WHY SEO IS SO IMPORTANT FOR YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS?
Most local businesses already understand that the Internet & search engines are EXTREMELY important to the long term growth and sustainability of their business but occasionally I get the question “Why are search engines and search engine marketing so important to business serving a local area?”
Yellow Pages Are No Longer Effective
It used to be that the #1 place consumers looked when they needed a product or service was the Yellow Pages. In today’s market, very few people still reference the printed Yellow Pages. In fact the new generation has not even been exposed to the Yellow Pages and only know the Internet as a way to search for local businesses.
Where do they go now?
They look on the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing & others) and social media sites (Facebook & Twitter) asking for referrals from their friends and family.
- A new survey of 2,000 consumers found that 86 percent of those surveyed used the Internet to find a local business.
- 74 percent of the respondents said they use a search engine when they are looking for a local retail or service business.
If you’re not showing up on page one of Google, Yahoo & Bing for your businesses related keywords in your area, then you are missing a major opportunity! PageOne can ensure that you put your best foot forward and show up in as many local related searches in your area as possible.
Understanding How Local Search Works
Over the past ten years the way the search engines work has changed significantly; especially with the introduction of the Google map listings (Google Plus Local) to the search results for local search. A majority of the local retail or service businesses we talk with are confused about how the search engines work and the differences between the map listings, organic listings & the paid / Pay-Per-Click listings.
In this section we wanted to take a few minutes to DEMISTIFY the search engines and break down the anatomy of the search engine results page (SERPs). By understanding how each component works, you can formulate a strategy to maximize the results of each.
There are 3 core components of the search engines results page:
- 1. Paid /PPC Listings
- 2. Organic Listings
- 3. Map Listings*
Paid / PPC Listings
In the paid section of the search engines you are able to select the keywords that are relevant to you and then pay to be listed in this area. The reason it is referred to
PPC or Pay-Per-Click is because rather than paying a flat monthly or daily fee for placement, you simply pay each time someone clicks on the link. The PPC platform is based on a bidding system and the company that bids the highest gets the best placement. PPC is still a good way to market your business online, but should be thought of as a short term marketing solution. PPC can get very expensive very fast, with some keywords costing as much as several hundred dollars per click in certain industries.
The organic / natural section of the search engine results page appears directly beneath the map listings in many local searches, but appears directly beneath the paid listings in the absence of the map listings (the map section only shows up in specific local searches). Similar to the map listings, you can’t pay your way into this section of the search engines and there is no per click cost associated with it.
The map listings have become very important because it is the first thing that comes up in the search results for most locally based searches. If someone searches “[Niche Keyword] + your city” chances are the map listings will be the first thing they look at.
Unlike the paid section of the search engine, you can’t buy your way into the map listings you have to earn it, and once you do, there is no per click cost associated with being in this section of the search engine. We will share our Google
Now that you understand the 3 major components of the search engine results and the differences between paid listings, map listings & organic listings you might wonder… “What section is most important?” This is a question that we receive from local businesses every day.
The fact is that all three components are important and each should have a place in your online marketing program because you want to show up as often as possible when someone is searching for your local retail or service business in your area.
With that said, assuming you are operating on a limited budget and need to make each marketing dollar count; you need to focus your investment on the sections that are going to drive the strongest return on investment.
Research indicates that a vast majority of the population look directly at the organic & map listings when searching and their eyes simply glance over the paid listings.
This heatmap indicates where the searcher tends to view as they come onto a search engine results page.
Where People Click On The Google Search Pages
So if you are operating on a limited budget and need to get the best bang for your buck, you should start by focusing your efforts on the area that gets the most clicks at the lowest cost. We have found that placement in the organic and map section on the search engines drive a SIGNIFICANTLY better return on investment than Pay-Per-Click marketing.