The more local and small business owners I speak with, the more I realize one thing is true – everyone is trying to figure out how to gain even the slightest advantage over their competitors and even the big brands who compete in the local markets (i.e. Geico offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Marietta, Ga, etc…).

And the thing I’m continually amazed with is how few, actually none, of the business markets I research are there any businesses leveraging the power of branding on the front page of Google.

The best way to explain what I’m talking about here is with a few of my client’s examples.  Take a look at this in action below:

Here’s the front page of Google for a very profitable search phrase in a very large market.  The search phrase is “church insurance chicago” and you can view the search results for yourself by clicking here.

But here’s the Chicago market screenshot:


Notice how, on the front page of Google, everything looks as you’d expect it to look.  Nothing but text – a whole list of search results, and links that you can click thru to visit the sites who are on the front page.

Nothing new here, right?

But now take a look at one my client’s who sells church insurance in Atlanta, and tell me if you can immediately see a difference.

The search phrase is exactly the same, except its for the Atlanta market – so the phrase is “church insurance atlanta” and you can see the actual search results for yourself by clicking here:

Here’s the Atlanta market screenshot:

Let me ask you… as soon as you saw the search results for “church insurance atlanta”, which search result were your eyes immediately drawn to?

If you are like the 95% of people on the web, your eyes were drawn first to the search result that has a thumbnail image associated with it?

In fact, research shows that even if this search result wasn’t in the #1 position like it is now – say it was in #4 or #5 position – it would still get a 3 – 5 times higher click thru rate than the search result that’s in the #1 position.

The reason being, my client’s search result with the thumbnail image – because nobody else has thumbnails integrated into their search results – will instantly attract the visual attention of searchers first, and that equates to higher click thru rates.

And higher click thru rates means more traffic, exposure, and branding for your business.

Heck, even if people don’t initially click thru to your website, they will always remember your business associated with “church insurance in atlanta”.

This is branding power for local and small business owners that has, quite frankly, never before been possible.

What do you think?