When it comes to online marketing, there’s a myriad of options for the small business to chose from. You have pay per click marketing which includes the likes of Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter ads, and now even Instagram and Pinterest ads. And then you have email marketing such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Marketing Cloud.
But from my experience working with small businesses for more than 10 years now, I’ve found local SEO to be the primary objective.
Why Local SEO?
At the end of the day, most small businesses care about one thing – their phones ringing from new customers, or new customers walking in their front door.
What does this translate to?
The phone calls and customers walking in the front door translate into new customers and sales!
There’s a lot of bells and whistles wrapped up in all of the paid marketing platforms that I mentioned above, such as:
- get in front of customers who are searching for you
- build your brand awareness
- get people talking about you
- promote your products to a large audience
Do you see what’s missing in all of this?
That’s right… SALES!
Small business owners – and even enterprise corporations – ultimately care about sales and new customers.
Without sales, your business is dead.
Without new customers, your annual revenues go flat and your business shrinks, with all other costs considered equal.
With local SEO, your business generates phone calls immediately from people who actively searching for your products and services!
We have clients that run taxi companies, HVAC repair and installation, law firms, dentists, and many other “small business” clients.
I can assure you, unless their phones are ringing from new customers, or unless their “appointment request” forms are being filled out in volume, my clients consider our efforts unproductive.
For many of our clients, they care less about the organic search results in Google – that is, the normal search results that appear underneath the Google Maps / local search results.
I’ve had clients tell me that unless they are found in the 3 pack of Google local search, their phones will not ring, period.
This is a scary proposition for most small business owners because it puts the burden of growth on the shoulders of Google local search.
However, as you are building your brand and customer base that send referrals to you, you are left with the option to generate new sales through your own efforts.
And looking across the myriad of options I described above, small business owners always put the emphasis on local SEO – i.e. getting their business to come up in the 3 pack of Google Maps search results.
The #1 reason why local SEO is so important to small and local business
The growth of mobile search has exploded over the past 5 years. In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts predicted last year (2014) that by the end of 2015 (this year), more searches in Google will be conducted on mobile phones than desktop computers.
And as predicted, this is now the case.
In May of this year (2015), Google announced that more searches are being conducted on mobile phones than on desktop computers.
And why is mobile search so important?
Take one look at the local Google Maps search results on your mobile phone, and you will quickly see the power of local search.
Here’s a screenshot of the local search results for “dentist in Miami” on my iPhone:
Notice the primary featured of the mobile local search results here – the tap to call button.
In some cases, you’ll also get the directions button along with the call button, but clearly Google puts the greatest emphasis on the tap to call button.
Because Google knows the most important strategy for a local business is to get their phone ringing.
And what better way to do that than present a tap to call button on the same device from which you make a phone call.
It’s like mobile phones and mobile search are a match made in heaven for small business growth!