What is local search
Over the past few years the major search engines have woken up to a simple realisation. That people who are using their search engine for service or consumer based searches are looking for local businesses to connect with.
Add to this the rapid rise of mobile device searches also looking for local businesses and services, and you have a pretty compelling reason to change your focus.
According to Google 97% of all consumer searches are looking for local businesses or content, while 1 in 4 searches are coming from mobile devices.
The Power is in Your Hands
As a result the big three Search Engines; Google, Yahoo and Bing have all made major changes to their algorithms to provide locally relevant results, and in so doing have aligned themselves with local business’.
The search engines now want to deliver your business, products and services as results directly to those searching for them within your local region. Results that were once dominated by large non-local directory listing services, corporates or multinational organisations have changed to serve up results for business’ that can prove they operate in a geographic area.
Of course the old saying is true, “that with much power, comes much responsibility” and as a website and business owner you do have a responsibility to present your business in a professional and client focused manner if you want to take full advantage of what search engines are providing you with.
Or in other words you have to do things right.
What is local search?
The answer to this question is probably obvious to most people. It is a search that contains localisation information like an address, suburb, city or region. Although we don’t make a big use of them here in New Zealand, post-codes can be very targeting in local search.
An example of this would be - ‘website designers, Auckland’ or, ‘web design services in Auckland’ although search engines are pretty cleaver things and will serve up local results based on you where you happen to be searching from.
The great debate
The trick is to make sure that your business is the one getting found and then turning those visitors into leads or sales... This unfortunately has been where Small to Medium business’ have both been let down by the web-design community & themselves. Web designers because they are not copy writers or marketers and business owners because they undervalue the skills involved in making a website work and often choose the cheapest options available.
Of course what we are talking about is content and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The debate among professionals has been, that one is more important than the other. The reality is that they are the two sides of the same coin and therefore both require attention if you are wanting your business to benefit from local search.
Content or website copy deals with addressing a big question each visitor to your website has. “Can you solve my problem?” The trick is they will make a decision within seconds as to whether a fit exists or not.
SEO deals more with trying to convince the search engines that you are a credible business and source of information. It deals with how your website is put together but also crosses over into the content.
Take this article for example. In writing it we are aware that it will form a small part of our websites rank within a search engine. So the article is (hopefully) being written in a way that is interesting and informative to you... But is also seasoned with key words and phrases to add a little taste for the search engines to enjoy.
The transition from the use of printed directories like yellow pages to the use of digital sources have changed the way that people search for products and services from being fairly generic (mechanic) to very specific (mechanic specialising is custom engines).
Then add to this the social media revolution that introduced sites and applications that allow you to recommend business’ or services of note. As well as the ability of your customers to directly influence others buying decisions based upon their experience of your business.
Everything happening in real time and with a very real impact on your business. Every day, people with mobile devices are accessing app’s that lead them directly to the nearest cup of coffee, plus size clothing store, Italian pizzeria or puncture repairer. Then once they have dealt with you they rate you in real time and all of this information about your business is being transmitted, calculated, stored and shared... Whether you have a website, use social media or even own a mobile device makes no difference to the way the Internet is impacting on your business.
It has and will continue to change the game.
That as a small business you probably don’t have the budget to invest in a major SEO project or online advertising campaign. We understand that social media is time consuming and sometimes more than a little confusing.
We understand the demands and the constraints of running a viable small business.
We also understand that the Internet and having a website that is built properly should add real value to your business, we search engines, copy writing and the psychology of search.
Here's a simple promise, when you work with NowNet, you are working with people that understand the nature of value... and how to deliver that value to your business via the Internet.
Simply take a look at the pro-Image website package. This could easily be marketed at 3 times the price and still be worth it, (in fact we’ve sold if for that much), but because we understand the problems that face SME’s, we created the solutions that would help your business to get set-up online, and take advantage of what’s happening now with mobile, websites and local search...
But, to take advantage... You have to be in the game.