Now that we have woken up the entire Internet marketing community with this question, I am hoping that the question has been qualified enough as we focus this conversation on the local business dependent upon the local consumer for revenue. Businesses like pharmacies, drug stores, hardware stores, doctors, dentists, restaurants, electricians, plumbers to name a few. Ultimately, a lot of business is local.
In the past 20 years we have focused a lot of energy on getting to the #1 ranked position on any search engine. If we could not get to #1 we wanted to be in the top ten. The amount of energy that goes into updating our website, figuring out the search engine algorithms, link exchanges, content marketing has been staggering. The issue has not been so much about learning what to do or how to do it, but most local businesses do not have the time resources or the financial resources to retain the professional expertise as this process has become more complicated over the years.
The short cut to getting to the first position of the search results or to the top ten list, was to pay your way through sponsored search (a.k.a. pay per click or ppc) advertising. This was not ideal since organic search results were free, but certainly a marketing strategy that was necessary nonetheless. One that certainly could bleed your bank account dry if you didn’t know what you were doing or had limited funds to properly fund the ever increasing price per click.
Companies that have products that can be shipped anywhere and are not dependent upon the local market for their revenue will continue to focus on Internet marketing strategies that include search engine optimization, content marketing, an various Internet advertising options that fit their budget. Even if you are a national chain or brand and need to push your products at the local level, you will want to add local business listings to your marketing strategy. This is not only about the small local business.
So, why is website search engine optimization not required for local listings? The search engines and local listing website directories provide the infrastructure for the web page for your local business content. The only thing the local business has to do is claim (required to use the local listing as a local marketing tool) the listing and update the information with business information, products and services. Of course, it is helpful that the right words are used when entering your information to insure your local listing shows up in the search results.
Once you have the basic information entered you can now begin to add photos, videos, coupons, offers discounts and advertise your promotions too. The good news is that unlike the traditional yellow pages this is not only free, but also allows you the ability to update your information 24x7x365 anytime you wish.
As a local consumer searches for a business, product or service the local listings show up in the search results for web searches as well as for local map searches. As you can imagine there will be a need to get to the top of the list of the local listing results, but the decision process is different, compared to website or web page ranking, and you may not have control over it. One of the factors is based on the local consumers geography compared to your business and other businesses. Another factor will be consumer reviews and the more positive reviews the better.
Another reason why search engine optimization is not a critical factor in local business listing is the data showing up on mobile devices through mobile applications. Because mobile search has gone up by 30% in the past year and will continue to rise, we can see that the local consumer is searching for a business, product or service while they are about town. They will open their favorite mobile application for local information to find what they are seeking close to their current geography.
This is now taking us into the introduction of mobile marketing and mobile applications. Most of the local listing companies have a mobile application that the consumer can use. Third party applications are also plentiful and it is important to understand the mobile application developer will decide what local listing data they will use. For this reason, the local business has to consider being on multiple local listing websites.
Certainly the local business has difficulty with their time resources and managing the local listings at multiple local listing websites will be a potential problem. This is not only about updating the local listing for changes within the business, products and services, but also the consumer reviews that have been on the rise in local listings and in social media. Local Business Listing Management Services are available at a local cost from Internet marketing companies that can use their expertise.
The local business will now have a clear and easy way of using the Internet and mobile marketing in order to tap into technology to market their business, products and services. The stress of trying to get their website in the top 10 for organic searches has been diminished. As the mobile industry changes with 4G networks, improved mobile devices, and the onslaught of consumer mobile applications, the local business will benefit without the need for the traditional yellow pages.