Sometimes its necessary to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
And this is one of those times.
It will be painful, uncomfortable and I am almost certain that you will not enjoy it.
I have decided to do it anyway.
So here it is:
Local SEO: First things first:
As a local business you have been trying to sell your products or services to existing and new clients both in your local area and beyond.
A large percentage of your prospective clients will find what they are looking for by typing some search terms into GOOGLE either on a desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone.
A couple of years ago Google decided to improve user experience by changing the structure of the search results page that it displays to users who are searching for local businesses and products .
In addition to the traditional organic search results, Google now displays a map and several local business listings.
The Local pack is created and ranked by Google using a new local search algorithm.
The Local results page is only displayed when someone types a search term into Google that is recognized as a local search term:
Digital Marketing Bournemouth”
“SEO Bournemouth” etc
You are most likely unaware of the huge implications of the changes:
If your business does not show up on this “Local Pack” then forget it!
You just missed out on over 50% of all your potential new customers.
Now Im guessing you just typed your product or service into google to see if you are in the pack ? (If you haven’t then try it now, simply type the name of your product or service into GOOGLE and see what you get)
Can you see your business sitting there in the local 3 pack? (If you can’t see your business it is crucially important that you act now so please keep reading)
If you can see your business then Great!
ut it might not actually be that great!
You see GOOGLE knows where you are and if you are searching from your business premises or from a location near to the physical location of your business then GOOGLE has just changed the results you are shown to reflect the fact that your business is the closest business to your current location(you are the nearest business to you) .
Everyone else searching for the same keyword will see different results based on their location.
You can get a more accurate overall indication of your chances of being found by adding the keyword “Your Town” after your product or service, so try searching again adding your location.
Double glazing Bournemouth
Plumber Hackney etc.
Now are you still in the local pack ?
If your business is still listed in the local pack then CONGRATULATIONS! you are most definitely doing some basic things right. Your business can now focus on attracting good reviews, optimizing your website to target other relevant keywords and keeping/improving your ranking by obtaining quality backlinks(links to your website from other relevant websites) . You will also need to build solid citations, social media signals and get great reviews as well as working on the dozens of other criteria that Google uses to decide your rank in the local pack . In a nutshell your goal is now to keep your position or move higher ! To be totally honest, (and I say this at the risk of losing some potential SEO clients), in some low competition sectors it really wont be that hard to keep your position in the pack for the next few months , not difficult at all because most of your competitors are only just realizing the massive potential of Local SEO!
When your not even in the pack
Now for the rest of you, those not in the local pack
Here is the hard truth I promised you at the beginning of this article
Please remain seated because this may not be pleasant::
Your local business is as good as invisible on Google.
Local Pack businesses will become bigger while yours will gradually disappear.
Over 75% of local business purchases are made following a google search.
And local businesses appearing in the local pack on the first page of search results will receive over 50% of all clicks, calls and enquiries from google users AKA 90% of all internet searches.
If you are not performing Local SEO, when it comes to getting new clients and more business, you are GOOGLE stupid!
And if you want to have any chance of new customers finding you online then you will need to get Google Smart.
Im sorry but yes I just called you Google stupid.
It’s a friendly wake up call
Because you have been asleep
And while you were sleeping the Google local search environment has changed.
Google has made it much easier for local businesses to get found online.
But also much easier for some local businesses to be invisible online!
“You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality”
The Google Local Pack has changed everything
You may be thinking:
“ Im not Google stupid…I have a website….I have done some SEO….My business appears in the organic search results on the first page of Google”
Well try this:
Type or speak a local search phrase into your smart phone
Dog grooming Poole
Makeup artist Hackney
Double glazing Bristol
What do you see ?
Who do you think will get the calls ?
70 % of users now use a smart phone when searching for a local service or product.
50 % of those users will contact or visit the business within 24 hours of their search.
If your business appears in the local pack on the first page of google you could receive up to 20% of all search traffic, calls and enquiries!
560 people a month search Google for “double glazing Bristol”
The Google local pack will get approx 50% of that traffic.
The most optimized business in the pack can expect to receive up to 20% of that traffic.
Which in this example equates to 56 enquiries per month.
And it doesn’t end there!
You will experience the same benefit from every search term you target:
Bristol double glazing….110 month
New windows Bristol 70 month
Conservatory Bristol 220 month
Etc etc etc
So let me ask you the following question;
Imagine that you are based in Bristol and your business is double glazing.
Is it important for your business to be in the Google local pack?
Being in the Google “snack pack” is more than just desirable
At this point most of you will have begun to understand how crucially important it is to rank high in the local pack.
You at least have a sense of the awesome opportunities available for those businesses who decide to take action.
To those of you who feel you do not have the time, motivation or finances to take advantage of this new opportunity, all I can say is that I sympathize with you as I understand how difficult it can be to find resources to direct at a new project. But the world of SEO is competitive, cruel and unforgiving so thanks for reading, good luck and farewell.
If however you are the kind of person who likes to seize opportunity and take action then please check out our Local SEO guide for some great actionable steps you can take right now to get results.
It will take a little time, and learning.
But will result in more clients, more sales and a higher income for you!
So, you have to ask yourself the question.
Which are you ?
Google stupid or Google Smart
And more importantly , which do you want to be?