Local SEO – Marketing for small and local businessesFewer and fewer consumers go shopping on a whim these days. Instead, they inform themselves in advance on Google, where there is the largest selection, the best offer and the lowest price. More and more often, this is done not on the home computer, but on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. In fact, people do not search exclusively for offers from web stores. The vast majority of consumers also use the Internet to search for local merchants.
Among users who use search engines on mobile devices, 88 percent are. This was the result of a study by the Internet giant Google. The way to win these people as customers is through Local SEO: search engine optimization from the point of view of local industry search.
Local SEO catches the customer right at the store's doorstep
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a central element in online marketing. Successful SEO results in a website being listed in the top 10 hits for search queries. A top ranking on the first search results page promises more page views, higher conversion and therefore more sales. Everything that does not land in the top 10 is generally not noticed, not clicked on, not bought. Relevant for SEO measures in Germany is also only one search engine: Google. After all, the U.S. giant is the clear market leader of all search engines with a market share of around 90 percent. For comparison: According to seo.united, Yahoo's market share in Germany in 2015 was just 1.66 percent.
A whole industry of SEO service providers has now developed. And in contrast to many other marketing instruments SEO is very efficient, because also with a relatively small budget effects can be obtained. So also small and medium-sized enterprises can contribute with SEO measures to achieve economic success. A small retailer is therefore not per se inferior to a large company in terms of search engine optimization.
Google's algorithm for local industry search
Google recognizes the appropriate search queries (such as "Greek restaurant", for example) or "bookstore") that local hits are more relevant to users. The Internet giant has therefore adapted its search algorithm. Outputs localized search results. The hit list shows providers in the vicinity then higher up in the search results. Local SEO helps the search engine to recognize when one's own web presence is particularly relevant to a search query.
This is how simple Local SEO works
For successful Local SEO, only two prerequisites are needed. On the one hand, the company should have its own website. On the other hand, one should list one's company at Google my Business.
The most important characteristics of a website for Local SEO are as follows:
– The site must support all devices – especially mobile devices (smartphone, tablet). Smartphones are the sales drivers par excellence in Local SEO. – The page title should show the company name, the industry and the location, for example "Modeschmuck Maier Dusseldorf". – Contact information (name, address, phone number) should be placed prominently on the home page and on important subpages. This data should also appear in consistent spelling in as many mentions of the company as possible on other websites (for example, industry portals). – Short loading times, appealing visuals and ease of use increase the chance of a long time spent on the site as well as relevant content. The higher the quality of the content, the better it is for users and the search engine.
The second requirement is the free registration of the company on Google My Business. Opening hours, contact data and product images can be posted on the platform. Important: The data must always be up-to-date. The company entry in Google My Business then appears with a link to the website in local searches.
Local industry search takes place online
The extent to which Local SEO directly increases sales is evidenced by the 2014 Google study on local consumer search behavior mentioned above. According to the study, four out of five users search for local providers on the Internet. When searching from a home computer, the conversion rate is 86 percent. Among smartphone users, as much as 88 percent.
High conversion rate for mobile search queries
The conversion rate is the ratio of the number of people reached by marketing measures to the number of people who actually become customers. 50 percent of users who search for a local service provider or retailer via their smartphone come to the store within one day. 18 percent of mobile searches actually lead to a purchase. By contrast, the conversion rate for a search from a home computer is only 7 percent.
Customers search for stores and service providers on the go
This high conversion rate can be explained primarily by the aspect of where smartphone users search from. The majority (51 percent) do so while on the move – on the bus, in the subway, the commuter train, in the car. 56 percent of these search queries have a local connection. Consumers are therefore regularly already on their way to store when they start their search. Proximity promises customers quick satisfaction of needs. Through low effort ultimately a good price. 41 percent of smartphone users still search even when in the store. And interesting for all entrepreneurs for whom business travelers or tourists form an important customer group: 25 percent of search queries start at hotels, 20 percent at airports.
Address and phone number are the most important information
Users consider the most important information for their search query to be the address, opening hours, telephone number, information about the availability of goods and the route to the store. Smartphone users also favor a "call button" that can be used to make a call directly.
Consumers today look for local information. Anywhere, anytime, anyplace. And they do so on the Internet. If you deprive potential customers of the chance to be found as a company, you have a clear competitive disadvantage. Local SEO is an inexpensive way for small and local businesses to stand up to the marketing campaigns of big companies. To attract new customers, it is also more efficient than tried-and-tested measures such as advertising in broadsheets or yellow pages.