I have a question for you: When was the last time you searched for a local service?
Think back to what you typed into your search engine. Depending on what you were looking for, you probably used search terms like “dentists near me” or “Vet North Sydney.”
Am I right?
Now, you may already know this, but these simple searches are a vital source of prospective customers for local practices. Let me explain further…
The rise of local SEO
Deciding which marketing or advertising channel to invest in is always a difficult process, especially since local publishing took a nose dive in the past few years, and traditional marketing methods were rendered practically ineffective.
But I’m here to tell you that hope is not lost: the internet is now a primary avenue of customer acquisition.
Search engines like Google have integrated local listings with customer testimonials, maps, access to contact information and so on – and are now the go-to resource for local service providers.
What does this mean for you and your business? In essence, executing a vibrant and consistent local SEO strategy is now practically compulsory if you want to acquire local patients.
Don’t believe me? Here are some stats to prove why:
Know what you’re after? Jump to the section:
1. Search Engines are today’s primary channel for local business marketing
Take a look at these stats from BrightLocal:
- Most consumers (86%) rely on the internet to find a local business
- And almost a third (29%) search for local businesses at least once a week
- 72% of consumers say search is their first choice to find information on local merchants (Source: BrightLocal)
It’s pretty clear: The marketplace majority is using search engines to seek out local businesses.
2. First Page Google Rankings are the key to success
- Google retains 85.8% of search traffic (94.5% on mobile!)
- Almost half (46%) of all searches on Google are local
- The majority (75%) of searchers never scroll beyond the first page of results(Source: Hubspot, Search Engine Journal, Net Market Share)
Figure 1: SEO Can Greatly Improve Your Local Exposure
In light of these statistics (particularly the one that 75% of users never make it beyond the first results page), local businesses are becoming increasingly competitive with their SEO.
If your business operates in a crowded local market, such as a high proliferation of dentists or accountants, strong rankings – particularly on Google – can be what makes or breaks your marketing strategy.
3. Sales really are driven by local search
- When patients search for a practice, they are primarily focused on location
- Local searches drive half of mobile users to physically visit a business within 24 hours
- 1 in 3 of these mobile users’ decisions are made before setting foot in the business
- And 18% of local mobile searches lead to sales within a day (Source: Bright Local & Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal)
Figure 2: There is no question that SEO is changing; but SEO traffic is still the primary source of lead generation.
I know from many years of SEO and marketing experience that the aim of every practice’ strategy is simple: to get tangible results and a measurable return on investment. And with growing populations in transit through multiple areas every day, we need to find effective ways of reaching these burgeoning and shifting local markets. More and more, local SEO is the best way to realise this goal.
The link between local searches, visits, and sales is undeniable, and will continue to grow and change as mobile and voice search strategies evolve.
Invest in local SEO for the best results
If there’s anything I’ve learnt, it is this: stats and expertise that point so clearly towards an answer are rare, and must be taken advantage of immediately.
The numbers and findings explored above are undeniable: Investing in a local SEO strategy is a vital opportunity to add lasting value to your local practice, especially as SEO only grows and becomes more competitive.
For those able to seize this opportunity, ultimate traffic and revenue growth await. It doesn’t mean it’s a quick fix or an easy solution, but with a bit of hard work and the right team behind you, the outcomes will be worth every bit of investment.
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