80% of consumers research online before purchasing

Small Business Advice 11 June 2014

Making sure your website ranks as high as possible in search engines has long been understood as one of the key aspects of e-commerce.

However, a much newer development is local search, which has become more and more prevalent as Google has expanded its range of services.

The search giant now provides maps and directions for consumers and is continually revising its algorithms to ensure the quality of the results it provides to users.

Local search is becoming increasingly important even as e-commerce expands in popularity. For a variety of reasons, a large number of consumers prefer to make purchases in a physical store, but this does not preclude them from conducting research and locating a retailer online beforehand.

Indeed, an infographic from BrandBrella reveals four out of five customers do just this before buying products from a store within a 10 to 20 mile radius.

This highlights the need to ensure your site performs well in local search and one of the key ways to do this is through Google Places.

Of course, as this is a Google offering, it is no surprise that the search engine gives preference to retailers using its service effectively. It’s also free, so there is no real reason not to at least attempt to make the most of it.

The process simply involves providing your address, contact phone number and a link to your website. Each listing will also have a section where customers can review your goods and services, so it is obviously important to ensure satisfaction levels are high.

Similar to regular search, it can be difficult to ensure you rank highly for certain terms, but with many companies failing to take advantage of this method and very little in the way of downside risk, it is something that really should form part of any SEO or content marketing strategy.

Another service owned by Google that can have benefits is YouTube. The ability to geo-tag your videos means your site will receive a local search boost, while product reviews and guides will also help to increase your brand authority – another key consideration for the search giant.

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