Thursday 30th of July 2020

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In a previous article about search listening, we mentioned the importance of analysing your audience’s queries on search engines. In this article, we’re going to have a more in depth look at another strand of search engine marketing (SEM), called local search marketing or local SEO. Higher conversion rates and lower price sensitivity are the main characteristics of local searches, so what drives this type of search and how to get the most out of it? Read on.

In a web conference hosted by Google Omnichannel Measurement Specialist, Gregor Fan-Plath, the tech giant revealed that, today, local searches represent almost 50% of total Google search queries. Google recorded 1.1 trillion local searches in 2020. And the main driver behind this is… coronavirus! 

In the past months, Google recorded a surge in local searches due to millions of people being forced to stay at home under strict travel restrictions. Under such circumstances, local marketing became more important than ever. On top of that, people are now looking to support local and small businesses who have been affected by the crisis. 

Of course, the pandemic is not the only reason behind the rise in local searches, this type of query is still a strong trend. Local searches are experiencing a continuous growth, as Google continues to update its software to make it more user friendly and adapt to the demand for local products and services. Google’s specialist Gregor identified the three major trends that drive the Age of “near me” as they call it. 

Rise of local intent
82% of local searches are unbranded, consumers are driven by the what, not the who. This means that people are more interested in what is around them, rather than who is around them. As an example, if you are looking for an italian restaurant in your area and there is no big name around, you will be more likely to search for “italian restaurant near me” than “Zizzi restaurant near me”. The reason why is because people are often after convenience more than brands. This is very true especially when people are on the move, they will likely look for the nearest grocery store or the nearest restaurant.

Increase in complexity and pace
This describes something that many of us have adopted, sometimes without even noticing it. The usage of a second screen, sometimes even a third screen, while watching TV has become the new normal. The consumer journey is not linear, and people use different platforms, on different devices. From a marketer’s perspective, it is important to bear in mind the importance of integrated marketing communications. Without a well-planned strategy, involving multi-channel communications, reaching an audience is like shooting in the dark. 

Dominance of social validation
Online reputation plays a major role in the customer journey. Indeed, 97 % of consumers say that reviews influence their buying decision and 88% of consumers say that they trust online reviews. Google displays a “three pack” for all local searches. In other words, it displays the three most relevant local businesses to your query, and also displays those businesses review scores. Keeping on top of reviews and replying is a way to show you’re here to support your customers through their buying journey. More importantly, responding to Google reviews will help improve your local SEO, which means your business will be more likely to show up in the local search results.

If you want to start promoting your business locally, we’ve selected for you two ways to optimise your local marketing using local ads. 

Google local ad campaigns
The ads appear across a number of Google’s properties; YouTube, Display, Maps, and Search. They also allow consumers to access the inventory on Google Maps.

Uberall “Near Me” ads
On top of gathering reviews from all sources, Uberall recently launched a feature which allows small and large businesses to run and manage local ads at scale. The ads are scalable from one single location to thousands of locations. 

If you need assistance or advice with local SEO, get in touch today!



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