When it comes to Google-focused SEO, local searches have never been more important. Data presented by the Google Ads & Commerce blog reveal an 80% surge in searches using ‘+local’ as part of the search terms. Furthermore, searches looking for specific stock, highlighting the customer’s need to find a locally accessible location, have risen by an astonishing 8000%. This shows that local search is more important than ever when it comes to a cogent SEO strategy. However, much like every other area of the digital world, local search has changed.
Many businesses have moved to work completely online. This would appear to remove the need for local-based listings – after all, if everything is digital, surely the business cannot have a local presence? In late 2020, Moz asked the question of Google experts, who answered that if you still provide a local service, it is routine to be listed locally and have a local presence – for instance, as a home working business. A good way to approach this is through the advice of a local SEO company: finding expertise in your local area and fine-tuning your approach to digital local search is a great place to start, and can help to inform your further strategy and development of your SEO plan.
The past year has also seen huge growth in the amount of mobile local searches. Data analyzed by Neil Patel reveals a 50% growth in the number of searches through this method, and this reveals another aspect of customer behavior – the ability to roam. The use of mobile local search indicates that customers aren’t necessarily just looking for business from their home in the corner of their local area: they’re moving around, and looking for services on-the-go. In order to take advantage of this, it’s important that your local listings and search data are tailored to the full range of potential customers, and not just your own home community – let newcomers to the area find your business too.
Local search to growth
An interview in marketing mag The Drum with an SEO expert, Miracle Inameti-Archibong revealed some interesting points about the local sale. Chiefly, customers are more willing to go local, and that doesn’t just mean physical business – digital business will come within their search net on every attempt to find custom. Part of this reveals what the business should be doing – focusing on the customer, rather than entirely on Google parameters. While the algorithm isn’t always perfect in representing market needs, it has been remarkably accurate of late. Going for a customer-focused strategy, and looking to retain the custom of those who have moved to local search and purchasing, is a key way to grow your business in 2021. Inameti-Archibong recommends being loud, and optimizing your message and how you communicate the benefits of your product.
The real change in local search is its popularity. Consumers are looking to use local businesses more and more, and this is an opportunity. Optimizing SEO is as much about looking to satisfy their needs as it is the intricacies of the algorithm.