The thing you’re searching for may be closer than you think.
Buy local. Eat local. Support local businesses.
Within the last few years, there’s been a notable resurgence of local commerce—an emphasis on promoting community and harnessing the resources we have at hand. It’s a noble pursuit, often challenging the facelessness of mega-corporations and bringing visibility back to small businesses.
And Google is leading the charge.
As we’ve previously mentioned on our blog, local search is quickly becoming the standard for both mobile and desktop. As individuals continue to ask questions - and the power and ubiquity of smartphones continue to rise - so too has the influence of local solutions.
Sound like marketing jargon? Here’s an easy visual:
You pulled something in your back recently and it hurts. You reconcile that you need to find a chiropractor. There’s a good chance—and by good, we mean 87%—that you’re going to type in “chiropractors in [your city]”. You’re not thinking in terms of chiropractors in the world, in the U.S., or even in your state. You’re looking for chiropractors within just a few miles of you—and good ones at that.
The Local Search Market is Growing...Fast
In a March 2017 study, marketing research company Burke partnered with the Local Search Association (LSA) and put together a report using a survey of U.S. Internet users. What they found was both surprising and compelling.
They discovered that when consumers searched for local products and services…
- 80% of respondents considered using a search engine to be their top choice
- 80% said they had used a search engine within the last week
- 37% considered search engines to be their most trusted source
- 32% determined search engines to be the most accurate
- 24% found search engines to be their preferred source when ready to purchase
It’s becoming evidently clear that consumer behavior is changing dramatically, shifting further and further into the digital space as these stats continue to grow.
Understanding a Shifting Digital Landscape
In December of 2002, Google released what we now know today to be Google Shopping. It focused on merchant-submitted product prices and was monetized through AdWords advertising. In 2012, this digital product took a shift and instead began listing products, prices, physical locations, and company websites in exchange for a listing fee.
Today, you can look through Google Shopping, type in “sunglasses for men,” and be immediately taken to a shopping grid of all sunglasses for men, their prices, and any physical locations within your immediate area where they can be purchased.
Through Google algorithm updates like Pigeon in 2014, retail commerce is gradually shifting to the digital landscape.
It makes sense when you consider these stats:
82% of smartphones users use a search engine when looking for a local business
92% of those who searched on their phone made a related purchase
50% of consumers who performed a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who performed a search on a desktop computer or tablet did the same
All of which points to an increasing reliance on smartphones to find solutions to our daily needs and questions.
With that understood, the question then becomes…
What Does This Mean for Small Businesses Moving Forward?
In short, adaptation is key. Given that local search is rising quickly as the standard of consumer search behavior, businesses large and small should prioritize their website optimization with an emphasis on local SEO.
Regardless of size, the philosophy of any business moving forward should be to provide quality products and services to those in their area—and marketing themselves thusly. In Google’s Pigeon update, there was a notable shift in the way local businesses were ranked. This change placed a heavy focus on a business’ user reviews, relevance, and proximity, meaning that only the closest and most popular businesses have the potential to make it into Google’s coveted 3-pack--the three organically generated local listings that appear with the map in the search results.
Here are 3 tips to remember about local marketing:
1. Take control of your online presence and make sure all information about your business is accurate (your business name, address, hours, telephone number, website URL, etc.).
2. Reach out to other local businesses for opportunities to form real relationships within your community.
3. Manage your online reputation as much as possible. A 4-star review can move even the most skeptical, while a 2-star can send the most optimistic running before you ever get a chance to meet them.
Untangling the importance of local SEO optimization can be a tall order, but its prevalence in the realm of search is here to stay.
At Scorpion, we’ll take on the heavy lifting, helping you navigate the intricacies of Internet marketing so you can focus on what’s truly important:
Growing your business.
Contact Scorpion today to find out how a shift in your local SEO strategy can bring you more business from the Internet.
Cameron Kennerly is a Copywriter at Scorpion where he writes content educating businesses large and small on the best practices of digital marketing. With a focus on improving online presence through SEO, PPC, and inbound marketing, his works are geared towards increasing customer acquisition, retention, and facilitating long-term, sustainable growth.
Cameron holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Humanities from Florida State University. When out of the office, he enjoys reading, writing, watching movies and getting outdoors.