Due to the location technology in smartphones, both social platforms and search engines will prioritise local results (the results closets to your device’s location at the time of search) over those that are further afield. In 2014 Google identified that 18% of Smartphone searches lead to a purchase that same day. It is increasingly important to optimise your marketing and online activities towards local results. Just because you do not sell online does not mean you cannot appear online. Having all your services listed or all your products online will give you the opportunity to appear for ‘near me’ searches.
Mobile is becoming an assistant to our thoughts, answering questions, satisfying needs and carrying out tasks for us as soon as the thought pops into our heads. In 2015 Google coined the phrase Micro-Moments when we reflexively turn to our devices to act on a thought.
At the end of 2016 Ipsos MORI on behalf of Deloitte discovered that 90% of Irish adults now have access to a smartphone, this means that information is on demand in the blink of an eye to over 3 million Irish consumers.
Not only does this highlight the need to be there for the Micro Moments, it also indicated the importance of local in the search environment. Smart Phones have location technology built in, a fact that we often overlook, however, this plays a major part in how local results play out.
The Value of E-commerce Locally
Some business owners feel that they don’t want to sell online or don’t need to because they have a physical shop. However, in my experience, this is not a good move. Google has identified that ‘near me’ searches have grown by 150% in the past two years and now users are expecting local results to happen without the ‘near me’ qualification. Searches including ‘open now’ or opening time-related searches have tripled in the past two years. If your products are catalogued on an e-commerce site, you gain the chance to expose your products to a wider audience, plus you increase your chances of appearing for search by potential customers in your area. You can even offer the option to click and collect (buy online and collect in store) as they may be passing your door soon.
However, you must back up your website with local optimisation. This means having your town or city keywords in title and descriptions for key pages. This helps you be found by the devices and Google combined for searches in your area. In addition to your website optimisation, you also need to claim your business with ‘Google My Business’ and optimise there too. This includes all your business data, public holidays and appealing images.
Best Practice With Google My Business Local Listings
With Google My Business there are a number of vital points. The address that you give must be the correct physical location of your business, so no PO Boxes or inconsistencies in your address. The address also needs to match those listed on your website so that Google will determine that you are providing accurate and real information. Your business category is also important, you need to ensure the closest match to what your business does – remember google users the words on your website to qualify and index your business into the correct categories and will use Google My Business info as well. Finally, remember that your business name must match on your website to the one on Google My Business if you are called “Gúna Deas Naas” and you call yourself “Gúna Deas Best Dresses Naas” this will push you down the rankings.
Just because you do not sell online does not mean you cannot appear online. Having all your sevices or all your products online will give you the oppertunity to appear for ‘near me’ searches.
Optimising for Local Business
- SEO for Local Results – adding your town or city name into your title and description tag will help you appear for local signals and will also display the location names on search results.
- Google My Business – One of the most important in my opinion, is to add your business location and phone number to Google My Business. This will give you an opportunity to appear first on google and also give the option for on the go searchers to simply click a button to reach you.
- Local Listing Opportunities – to boost your authority and local relevance, look out for opportunities to be listed on business and community sites. Look towards networking groups, local chambers of commerce, community pages and associations. Take the opportunity for a backlink and listing of your contact details.
- Yelp, Trip Advisor and review sites – Google also respects review sites and local listings to help you rank higher in the search. Claim your business and take advantage of the backlinks.
- Facebook & other social media – On facebook ensure you have your location, contact and opening times available. Reviews and recommendation are viral on social media and you will gain the opportunity to be tagged, reviewed and recommended locally by others that have been involved with you. Also, make sure you add your location to relevant posts.
- Advertising – It is highly important that we understand this ‘on demand’ searching and take the time to also target our advertising to those that are expecting local results. Take note of the advertising options such as ‘people living in this area’ or ‘people travelling to this area’.
There are four types of Micro-Moments and you need to establish which of these are relevant to your business and therefore what tasks, content and information you need to advertise.