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Embracing local search

It is often quoted that “one third of all searches are local searches” and “95% of Smartphone users perform local searches” but what exactly is a local search?

Think about your own searching habits.

General Search: If you are looking at buying a new cell phone and you hear about the Samsung Galaxy S. One of the first things you may do is do some research by searching something like “Samsung Galaxy S reviews” or “Samsung Galaxy S specifications”. This search will return information about the phone and its capabilities.

Local Search: Now once you have done your research and decide this is the phone for you and you want to buy one. Your next search is would be something like “Samsung Galaxy S Adelaide” or “Samsung Galaxy S Melbourne” depending on where you live. This is a local search, including a location in your search.

Some key statistics about smartphone users

Source: Google “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” 2011

Reading the following statistics we can see just how important local searches can be to business and the need to embrace both local search and mobile technologies.

  • 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information
  • 9 out of10 searchers have taken action as a result of a smartphone search
  • 89% Use their smartphone throughout the day
  • 77% use search engine websites
  • 74% of smartphone shoppers made a purchase as a result of using smartphone

After accessing local content

  • 61% called the business
  • 59% visited the business
  • 58% looked up the business on a map and/or got directions

How to take advantage of Local Search

Step 1.

The  first question you need to answer is “Do i have a local business”? If your business is centered around people in your area or visiting your area then yes you have a local business. If your business is online based with no borders then local search is probably not for you.

If you answered yes then you need to direct your focus towards a local search.

Step 2.

The next step is to identify your local search phrases. You can use a tool like the Google Keywords Tool to help you decide what terms are best to target. With this tool you can see what people are searching for and get average numbers of searching a month.

Don’t fall for the chasing the big number searches either. For example if I have a restaurant on Main Beach in QLD’s Gold Coast and use the keyword tool I can see there are some 22,000 searches for “restaurants gold coast” where there are 1,000 searches a month for “restaurants main beach”. Initial thinking may be I will go after the larger number but in reality why, the Gold Coast is a large region, by targeting the more specific search of “restaurants main beach” I know that these 1,000 people are looking specifically for the direct area and competition for ranking is also going to be less.

Step 3.

Once you have identified your key search phrases (noticed I said phrases and not words) Now you need to optimise your website to suit. If you are not sure about this process contact me and I will happily let you know about my SEO services.

Step 4.

Get on Google Maps. It’s free and done properly you have a good chance of getting on page one of Google for your key word phrase. Here is a hint, try to incorporate the phrase into the title. Example. If your business name is John’s Party Supplies and you are targeting Party Supplies in Perth make your Google places title “John’s Party Supplies Perth”.

I have a guide on getting started with Google maps, if you contact me via the contact form on the site and ask for the guide I will email you a copy for free.

Step 5.

Go Mobile Friendly. Incorporate location based key phrases into your mobile website and make it easy for mobile customers to reach you because local information seeking is common among smartphone users and they are most ready to act on the information they find.

Review the earlier statistics. To keep up with today’s connected consumer you need to be mobile ready.

 

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