPhone, iPad and internet enabled mobile phones is expanding and becoming more relevant and important for local businesses.
If you are a local business owner, either onliine or a bricks & mortar retailer you need to ensure your business is ready, registered, optimised and able to be found in Google Places.
Google now displays a mixture of both organic and Google Places results when a search is done including a local reference or term.
These local results are now displayed larger than before and appear near the top of the page pushing other results further down and in most cases onto page 2 (not where you want to be)!
The very first things you need to do are:-
- Claim your listing
If you don’t claim your own listing someone else might. They can and do!
Don’t think that having a Google Maps listing is enough. Your Google Places listing is different and has to be claimed as your own. Once claimed you can add and optimise the content.
- Write a good and accurate business description
A good keyword rich description is good for Google and potential customer looking for you. Knowing what keywords are being used and searched for is critical.
- Upload good product or location images
Good images of your shop, business premises & products encourage searchers to visit and provide credibility.
- Setup Google Webmaster Tools (if you have a website)
It’s important that Google knows what you want indexed and what not.
- Identify and register with the most appropriate local directories
Local links from other businesses and directories contribute to your Google Places ranking position.
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews
Once setup attracting reviews is an ongoing activity that needs to be undertaken. Reviews tell Google you are a real and an active business in your local area.
And, they tell potential customers what others think about you, your business and services. The more you have, the higher your rank is likely to be.
Testimonials and reviews for local exposure are increasingly important, what do you do to get customers or clients to give you a testimonial or leave a review? Would love to know, comment below.