Most of our tips center around those relating to website design for small business. Local search is not technically included on a small business website, but it is extremely important. It is one of the most robust means for customers to find local businesses so we are providing information on using local search to boost your business.
Why Local Search is Important for Small Business
Consumers use technology for more and more daily tasks. Computers and mobile devices have replaced so many things, one of them being the big, clunky printed phone book. It used to be that being in the “yellow pages” business phone book was critical for a business to be located. If a consumer was looking for a business or service, that was where they turned. Now that those days are gone, local search has taken the place of the phone book. There are a number of local search companies, many of them owned by the old phone book companies. You will likely have them calling you begging for your business. But let’s start with where you really need to be above all else. And best of all, it is free.
88% of consumers who search for a type of business on a mobile device, call or go to that business within 24 hours.
Google Business Profile
Google Maps is the largest search engine. It is fed by Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business) . This is the place to start with establishing your local presence. Without it, you will not appear on Google Maps. Setting up your Google Business Profile is free. It is also free to embed a Google Map of your location on your website. They do charge for additional mapping services, but for most small businesses, the free embed feature is all you need.
Google continues to roll out new features. Consumers have the ability to reach out and message businesses. This is a great for those consumers that prefer not to call. It allows potential customers to request product information, request a quote or obtain information prior to visiting a physical location. Another important feature of is the ability to provide your business hours and set holiday hours and special hours that you may be closed for company events.
One thing that many business owners may not realize is that the platform has become almost a “local social media” which can be optimized by frequently posting updates and images. If you’re a local business, it would be wise to take advantage of this.
Also read: 12 Foolproof Signs Your Website is Outdated
Other local search platforms
You can see from the statistic above that it is important include local search to increase your business. There are other players besides Google though. Bing, Apple and Yahoo are also players in local search. Once your Google Business Profile is set up, Bing integrates the Google information to make set up easier. As you start connecting Bing Maps, it steps you through the process to authenticate by asking if you have already set up Google Business Profile.
45% of consumers are likely to check reviews on Yelp before visiting a business, ranking second to Google at 64%.
There is no doubt that Yelp’s search and review platform is robust averaging more than 178 million unique visitors every month. However, Yelp has been embroiled in controversy around their pay-to-play model. The fees to add to simple features to a business profile to make it more competitive can be cost-prohibitive for many small businesses. What’s good is that Yelp is no longer the only local business review website so potential customers have other resources in addition to Yelp.
Need help with local search to boost your business?
We work with small businesses that need help with building a new website or updating an existing website. Does your website have out-dated design, slow loading time, or lack of modern website features? We can help! We do website design and development, WordPress Care Plans, and as-needed support with our HelpMe! service.
In addition to the resources in this blog, we have a number of free resources. First is our free WordPress website audit. It is a $199 value that we offer small business owners for FREE! Next, we provide a free no obligation consultation. Schedule a time directly on our calendar. We look forward to assisting you!
Sources: Google, ReviewTrackers
Resources: Google Business Profile