Once upon a time there was this book with 1,000’s of pages in it. It was completely free and delivered to your house “automagically” when a new one came out. Everyone searched there first when they needed to find something. Yes, I am talking about the YellowPages. Businesses could take out a 1-page advertisement, sit back, and wait on the phone to start ringing off the hook. Weren’t those the days? If only things were still that way. The complexity of getting people to find your business was so much easier.
Today, the equivalent of the YellowPages is a strong online presence. People go to Google now when they need to find something. Yes, those other two search engines, Yahoo, and Bing, still exist. Google owns 95% of the search market share, though. The last time you wanted to find a local pizza place, what did you do? Did you go from door-to-door asking everyone where they would recommend? Did you call all your friends and ask them? No! You probably searched on Google and picked the one with the best reviews. Your target market does the exact same thing to find the products and services they are searching for.
What is “Local” SEO?
Local SEO is the act of optimizing your business’ website, Google My Business listing, etc. so that it shows up when someone near your business searches for your products and/or services. Local SEO places a large focus on geo-modified searches. For example: If I live in San Diego, CA, and I want to find a dog trainer, I will probably search for something like “Dog Trainer in San Diego, CA” or “Dog Trainer near me.” Google will then look at what pages and business listings it has in its index that is most relevant, trusted, and popular for that area. It uses your IP address when on Desktop and your GPS location when you are on mobile to guesstimate where you are. Then, it shows only results relevant to that area. There are very specific ways of getting Google to understand where your business operates, and when it should show your business to someone searching for a keyword related to your products and/or services. We call the area at the top of local searches just beneath the ads “local map results”, the “3 pack”, or the “snack pack.”
Mobile Search vs. Desktop Search
In 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches for the first time in history. Most of our clients find that 60% or more of their website visitors are on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Why is this important? Mobile search results are a little different than desktop results.
See how the mobile results only show “Call Now” and don’t even show the website anymore? (That may change tomorrow, but that is a whole different story.) Bottom line…if you are not listed in this area, you are going to lose out on most of the traffic searching for your products/services.
Google My Business Isn’t Enough Anymore
Did you know that for most searches, if your website is not properly optimized, you will not show up in the local map results at all? Gone are the days where someone can slap together a Google My Business page and get you listed in the 3 pack! It still happens on rare occasion, but Google has changed their local search algorithm to factor in the authority, expertise, and trust they place in your brand. That is why it is so important to have Local SEO experts handling your online presence.