Between 2017 and 2019 “Where to buy,” + “near me” queries grew by 200%, according to Think with Google research. Another recent study shows that “near me” searches have increased by a further 28% in 2020.
“Near me” searches include instances where searchers type phrases such as “where to buy flowers near me” or “where to find a mechanic near me.” Whether seeking goods or services, more people are using Google and other search engines to locate local service providers.
Further studies show that over 74% of in-store shoppers search for information such as the closest store, seller locations, in-stock goods near them, directions, and contact information before going to a particular store. At least 70% of consumers will go to a physical store if they find useful information while searching. 50% of shoppers then go on to actually make a purchase.
The above statistics are the clearest indicator that the future of e-commerce is local. The following are five other reasons why small businesses should optimize their local SEO in 2021.
Visibility is one of the biggest advantages of local SEO. By having your business registered correctly in Google My Business, it will appear in nearly all relevant searches originating from the geographic location. If it’s a dental clinic, as long as you’ve set up your SEO correctly, you’ll appear in most “dental clinic near me” searches in that area. This alone can lead to thousands of new, sales-ready leads.
In addition to appearing at the top of search engine results for local searches, local SEO can also help your business appear in Google Maps. Why is an appearance on Google Maps important? Because 88% of users who search a local business on their mobile phone visit the business within the next 24 hours. At least 86% of these people look up the business’s location on Google Maps before visiting the physical store.
Did you know that consumers can call you directly from Google's search engine? Once again, if your Google My Business profile is set up correctly, your business’s contact information is on display. This sits alongside other critical information such as the physical address and business name in the Maps listing. If the consumer wishes, they can call your business directly by clicking the listed contact number. The best part is – Google foots the bill! Imagine how many leads you could convert from these calls.
Local reviews are the most important factor for consumers considering a purchase. In fact, users and search engines consider local reviews to be even more important than global reviews. A higher volume of positive local reviews (that mention your keywords and city/neighborhood) increases the likelihood of appearing in local results. Local searchers are also more likely to trust local reviews. Therefore, they are much more likely to buy after reading multiple positive local reviews.
We’ve already mentioned that more than 50% of local searches result in a purchase. The story doesn’t end there. At least 78% of all local mobile searches result in an offline purchase. This includes people who look up your products and store online but buy the product or get the service from a competitor. Additionally, 61% of local searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have their contact information.
Statistics show that only 64% of small businesses have an online presence. There are even fewer that have taken the time to optimize their local SEO. To take advantage of the benefits above, don’t make the same mistake, optimize your local SEO today.
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Let's talk about your business. With over a decade of experience leading companies and transforming lives, and a Master's degree in Org. Development and Leadership, Mike can help you find the best way forward!