(Screenshot is taken from Google My Business. https://www.google.com/business/)
In a recent study performed by Google, results showed that there is little correlation between traffic and influence where local search is concerned.
While the focus on local SEO and SEM helps publishers to show up in search results, it may not have an influence on whether a user will choose or buy your business. Publishers and marketers need to create consumer experience to achieve influence, which can be done by matching content to the needs of a consumer or based on what they are looking for.
For conversion to take place, location information should help build client engagement and connection.
Location fuels local search conversion
85% of local business engagements are driven by local assets, according to a report by MomentFeed, a company that developed a platform for multi-location brands to manage their entire mobile customer experience.
(Photo by LSA Insider. http://www.lsainsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/COW_6.22.17_Blog_Slideshow_622px.jpg)
Local tactics remain a vital tool for businesses, what with more than 90% of purchases still done in bricks-and-mortar stores. But local conversion starts with location, with distance as a determining factor.
Based on the study, consumer engagement starts on local landing pages, Facebook local pages, and other local assets. They then decide on whether or not to purchase from a specific local business that will result in a conversion.
The chances of businesses to convert local SEO and SEM will vary for a variety of factors. A national consumer study by Access regarding how far shoppers would travel to shop showed that:
- 2% of them are willing to travel 20 minutes or less to buy everyday purchases.
- 83% of urban consumers prefer to travel shorter distances.
- 32% are willing to travel farther if the price is right.
The study also showed that consumers prefer to travel less for purchases they need to make frequently, but clothes and shoes can influence them to drive or travel longer.
On average, the amount of time they are willing to travel from home to shop are as follows:
- 01 for fuel
- 03 for groceries
- 45 for casual dining
- 07 for home and garden services
- 17 for auto service services
- 04 for movies
- 87 for clothes and shoes
Based on the data, consumers prefer to shop in stores that are closer to their homes. Or, on average, in local businesses that are 2 to 4 miles away from their location.
(Photo by Search Engine Land. http://searchengineland.com/figz/wp-content/seloads/2017/08/distance-graphic-800×454.png)
How local businesses can use distance to convert local search results
Even when your shop doesn’t fall within the distance consumers are willing to travel, you can still boost local SEM by focusing on location information.
- Keep local information, such as addresses, cross streets, and maps, highly visible.
- Create local landing pages for every location in your multi-location business, complete with each of their own Google My Business profile.
- Add a location description that different consumers will understand. Aside from an address, include details about the closest cross streets, nearby recognisable stores, etc.
- Tweak local description based on audience type. For example, reference a soccer stadium for soccer fans or a well-known neighbourhood for a specific community.
- Highlight popular landmarks and their proximity to your local business.
- Ditch static maps and use interactive maps to your advantage.