YES. WE SURE THINK SO.
It’s amazing how often we run across businesses that aren’t utilizing the power of search engines and indexes. No listings at all, incorrect information, or no maps presence in a world where over 70% of consumers use online information prior to making a purchase. A recent study* by Netsertive demonstrated the importance of having a presence across as many channels as possible. For example,
“68% OF THE 500 U.S. CONSUMERS SURVEYED SAID THEY USE GOOGLE TO EVALUATE LOCAL BUSINESSES, AND 40% SAID THEY USE FACEBOOK FOR LOCAL STORE RESEARCH, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE BUSINESS SELLS ONLINE OR EVEN HAS A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE.”
PEOPLE ARE RESEARCHING EARLY AND OFTEN
Today, people look to their phones for almost everything—from booking a restaurant to browsing for a new jacket, to learning about their digital banking options. They are looking for ideas and advice, researching every decision they make—no matter how small.
HOW TO BE VISIBLE IN LOCAL SEARCH
1. CREATE OR CLAIM BUSINESS LISTINGS
Google and Bing, the top search engines on the planet both offer Business Listing services. Once these listing pages have been optimized correctly, you start showing up in local search packs, maps, and recommendations. People using their computers, phones, and voice services can find you based on location and search queries.
2. GET REVIEWS
Ninety-two percent of customers say third-party reviews are more trustworthy compared to advertising. Having a large number of reviews improves your store’s search ranking. Encourage your customers who have had a good experience to use Google for their reviews.
3. OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE
Google’s algorithms now take into account a website’s mobile-friendliness, page load speeds, installation of SSL Certificates, and more. If you truly want to compete for space on search indexes, these are things that are must-haves.
4. LEVERAGE DIRECTORY LISTINGS
Directory listing and review sites like Yelp & YP have strong online presences and can often help get you on that first page of search engines. Also, linking them to and from your website can help get you backlinks and boost your SEO.
5. EMBRACE SOCIAL MEDIA
79% of all online US adults use Facebook and they’re not just posting memes. They’re looking for recommendations from friends, using the search bar in similar ways to Google, and checking out reviews. Facebook business pages are a must-have in 2018, period.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In 2018 your potential clients and customers are searching for services online more than ever. They’re using maps for directions, asking Siri for recommendations, and being served results based on location and interests. How you stand out from your competition is determined by several factors, local search presence being one of them. It may be time consuming and often frustrating for some to create and manage all of these pages, listings, and profiles… however, for nearly all business owners it can be the difference between month over month sales increases and “the struggle is real“.