Is it Worth Investing in Local Search?
Online marketing is made up of a huge variety of different disciplines. Whilst you might view the top two as Search Engine Optimisation and Pay Per Click advertising, there are numerous sub-sections and other channels that can be explored.
Whilst variety may be the spice of life in some scenarios, it’s not quite the same when you’ve got limited resources and the success of your business is riding on making the right decision. Many online companies face the same dilemma. What should you target first, what can be ignored entirely, what needs to be include within a blended strategy? It’s not easy making these decisions.
Let’s take a look at one particular branch of SEO that is easy to overlook, but certainly shouldn’t be: local search.
I’ve discussed what local search is in the past; but as a quick refresher, it is essentially the practice of optimising a site to appear within localised search results. Therefore, if you’re a hairdresser in Southampton, then there’s a good chance that you’ll want to be seen by searchers within and near the city. Getting visits from Glasgow might be nice, but ultimately they are pretty useless.
This actually leads on nicely to the various pros and cons of local search. For instance, if you are an online only company with no brick and mortar stores, it may not be worth doing much in the way of exuberant optimisation. In fact, if you don’t want people visiting your premises out of the blue, then you might not want to do any at all.
However, the reverse is also true. If you’re a business that relies on local or passing trade, then you want to make sure that you achieve optimum visibility within a certain catchment area. If there’s little or no value in gaining worldwide attention, why work towards it? Local search, as a practice, can help you to draw in business that is relevant and will probably convert.
It doesn’t take too much to achieve this either. Setting up your business on Google Places is a good start. You can optimise your profile to include more information and ensure you appear in all the right search results. Every business should do this anyway, but it is particularly important for those operating in a local market.
Then of course you need to make sure that your site is contextually bound to a location. That sounds like pretty complicated stuff, but really it is just about including the local city or state within your content and adding the address to the footer of each page. Google can then be in no doubt who you are, what you do and where you are. If you want to be really clever, then why not add geo tags into the Meta. This basically integrates your coordinates, therefore pinpointing your exact position on each page.
The returns this can provide are huge. With people using mobile phones to search on the move and static users also searching in their region for specific services, you don’t want to get left behind. Just a few small changes can ensure you get seen every time.