One of the great things about a search engine like Google is that it really makes the world feel a lot smaller than it really is. With the advent of modern technology, the sum total of all knowledge is essentially at our fingertips at any given moment. If you have a question, you can answer it in a second.
If you want to learn more about a topic, you can do so just as quickly. If you’re a consumer who wants to connect with a brand, you can do so from any location on planet Earth with an active Internet connection.
As a result of that last point in particular, marketers had a penchant to go “bigger and farther” with their campaigns than ever – especially at the turn of the century.
Fascinatingly, though, things have slowly shifted in what is essentially the opposite direction. It’s no longer about connecting your brand with the largest possible audience. These days, the right audience is much more important – meaning, those people who actually live and work in the physical areas you’re operating in.
Because of that, local search for small businesses has become the new norm – and if you really want to take advantage of this trend and boost your web traffic, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
The Power of Local Search
Maybe the most important thing to understand about local search for small businesses has to do with just how effective it really is. Consider any of the following statistics:
- According to one recent study, there has been a 900% growth in people searching for phrases like “near me,” “tonight” and “today” in the past two years.
- As of today, about 46% of ALL searches on Google have a local intent.
- A full 78% of people who make local searches on mobile devices end up purchasing – either in-store or online – from that brand.
Someone in Cleveland searching for home electronics is less interested in that major national retailer based out of California these days.
They’re much more interested in a business that exists right in their own backyard. Taking advantage of local search means taking advantage of that – which, of course, requires you to leverage a few important techniques.
Now is the Time to Go Small
When you sit down with a flyer maker like Visme (which I founded) to design a piece of collateral that you know is going to be seen by a local audience, you likely make choices that are a bit different from the ones you would make if that same flyer would be seen by people all over the world.
You’d include different language and make different decisions in terms of design and even what information you provide, in an effort to appeal to as many people as you could.
With local search, however, you need to be thinking about things like your website and blog post in the same way you would when you use a business card maker or something else where the collateral will be aimed at a smaller audience.
If you have a blog, write about local stories that matter. Even something as simple as making sure your site includes
- your contact information
- your hours
to your store will go a long way towards making that local impact. If you use a service like Respona to find influencers to boost your brand’s message, don’t go after just anyone. Go after people who already have the ear of your niche, local audience.
In a lot of ways, it can be helpful to pretend that the Internet isn’t actually as big as it is – which is something that Google seems to be doing, as well. Instead of assuming that anything you post will be seen by people across the globe, you should instead focus your perspective inward.
Keep creating content geared towards the people who are actually likely to drive by your store or stop in out of curiosity. What do THOSE people want to hear? What information are THEY looking for? What choices can you make to get THEIR attention?
If you start creating collateral with the answers to those questions in mind, local SEO will absolutely boost your web traffic – and your revenues – before you know it.