Google has stated that about 1 million Places Pages were being claimed per month, putting them at approximately 9 million now, and over 150 million active users as of June 28.
Local SEO, just like those elusive social signals in Google’s algorithm, seems to be the next big thing that has taken years to arrive.
It’s fascinating that some small businesses are trying their hand at sell directly within Facebook while others resist claiming their local Google, Bing and Yahoo pages entirely. Here are five strong reasons small business owners should embrace local SEO.
With more real estate given to local results in Google than ever before, sticking to traditional SEO and PPC means losing out on real estate. Put simply, small businesses with well-placed local rankings get more eyeballs. Go for shelf-space.
Many users view local listings in Google+ and Facebook pages as more authentic than traditional organic results. This is due to the map, address verification, customer reviews, images, and videos that accompany a small business page. Trust is at a premium online and this is one avenue where small businesses don’t have to fight as hard to earn it.
The smartphone is the new yellow pages. Mobile searches as a percentage of total internet traffic gains every month.
Local map listings are excellent for small businesses who want to be found by people on-the-go and with high intent to purchase. Sticking to a traditional SEO strategy may keep you out of the mobile game altogether. Pay attention to the upcoming Apple Maps launch, and make sure you have a mobile-friendly version of your website that’s readable on small form-factor devices.
Conversion rates for prospects searching on local terms tend to be higher than national terms. Geographic proximity increases the odds that the local searcher will click through and then visit the business. Again, the smartphone is the new yellow pages.
Local SEO is low-hanging fruit for a small business trying to fight their way online. Start by claiming, verifying and building up your presence in Google+, Bing and Yahoo. Engage the Facebook audience that is already searching or discussing your category in your geography. People love to support local businesses, capitalize on this opportunity. Ask for reviews and direct people to your local pages whenever possible.
Many small business owners are still quite intimidated by online marketing. The rules change quickly and the barriers to entry can appear high. Local SEO is an obvious choice for any small business who wants an easy path online.
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