As a business owner, being found locally by your target demographic is vital to your success. In the past, advertising in local papers and the local listings was sufficient. Today, an increasing number of people are using their mobile devices to search for local businesses while on the go. A recent ISACA survey found that 58 percent of consumers with smart phones use location-based applications.
In order to reach your target demographic in the digital age, you’ll need to optimize your business’s web presence for local search. Work with your web designer to optimize your website for local search. This will include optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions for local searches.
You may also want to manage local review sites and local listings such as Google+ Local (Google Places). Finally, don’t forget to optimize your social networks for local search. Establishing an optimized web presence for local search isn’t easy and requires ongoing maintenance.
While you focus on building a strong local presence for your business online, keep in mind three important criteria: relevance, prominence and distance. Google uses these criteria to determine local search order in their ranking results.
Along with strengthening your website, review sites, local web listings and social networks, you may want to network with other local businesses. Build relationships with local bloggers. Every connection you can make to build up a local network will work to your advantage in terms of strengthening your online local presence.
With over 10 billion unique searches performed each month in the United States, the importance of local search is immense. Research indicates:
- 30 percent of searches have local intent
- 30 percent of searches include a city, state or zip code
- 82 percent of local searches end with an offline action
- 50 percent of all brick and mortar store purchases are preceded by an online search
Now is the time to optimize your business’s online presence for local search. If you’re ignoring the importance of local search, you’re losing business.
Are you reaching your customers through local search?