Where local businesses once simply put a sign out in front of their establishment, and hoped that people would stop in, they can now reach out to people in the area and actively encourage them to visit. When, for example, a group of people are out walking through town. If they decide they would like to stop for lunch, they aren’t just going to walk to the first place they see anymore. They will pull out their phones and type in a query about either the type of food they want, or just local restaurants in general. If a restaurant in the area has optimized their site for local searches properly, they will be displayed to these customers, who will very likely walk on over.
How does Local SEO Work on Mobile Devices
When typing in a query on a computer it is typically important to include geographic qualifiers like the city name or zip code if you want only local results (though that is not always true). With mobile phones, however, Google and the other search engines can gather your current location from the device’s GPS. This is used to provide very targeted results to the individuals searching. Google can list different results for the same query based on where they are physically located at the time.
One of the most common things people are doing with their smart phones today is including the ‘near me’ qualifier. Typing in, for example, “Italian restaurants near me” will allow Google to find all the Italian restaurants and display them based on how close they are to you. Of course, if a restaurant hasn’t managed their website’s local SEO well, they won’t come up in the list. When people can’t find the restaurant online, they are far less likely to frequent it in person. This, of course, applies to all types of local businesses.
Google Places & Other Local Services
In addition to quickly providing people who are searching in your area with a link to your business, many queries will trigger Google and the other search engines to display additional information. Google Places, for example, will show your business on a map, the address, phone number and even reviews written about your business. This is a great way to provide potential customers with all the information they need so they are ready to come right to your store. Whether you’re looking to get them to come in, or give you a call on the phone, local SEO is more important today than ever because of the popularity of smart phones and other mobile devices.