The Power and Potential of Local Search

Think about how you use search engines (most likely Google) to find information about goods and services you are planning to purchase. Chances are, in most cases, your searches are local. Sure Amazon is a top consumer site when purchasing things, but since the pandemic and in a tight economy, there’s a growing interest in “buying local.”

The Popularity of Local Search

And, practically, many of the things that consumers need, they need to consumer locally. For instance:

  • Looking for a restaurant.
  • Searching for a doctor or other medical professional.
  • Seeking help with various home-related needs: a plumber, electrician, lawn services professional, cleaning service, etc.
  • Simply wanting to support the local community by buying whatever goods you possibly can from local retailers.

As HubSpot reports, “46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.” Obviously is you have a local business you’ll want to take advantage of this trend.

Google Knows!

Google’s primary business model from a search perspective is ensuring that people get the best results when they do a search for something online. They want to deliver relevant, useful, and high quality results and they spend a lot of time and effort tweaking their algorithms to just that.

When they detect that a search is for something local: “car washes open now,” for instance, they’ll deliver the local results first. The goal for businesses attempting to attract a local market is to appear in what is referred to as the Google Map Pack or Google Local Pack results. This is usually a set of three results at the top of the page next to a map that shows the locations of these companies.

These are the first listings that searchers will see and, better yet, they’re not ads so they’re considered to be more reliable by searchers. This is the holy grail for digital marketers – the place where they want to be.

SEO and Local Search

The first step here is to set up your Google Business Profile. But don’t do what many local businesses do. Don’t stop here. This is just one step in establishing a strong local search presence. In addition you will want to create content on your site that is detailed and specific to your local business and what it has to offer.

What you’re going for with your content is ensuring that your site offers information that is relevant to your target audience’s needs so that when they’re searching for whatever it is you have to offer, they’ll find you. This is part of search engine optimization, or SEO. It’s a practice that can be extremely complex. But, it doesn’t have to be.

A Practical Approach to SEO

I tend to “back into” SEO as a writer, starting first organically and simply writing for my audience – what are they interested in? what questions might they have? how can I provide value to them with whatever information I’m creating. Then I’ll go back to consider SEO based on client preferences/priorities.

In some cases this may simply mean optimizing for one or two keywords – in others a much more sophisticated process with a a long list of keywords and phrases that need to be incorporated into the text. Frankly, I haven’t seen evidence that the latter yields more value than the former!

Local Search Will Be Top Trend in 2023

I see local search as an SEO trend that is likely to continue in 2023, and beyond. Despite the fact that the internet and digital environment is global — and that many companies may serve a global market – local search is the fallback for the majority of consumers, especially in a post-pandemic, weak economy.

Consumers are increasingly interested in shopping local and, in many cases, their searches are related to local services – e.g., healthcare services, salons, household services, restaurants, etc. Even very large companies can, and do, invest in optimizing for local search, recognizing that this is how many searches originate – from restaurant and hotel chains, to brands like Jiffy Lube, Sports Clips, and many, many more.

If you’re targeting a local market, make sure that you’ve optimized your site to boost the odds that you’ll appear as part of the Google Map Pack. It’s the place to be in 2023.

 

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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