Read original article at https://rankforlocal.com
In 2021, many local businesses are moving online in a much more aggressive way than before. Restaurants are moving to Google My Business to sell their products and other platforms for delivery services. Many service-based businesses are also doing the same, even ones without a physical location. Stores are building out online-shops so they can sell inventory online and reach more customers. Everyone still has a product to sell and it’s important to use every platform to the fullest to grow its revenue. Not all of them are selling products online, some local businesses are actually selling their services through the help of PPC, local SEO, and Google My Business.
However, many business owners still think Google My Business and local SEO is not effective for their business. This is where we beg to differ. More important than ever is a businesses local presence, especially if you are a service based business, meaning you go to the customer and the customer doesn’t come to you.
In this article we will talk about some statistics you might like to know about which will make you believe that local searches are the best way to get traffic and increase sales for your business.
#1 Local Search Numbers are Growing
One of the most important questions that people have been waiting for is, “how many local searches happen every single month?”. For now, we will just consider Google. If you check the US data of Google for local search, there are more than 46% of local searches in 2019. The number is going to increase even more as 51% of the total businesses agreed to use the new methods to promote their local business after 2020.
#2 Local “Near Me” Searches are common
People are now taking great advantage of the “near me” feature. There are thousands of people who are looking for a physical store near them. This is the reason why the “near me searches” grew by more than 200% just in 2019. By the end of 2021, it’s predicted to increase more than double. This also includes the searches with the term “close by”. As both of them serve similar meanings, we have taken it as a whole. There is a really cool tool Ubersuggest we use with our agency where you can see this data for free and do a lot of other great research. Try typing in near me and then a service you may have recently purchased in Ubersuggest and look and see how many searches per month there are. For example from the screen shot below you can see the keyword phrase search “chiropractor near me” gets around 673,000 searches per month. If you are a chiropractor this would be a great keyword for your business to target on a web page.
#3 People still buy Offline
Few people are thinking that the online industry is dominating the offline world. Although indeed, people are now buying online, there are the majority of people who prefer offline mode of payment and purchase when they want to buy something. There are more than 78% of local searches that end up with the offline purchase and people actually calling or walking into a physical location. This includes all the searches which have location-based terms. This includes the terms that are searched by the area name, city name, near me, etc.
Source: SEO Tribunal
#4 Automation is the Key
According to research by Moz, there are more than 42% of companies have already adopted automated listing management. Our agency is a partner with BrightLocal and you can find us on the list of Top SEO Companies. We are able to submit listings and have them fixed there so that if your business changes it’s phone number or address this can update across multiple directory listings. There are lots of other citations out there that we build for our clients that are not on these data aggregators like Infogroup, Factual and others. Most of them prefer to go with the local SEO company that can build them out and then manage their listing as manual work is more efficient than automated tools. The listing management includes not just Google My Business but all the local listings made for the business. This increases the chances of discovery and visibility.
#5 Online Presence will help you even if you have Store
Did you know, if you have a physical store that is getting a lot of customers, you will still need an online presence? If you consider the last 6 months from writing this article, there are more than 80% of the total users are using a mobile phone when they are inside the store. This is not to chat with anyone on social media but to check the price of the products of the other stores or to simply check the reviews of the product. Some people even use the phone to know more specifications of that particular product. Therefore, if you are not having an online presence, you might lose some of these visitors. Whereas, having an online presence will bring you some of the customers without having to do the work.
Source: Outer box Design
#6 You don’t need a Website a Google My Business Listing is enough
No doubt, Local SEO will work great if you have a website but you don’t need one as Google My Business as well as Google Sites are now a great way to rank your business online. So you don’t have to spend thousands on a website, and you can still do the local SEO and get the most out of it. There are enough visitors who will come to your store just by seeing your local listing and Google My Business websites are professional enough. Don’t believe it? You might want to check out this stat. Research shows that there are more than 61.5% of the total desktop searches and 34.2% of mobile searches disappear without a single click on any of the websites, all you need is the Google My Business listing. These are the people who will search for a local store and when they find one, they won’t even bother to check the website of the store. They will either call the store or they will buy from the store directly by physically visiting that store.
#7 Mobile Website is Important
If you have a website or planning to make one, you want to make sure that it is mobile responsive and elements are easily laid out. The more you make your mobile website, the more search engines will favor your website and better navigation for your users and time on-page will help your rankings. However, people are more important than robots. There are roughly 39% of people who won’t contact the store owner or the store if they don’t have a mobile-friendly website and it’s not easy to navigate, elements too close together, slow speeds. So, if you are planning to have a website or already have one, it’s surely recommended to spend some time optimizing it for the mobile. We can help and have literally gotten some of our users amazing speeds in GTMetrix.
#8 Reviews Matter You Need To Get Them
Average users will spend roughly 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading the reviews and looking at competitors and normally pick a vendor that has the most positive. In this current year, genuine reviews matter the most and responses to those reviews matter to Google. People can easily detect whether the review is written is fake or real. So make sure you have a process with your business to get customers to leave a review, we do this with our agency by setting up a link on our customers websites with a direct link. You can use text messaging software now as well with many CRM platforms that will automatically send out a link to a customer cell phone after service for a review. Many of your clients will be happy to leave a review for you, especially if you service was amazing. Don’t be afraid to ask for the review, the only one you are inconveniencing is your business. Get those 5 star reviews by providing a quality service. Only 53% of people would actually consider buying from a business that has a less than 4-star rating.
#9 Even one Negative Review can Spoil the Game
Now, this might leave a negative impact on some people but here is one fact. Even if you have one negative review about your business, it will affect the business. There are 60% of the people who said their negative reviews forced them to postpone or change their buying decision from that particular store. So, don’t ignore them, try to work with the customer to see if you can resolve the service issue and get a better review. If the customer just will not work with you, then you need to just continue to do better to provide better service and get more positive reviews to push it down.
Source: Status Labs
#10 Accurate Locations
It’s important to have an accurate location when you are doing the Local SEO or when you are adding your local listing. Many people will buy from the nearest store when they want to. Most people won’t bother to go far to buy a product even if the store has extremely good reviews. More than 72% of the customers who made a local search visited the store within a few miles. By a few miles, we mean they traveled for less than 5 miles to get the items that they need. However, you can see this in reverse too. This is one reason why we recommend optimized Google My Business listings. On average only 28% of the people who will go more than 5 miles if they find the product they want and visit that location.
These are some of the local SEO stats that you can use to your advantage. If you keep in mind the market’s’ sentiments, you will surely succeed. So, make sure your listing, website, and business work just like people want.