How crazy is it that we’re already through February? This year has been moving quickly! The beginning of 2019 held so much promise for us, and it keeps getting better. It’s still early in the year, which means there’s plenty of time to crank things up and refocus our local search goals based on new information. And boy, do we have some new information for you!
Today, we’re focusing solely on stats that need to be considered this year when devising a local search plan. Believe us when we say that they’ll have even the most expert marketers rethinking their strategies.
The Local Business Will Dominate
We wouldn’t be Advice Local if we didn’t start with the local businesses we work tirelessly for every day. We firmly believe that 2019 will be the best year yet for local businesses, as they have more power than ever to dominate in the local search environment.
This goes for their visibility, profitability and retention of new customers. Get this: 72 percent of customers who search for something locally will go to a business within five miles of their location. That means it’s vital to start with the almighty Google My Business listing to make sure the address is correct, the location can be found on Google Maps, and the owner is advertising properly in their geo-location.
According to The Manifest, of the 500 people surveyed, 77 percent of smartphone users access navigation applications on the regular. Google Maps is the most popular, with 67 percent of respondents saying that it offers better directions than its competitors, such as Waze.
We’ve talked at length about the importance of local businesses having mobile-friendly sites. User-friendly mobile websites that are pleasing to the eye create trust for the customer. The content should be localized and straightforward for searchers on the move (the Super-Empowered Consumer always is!), and should link to a contact number. 61 percent of mobile searchers are more likely to contact the local business with a well-made mobile website.
Lastly, 75 percent of local mobile searches result in an in-store visit within a 24-hour period. That’s huge! Small business owners can’t miss these opportunities to hit the ground running with the right marketing and advertising efforts.
Never Underestimate Positive Reviews
We’ve covered the importance of reviews most notably in our Epic Guide to Local SEO, and we always take the opportunity to revisit why. A positive review has the power to impact local SEO, offer feedback on parts of the business that need to be improved, and convince customers to select the local business.
That last one is the most important – 84 percent of consumers on the web trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from a friend! Be honest, that’s probably not too surprising – we always read reviews first. Whether it’s a new restaurant we want to visit or a product we’re debating whether or not to order, a positive review easily pushes us over the edge.
When people search for these products or services, they’re probably doing it through a mobile phone. 80 percent of people who use the internet regularly own a smartphone. On any given day, Google receives more than 63,000 searches. That’s a lot of power in the palm of our hands – but what about the local business owner’s?
Voice Search Readiness Is Part of the Local SEO Game Plan
In the fall of 2018, we published Voice Search for Local Businesses, Franchises and Brands: The Guide to Getting Found. Well, we haven’t stopped talking about the vitality of voice search readiness since then! Being voice search-ready is crucial, especially for the local businesses we fear could get lost in the shift from not only desktop to mobile, but now to voice.
ComScore reported that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be done by voice. The bottom line: people are impatient, and they are tired of searching by hand! Whether it’s through smartphones or a home speaker, the only effort required by voice search is taking a breath.
When it comes to voice search, the name of the game is keeping it short and sweet. This goes for both searchers and content creators! The average length of a voice search answer is only 29 words. People want the answers to their questions now, and concise content is one of the main ways to meet their needs – and make the featured snippet.
The First Page and Featured Snippet
The driving force behind every search engine optimization effort is a highly coveted first page spot. This means that local businesses that have the information to match a search will need to step it up to be seen first. This is done through keyword-optimized content, circulated listings, a pristine GMB listing and correct local citations. Here’s the sad reality: 75 percent of searchers will not go past page one if they don’t see what they’re looking for.
With Google’s featured snippet, chances are it’s the first thing a mobile searcher sees. It’s the portion of information at the top of the screen that’s marked off in a box with a corresponding link. This is what Google determines as the highest-ranking piece of content that answers the searcher’s question. It is the spot to earn; it means the content contains all of the right keywords, perhaps plays with different mediums, and is deemed the best answer overall by the engine.
When planning a local content strategy (which we can help with!), playing to win the featured snippet is the only way to go. According to Hubspot, content that makes the featured snippet garners twice as many click-throughs!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by these statistics and rethink every existing plan. That’s not our goal! Here at Advice Local, we want to help our partners and local businesses create the best plan to accommodate the changing times. And, times are a-changin’ for local search! For expert help to ensure local SEO strategies are on the right track, request a demo today.