What is Google Local Search and why is it important for small businesses?

Companies that aren’t visible on search engines such as Google are missing out on a huge opportunity to win new customers and increase sales. That’s why it’s essential to optimize your website’s content for search engines, even for small businesses and the self-employed.

What many internet users are unaware of is that Google displays results based on the user’s location. That means that, for example, someone who searches for a painter in Chicago will see different results than the same search by someone in Atlanta. From a user’s perspective, the use of their location to frame search results makes perfect sense. Most Google users are searching for local or regional businesses and therefore the chance of someone in New York looking for a painter in San Francisco is very small.

In addition, local results are also displayed differently, being displayed on an integrated map. This makes it immediately clear to the user that the results listed are local. Furthermore, businesses that have a verified Google MyBusiness entry are given preferential placement.  Since over 50% of all searches originate from mobile devices, it is well worth paying attention to mobile search results which are also location-dependent.

How can companies benefit from local searches?

Only those companies with the relevant search terms (e.g. Painter Chicago) will be displayed on the first page of results and have the best chance of attracting new customers. A study done by Caphyon at the SMX East trade show in New York showed that around 30% of users click on the highest ranked result and 71% check only those on the first page.

For companies looking to attract primarily local customers, Google‘s local search is a particularly important ingredient in their online success. Optimizing your site for local searches gives your business the opportunity to reach its target group in a more focused way as well as promote itself.

Products such as 1&1 ListLocal can help take care of this by automatically listing important information like your company’s address, phone number, photos and opening times in online directories such as Google.

Photo: Shutterstock

Category: eBusiness | Tips
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