The following post is part of the DialogTech “Expert Voices” series where leading marketing experts share insights and best practices and recommend technologies. This post is authored by Leilani Wertens, Content Manager at UpCity. Her expertise is in SEO, digital marketing, and social media engagement.
Few would dispute the claim that the evolution of local search has influenced SEO heavily in recent years. Local search began to dominate the scene when Google introduced Place Pages for Google Maps back in 2009. In the following year, Google pushed the local search envelope even further when it started mixing local search results with organic search results at a time when other search engines were including the results of location searches on their own maps.
Businesses were given even more dramatic evidence that they needed to focus on local search results when Google replaced AOL as the search engine of choice. In 2014, Google changed the way it displayed local search results from a local carousel format to a local pack display.
Today, Google’s local pack format is even more compact than it was just a few years ago. Now, Google employs a “three-pack” to identify the three entities that rank the highest in Google My Business listings when Internet users search for local businesses.
Along with Google’s continued innovations, the increased popularity of content marketing and social media has changed the SEO landscape over the past decade. Today, content marketing is often an important part of a company’s SEO strategy and local SEO is an integral piece of a business’ social media presence and interactions.
Updating Your Local Strategy
If it’s been awhile since you reviewed your approach to SEO, now is the time for you to take a close look at your local SEO strategy. With competition between local businesses intensifying in many markets, optimizing your on- and off-site SEO strategies is the key to continued success for a wide range of businesses.
One of the most vital things you can do to update your local search strategy is make sure your website is optimized for “near me” searches. According to Google, the frequency of this kind of search has doubled since 2016. Instances referred to as “micro-moments” have increased by 146 percent in a year-over-year analysis. Micro-moments are the “I need” and “I want to know now” searches that occur when people use their mobile devices to find immediate, local answers for what they’re looking for online.
It’s also critical for you to update your listing in every directory where your business appears online. To ensure search engines recognize your business as credible and that your location shows up properly on digital maps, every single one of your listings must have accurate information across websites. Remember – the more web pages Google can find with an accurate listing for your business, the better the odds are that it will include your website in the results for a “near me” search when someone is looking for businesses like yours.
Also, keep in mind that according to Google, consumers searching for a local business are 46% more likely to call, and those callers are 51% more likely to make a purchase. So having a phone number in your local listings and throughout your website is important to optimizing conversions and customers from local SEO. It is also important that you track and optimize phone calls from your local listings. Using trackable phone numbers enables you to measure calls from local SEO to prove the impact your efforts are having on customer acquisition and sales.
Pros and Cons of Online Ads
In your effort to boost conversions through local SEO, you may want to do more than optimize your website for local SEO and update your NAP (name, address, phone) in online directories. If so, you may be thinking about using some online ads.
In recent years, digital ads have grown immensely in popularity across industries in the United States and around the world. Here are two of the most common types of online advertisements and a brief discussion of some of their pros and cons:
- Display Ads: Display ads successfully reach more than 90 percent of people who use the Internet around the world. This kind of ad can appear anywhere on a webpage, sometimes even in the middle of content.
Display ads are great because they reach a wide audience of Internet users and they’re flexible when it comes to style and formatting. One of the most significant downsides to display ads is that you can’t always control where they appear, which means they can appear on webpages that are in direct contrast with your company’s values and desired brand image. With an average click through rate of just 0.05 percent, display ads are also widely ignored.
- Search Ads: Google alone handles 40,000 searches every second on a typical day, which is the equivalent of 3.5 billion searches daily. Search ads are designed to capitalize on this traffic. You’ll normally see search ads at the top or along the side of the results Google generates when you look for something online.
Because people are already looking for businesses, goods or services similar to yours when they come across search ads, this kind of advertisement ordinarily produces higher-quality leads than other forms of digital ads. Search ads generally consist of text only, which makes them simple and affordable to create. While simplicity is a bonus, it’s also a drawback because many companies want to infuse eye-catching visuals in their advertisements. Since you’re paying per click, search ads can also be very costly, especially if your ad includes an expensive keyword.
Find the Right Agency and Call Analytics Partners to Help
Whether you’re launching a new cross-channel digital ad campaign or optimizing your website for local SEO, it’s important to work with partners that can help you succeed. There are resources like UpCity that can help you connect with digital marketing professionals and DialogTech that will help you measure, analyze, and boost call conversions to your business.
If you want to learn more about measuring and optimizing phone calls from digital marketing, download the free guide, The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution.