Rewind maybe a decade ago, online marketing was all about going international and it was beyond our imagination that that huge explosion outward would result in recoil. But not in a bad way
Today, good internet marketers have studied the explosion and have become savvy enough to grasp this and have sturdy plans in place to instead of focusing merely on the international market but to also place more of that focus on going local.
It is great that internet markets know that it will do the business good to quickly claim a spot on Google Places. What they should also know is that it goes beyond merely listing their business on Google Places, place a picture, and write a short description. After listing it, they continue to focus on general search queries. For example, if one had a business in KL selling crystal gems, there is often failure to focus on keywords like ‘crystal gems kuala lumpur’, and they continue to optimize their website for ‘online purchase crystal gems’.
I have been in the internet marketing industry for five years now and I don’t find many people raving on and on about Google Search. But why should Google Local Search be at the tip of everyone’s tongue?
In 2010 (I do wish that I could get my hands on the stats on Google Local Search for 2011), Google made a crucial decision to change the name of their Google Business Center to Google Places. One would have thought that it was merely a marketing ploy, i.e. ‘Places’ sounds so much more catchy than ‘Business Center’. To be honest, when the news was released, it didn’t even cause a single ripple in the big WWW ocean. However, the stats that came with the press release was a completely different story altogether.
- More than 4 million businesses listed with Google were claimed by the owners using the Local Business Center…which is, of course, as mentioned, is now Google Places.
- It was reported that nearly 20% of the searches done on Google was geo-location-related. This means, people wanted to find results related to their location or region.
- At that time, there was already a whopping 50 million Places pages.
- Interestingly, the businesses listed in Google Places were very ‘offline’ businesses like tailors, restaurants, optometrists. People also hit Google to find public places and amenities like dog parks, transit stations and baseball fields.
- Unbeknownst to many people, Google Places pages were viewed millions of times, every single day.
- 40% of the people who used Google Maps used them on the move, on their mobile phones (and now even more with the rapid acceptance of tablets).
- There are 150 million Google Maps mobile users.
- It was also reported that Google’s GPS services to plan their routes, they save more than 2 years off the road. (I think this is what you meant)
- 3 million people chose to rate businesses and attractions on Google Hotpot ever since it was introduced.
- 20% of the searches performed using Google search engine are for local information.
The Benefits of Google Local Search
It is very simple. It saves your company cost. As we all know, buying space in our local offline directory, Yellow Pages, (which is a costly yearly affair, I assure you) it is a much better idea to simply list your business on Google Places and then spend some time and money optimizing your website for it. Listing the business for it completely free, by the way.
Modern people prefer to perform a search online rather than look into the Yellow Pages. It is amazing but it is true – online Local Search services have quickly taken over the job of Yellow Pages in a blinding speed. From now on, this will be the way people looked for local companies and businesses. If they wanted to find a restaurant to book a table at for a birthday, they go to Google and not peruse the bulky pages of Yellow Pages.
The explosive growth of the internet goes hand-in-hand with the popularity of using mobile phones and on-the-go devices like laptops and tablets to explore the internet. People are reliant on their mobile devices because of convenience and sheer practicality and they use it as their source of information for almost everything. The way I see it now, local search will only grow bigger and better.
And to you, as a business owner, it means that you will need to keep growing with it online too, rather than stick to the traditional way of doing things.
Increase your company brand exposure
I can safely assure you that compared to Yellow Pages (the same goes for Yellow Pages’ online directory), there is more traffic on Google Local Search.
Save your time
This is no mystery at all – Google keeps making their general and local search engines better. More teams are hired, more research done, more improvements made….which results in more accurate results. And the reason for these constant improvements is to make it easier and easier for end-users to find local companies. The effort to diligently enhance the system is for more accurate and up-to-date information that will be brought to your screen whenever you are trying to find something LOCAL on Google.
With that and analytics tools, it is now completely possible to track your local search effectiveness too.
Increase your Sales
This is a fact that I am sure should not be a surprise for anyone. Many purchases are done within 20 miles of one’s home. It is hard to find someone (although it is possible) who would intentionally drive a hundred miles away from one’s home just to buy something like….say, a present for their friend or a home product like detergent.
As you can see now, how critical it has become to ensure that your presence on local search result pages stand out.
In the next newsletter, I will share with your how to utilize Google Local Search for your business so that when your consumers are looking for something that you are selling on Google, you are ahead of your local competitors.