The Impact Of Google Places / Local On Localized Searches
There is no more important consideration for a bricks and mortar retailer than discovery. In the past, this type of discovery relied heavily on the local Yellow Pages. The big yellow book was the means by which many people found the services they required.
With the advent of Google Places in 2009, the importance of proper listing within this platform has become more and more important for local small businesses. In fact, the importance of a properly optimized and validated Google Places / Local listing for a small business in many cases outweighs their need for a full-scale web presence.
What drives such a bold statement you may ask? Relevance.
Momentum client Budget Brake & Muffler Auto Centres engages our services to optimize their current web property for placement in organic searches. We have taken on the challenge to create high rank for blanket search terms such as “auto repair” and “car repair.” We are optimizing the web property for localized searches that depend on the physical location that the search is taking place from. The results are dramatic. We concentrate a considerable amount of effort in this optimization campaign on mobile searches – as we can see through proper tracking that a large amount of searches occur from mobile devices. This comes as no surprise considering that a large portion of individuals requiring car repair are searching on a mobile device from the vehicle that requires repairs.
With this focus on mobile platforms we have discovered something about the traffic this type of search creates. A large portion of the traffic that searches for and discovers the location of a Budget Brake and Muffler Auto Centre never end up clicking through to the company website. Why? Properly optimized, up to date Google Places / Local listings for each Budget location provide a direct connection to the local Budget franchisee right in the Google search results. The relevance of the result provides a direct path to the franchisee – discovery equates to a customer at the push of a button. Pushing Budget’s Google Places / Local listings to the forefront requires a consistent effort and a cohesive strategy involving the participation of each franchisee within the organization. Each Places listing requires up to date location information and validation of the business owner through Google’s own phone validation process.
Beyond the administrative tasks of ensuring each listing has the correct contact details and hours of operation, one key factor came to the surface. Reviews in these listings have a direct effect on placement both in search results and map placement. Franchisee’s who have positive reviews within their Google Places / Local listing consistently rank higher than those with poor or no ratings. Google views these reviews as a crucial key to providing their users with relevant results that create a positive outcome for the searcher.
Every small business owner now needs to understand that the relevance of their online listing is not based solely on their hours of operation but on the service they provide to new and returning customers. The Internet and Google itself is in a perpetual state of evolution.
It’s critical to reach out to your digital team to stay in-synch with these changes in order to maximize discovery for your business and real-time conversion of search traffic into real traffic, real satisfied customers, and real revenue.
Reach out now, and let the work begin!
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