The Ghost of Local Search Present from the Future

Local search marketing’s past, present, and future may not all be the same. But as a search marketer, that’s the interesting part of watching the local landscape evolve. According to BIA/Kelsey’s (www.bia.com and www.kelseygroup.com), 97% of consumers (nearly all!) use online media when researching products or services in their local area. It’s no wonder that marketers are recognizing the growing similarities and importance of optimizing for organic SEO and local search. In 2014, they will continue to grow in influence, especially for local businesses.

Reaching Out to Location-Based Consumers

A recent infographic reveals how location-based data is more useful for bringing brands to a shopper’s attention. There are different tactics to use for delivering targeted mobile offers, such as sending brand or product-centric suggestions to shoppers’ phones as they browse. For example, if you’re shopping at a Westfield Mall, you could get coupons or offers on your phone as you pass certain department stores. Pretty cool and useful!

Currently only about 23% of marketers use location-based data in their current mobile efforts. But we can certainly expect those numbers to grow. Check out the infographic here.

micro-location

Come Up with a Solid Plan

For local businesses, the most crucial part is to establish a standardize plan for local search marketing. You can read more here but it can be easy as coming up with a 3 step plan.
1) Identify your local market opportunity
2) Optimize business listings For accuracy & consistency
3) Optimize, publish & distribute
Standardization, spreadsheets and persistence will be your best friends when working on local SEO efforts. Even though marketers recognize that this can be the hardest part of local search marketing, it’s a surprise that 46% of participants admin that they don’t use any NAP tactics. Check out more of the results below.

What Do Other Marketers Think? And What Can You Expect?

If you haven’t sign up for InsideLocal’s webinar series here. The results of their recent survey are as below:

– 62% of participants said that local search marketing is getting harder
– 32% say that review generation and reputation management are the most difficult parts
– 28% say that citation and link building are hardest
– 49% say they have made changes to their strategy (due to Google’s changing algorithm for displaying local results)

Moving Forward

Local search might have been on the bottom rung of importance in the past, but it’s definitely been proven that you can’t forget about the local factor nowadays. As with all aspects of online marketing, local businesses in less competitive areas can benefit more from local SEO (with less effort), than their counterparts in large, highly competitive areas. For example, a plumber in a small town can skyrocket to the top of local search with little on-page optimization and just by using the city in the title tag. Whereas a locksmith a big city will have to compete with more aggressive tactics and competitors.

The interesting part of local search is that there are so many different case studies where several factors are tested. Even though correlation isn’t causation, it can certainly help us get one step closer to doing things right in order to show up on local and organic search results.

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