Rapid advances in Google’s ranking algorithm and radical changes in the way consumers behave have made it increasingly difficult to talk about search engine optimisation (SEO) without specifically touching on local search.
But what is it about local SEO that has marketers and business operators so excited? Here are six key reasons that local SEO has become so important for businesses in Australia:
Local SEO Helps You Target More Relevant Traffic.
When a small company first gets started with in-house search engine optimisation, they’re bound to make more than a few rookie mistakes. One of these could be focusing on generating more traffic to the website without giving much thought to who these new site visitors are or what they’re after. There are many ways to address this potential problem when researching and selecting keywords to target. For locally focused (and especially bricks-and-mortar) businesses, optimising for local search is one of the most effective ways to ensure that the increased traffic correlates to their target customers.
Local Searchers Who Are Primed and Ready to Buy.
Google has found that 50 per cent of consumers who complete a local search on their smart phone end up visiting a store within a day. (The same statistic for tablet and desktop users was lower, but still significant: 34 per cent). Local searches lead to in-store visits, which makes it all the more important that your company show up in the listings when relevant.
Local Searches Lead to Offline Sales.
Following on from the previous point, local SEO gives offline retailers and service providers a competitive edge. One consumer survey found that nearly 80 per cent of local searches (on a mobile device) eventually resulted in an offline purchase. In other words, it’s not just the e-commerce giants who stand to benefit from SEO in Australia. With some local fine tuning, your SEO efforts can draw potential customers toward the company even if you don’t have anything that can be purchased online or remotely.
Google Is a Fan of Local Business.
Few (if any) organisations can rival Google in terms of access to raw data regarding consumer behaviour. In the wake of the smartphone revolution, Google knows more about how specific search patterns lead to specific consumer behaviour. The search giant’s ability to crunch the raw data and make meaningful connections has led them to place a high priority on local searches. In Google’s estimation, people want their search results to be personalised, localised and – of course – highly relevant. That’s why more recent revisions to the search algorithm prioritised local businesses. If you optimise your site with this in mind, you’ll receive preferential placement over bigger companies simply because your business is geographically closer to local searchers.
Competition for Keywords Is More Intense Than Ever.
There was a time when search engine optimisation was mostly a matter of keyword placement in online content. In those days, relatively few businesses were all that concerned with SEO, to the extent that those who focused on it saw massive success. Today, it’s safe to say that SEO in Sydney is decidedly more competitive – both because search-ranking algorithms have evolved and because virtually every serious business is trying to optimise for higher visibility. Given this level of competitiveness, local SEO offers organisations a chance to hone their SEO campaign and zero in on their target customers.
Searches in the Field Will Continue to Soar.
We’ve already mentioned the smartphone revolution and the role that it has played in developing the local SEO market. Beyond that, we should also note that the way people search is only going to continue evolving. Voice queries lodged with Siri, Cortana or the Google Voice Assistant are often locally focused. Meanwhile, the growing kaleidoscope of wearables that people interact with – from smart watches to augmented reality devices – are likely to influence the way consumers search, shop and purchase goods. With a strong component of local SEO in your digital strategy, your company will be poised to capitalise on emerging consumer behaviour.