How important is local search?

When it comes to SEO, there is a temptation to focus almost exclusively on the main search results. For many businesses, directing resources at a local search campaign may actually make more sense.

If you aren’t yet convinced that local SEO is a worthwhile use of your SEO budget, read on to discover exactly how important local search is.

1. Local search leads to local visits

Any businesses with a physical bricks and mortar location can benefit from local search. Why? Because it has been proven time and time again that a local search typically leads to a local store visit. That means if you’re looking to increase footfall to your shop, bar, restaurant, hotel or other business premises, it’s critical to be highly visible when local customers head online.

Two often cited research studies confirm this opinion:

  • 90% of search users will choose a search engine when they need to find local information
  • Local search has a high purchase intent with just 7% of non-local search leading to purchase within 24 hours, compared with 18% for those looking locally
  • Half of those who carry out a local search on a mobile device will visit a physical store within 24 hours

2. Local search visibility is linked to mobile and voice search visability

Mobile search volumes have exceeded desktop search volumes for a couple of years now making it the standard when it comes to search rankings and optimisation. Naturally, given that we turn to our smartphones more when we are out and about and away from our desks, a lot of mobile search is locally focused. The same goes for voice search – 63% of consumers try voice search when driving because they need local information.

Investing in local SEO and prioritizing local visibility is therefore an investment in mobile and voice search too.

3. It’s more competitive than ever

If you’re guilty of having neglected local search SEO in favour of traditional SEO, then it should be even more of a priority for you today. As smaller businesses have found themselves unable to compete with national firms for traditional search rankings, they have flocked to local search in order to at least win local business and/or capitalise on mobile and voice search trends.

Competition has been made harder still by the fact that the local search pack has shrunk over the last few years, so there are now fewer spots up for grabs on page one than ever before.

All of this means that if you haven’t invested in local search before now, time is of the essence. Fail to use local optimisation tactics going forwards and you might find that you’re missing out not just on mobile traffic, the higher purchase intent that comes with local search and voice traffic – you may be unable to get a footing on Google at all.

Need help getting your local SEO campaign off the ground? Contact us to find out how we can help.

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