Post by Jordan Horsman, SEO & Content Account Manager
Local search is growing. According to Google, the internet is a key resource for finding local businesses, with 80% of Australian customers using search engines to discover local services and 24% using maps to locate the physical address. With Australian smartphone usage last year hitting an estimated 80% market penetration, being visible for “on-the-go” local searches has never been so important for both customer acquisition and retention.
For local-intent searches, Google’s map pack is regularly presented first to the user on both desktop and mobile results. Optimising a brand’s presence within the SERP’s real estate is vital to connect with its target audience at the first possible instance.
Optimising For Local Search: The Trust Factor
Google uses the searcher’s proximity to the business as the primary ranking factor for map pack and map search results. Although you can’t do a great deal about changing the location of a searcher, you can ensure that Google trusts the location of your business and the services you offer. Google uses the E-A-T framework (Expertise, Authority and Trust) to provide the highest quality of search results. Building a relationship of trust with this search giant helps promote a business to Google, which in turn provides more reasons to promote the business through high rankings.
The national opportunity for data integrity in Google Maps is substantial, with core business information such as opening times, business categories and phone numbers often missing from map listings. Missing data erodes Google’s confidence in ranking a business map listing vs. a competitor.
The large amount of data missing from businesses located in Melbourne CBD
To establish this trust and improve rankings, brands should leverage the following points:
Optimising content for search is now synonymous with optimising content for sales. Consequently, building trust with search engines also builds trust with customers, improving engagement and subsequent conversions. Ensuring brand data and content is optimised at all online touchpoints provides cross-channel opportunities with offline advertising activity.
When potential customers are exposed to out-of-home media or commercials, what do you want them to experience when translating this offline discovery into an online search? Meeting these customers with accurate online data and a consistent professional brand image translates this initial awareness and interest into a store visit or online sale.
Local search continues to grow in Australia with smartphone usage resulting in “on-the-go” searches being easily translatable to store visits. Data accuracy across the web offers the most brand-influenced signal to improve trust with search engines and ensure proximity equals visibility in the map pack.
Interested in maximising your business presence in local search? Contact Performics today.