Last month we highlighted how Local Search has become SEO for many businesses and industries where the search engines have deemed specific keyphrases used by the person conducting an online search as having “local intent”. In this blog post we will highlight some of the more effective strategies that influence users to contact a business because of the Local Search conversion optimization that the business has done in Google, Yahoo or Bing.
How People are Using Search Engines to Search for Local Businesses
Most people use a search engine to research local providers of a product or service even if the transaction will be done in the store or local place of business.
Local accounts in Google, Yahoo and Bing typically have the correct business name address and telephone number listed if the account listing has been verified by the business owner. I am always amazed however at the number of business listings that are still not claimed or verified by the business owners. While it is now well known how poorly Google has been keeping up with business owners’ requests to correct their business information, many business owners are simply unaware that they have a Local listing online in the search engines.
While it is critically important that the basic information in the Local listing is correct, there are other optional informational components that should be added to your Local listing that have a significant influence on the searcher to encourage them to contact your business. Even if this additional information is on your company website, it still needs to be placed on the Local listing as well because the searcher may not go to your company website to get key information on your company. They will simply look at your Local listing in the search results as well as the Local listings of all your competitors in the same search results. A lot of information can be contained within the Local listing.
How US Marketers are Optimizing Their Local Listing
A MarketingSherpa survey in April 2011 found the following tactics used by U.S. Marketers in their Local listing:
As you can see, more than half of all businesses are missing opportunities to add more information to their Local listing. Some of the key “missed opportunities” that may prevent your target market from contacting you from your Local listing include not using images and coupons. Images can have a significant impact on conversion rates (percentage of people contacting you or coming into your place of business).
According to BrightLocal, 37% of U.S. Google searchers looking for a local business reportedly give companies more attention or consideration when their search listings contain business images or a company logo. It was determined that 23% were more likely to contact a business when presented with such images.
Coupons and other incentives also have a significant impact on conversion rates. While not every local business offers incentives, it is expected in certain markets such as restaurants, retailers, hospitality and entertainment.
All businesses should set up and optimize their Local listing account. The search engines are dominating the market that people are using to find who they want to do business with in the near future. Those who move quickly to optimize their Local search engine accounts will generate the most qualified leads and sales.
Contact Xcellimark for help in getting your Local listing account optimized for conversions.