The Value of Local Search Results.
The myriad online opportunities today for businesses to promote themselves and their products and services are often under-utilised. One of these is the Local Search of search engines, a concept that has been gaining in popularity over the last year. Internet users are discovering the benefits of entering geographic terms into the search query, such as zip code or town. This ensures that results will be more focused and meaningful to the user; it also shows the results as a cluster on a local map, enabling the user to choose those results located nearest to them.
This map feature is a vital element in the Local Search concept. Research has shown that the location of a business is a major factor for people when deciding where to shop or visit. The reality of consumer spending today is that most people do not actually purchase goods or services online, but research what is on offer and then purchase in person within about three months. It is vital for businesses to maintain a strong online presence by way of their websites or blogs, as the more user-friendly and informative their online company is, the more likely it is that the consumer will eventually make their purchase there. It is expected that every business would have a website for the consumer to research; if there is no website found, the company will usually be dismissed by the user in favour of those providing online information.
The first thing that companies need to establish is whether they appear on the search results pages. If not, steps need to be taken to rectify this situation, such as hiring a Search Engine Optimisation manager. A lack of online visibility may lead to the loss of hundreds of potential customers.
The more details and information provided on your website, the more likely it is that the customer will enjoy their browsing experience and follow up on it in person. Practical information such as opening hours and store locations should always be provided, along with contact details and payment options. Product and services information is desirable, as well as details of any special offers available.
Research has shown that consumers who carry out their research online are usually better-educated and higher earners than those who do not research companies online. These online customers also tend to make larger purchases. The likelihood of attracting more customers, and customers that might be more likely to make big purchases, is a huge incentive for companies to optimise their online presence, particularly in the area of local search results.