Local SEO is an odd duck. It’s hard to fake. It doesn’t play by the same rules. It’s listed reviews carry unheard of clout. And to top it off, a business doesn’t need to a website to rank high. What? Yep. A business can rank in the Google Map results without anything called “page rank.”
The Power of Local SEO in Tough Economic Times
I have a story. The knob on my clothes dryer broke off and because I couldn’t download a new knob, I actually had to find someone who had one. Locating my dryer’s make and model, I Binged for the information (Just kidding, I Googled it). Locating the manufacturer, I find that my replacement knob was going to cost $9.99 plus $5.00 shipping and it will arrive sometime this week.
I had the shopping cart loaded and was about to pull the trigger. But, my wife does the budget and we’re on a strict plan to get out of debt. I ask her what she thinks and she says “isn’t there someplace local you can find it?”
Local? In 1999, no one would think twice before clicking “Buy” and pay the shipping, now when $5 can actually pay for both of us to cook a meal at home, things are a tad different 10 years later. So I search for “appliance parts” in my city and because I can’t justify researching dryer knob providers, I look first for any reviews and location from my home. Wait a second … what did I just do? I used a 21st century piece of technology to look up a 20th century building. What’s going on here? The idea of me getting a new part without shipping made me feel “savvy” and somewhat happy to put money into my local economy.
The Local SEO Game Changer
The list of potential providers didn’t all have websites. In fact, the top ranking ones didn’t have websites, only 3rd party listings. I chose the first business that was closest to me and called. Wait … I used a phone?? Didn’t we always want to use email, or submission forms, for quick transactions and impersonal communication? What’s wrong with me? The first business seemed taken aback by my call. Maybe they were use to 10 years of being snubbed by online distributors. Not being assured of having a successful transaction with them, I moved to the next on my list that was a little farther from me but ranked #1.
As a side note: Do NOT leave a review for a business unless money actually exchanged hands. It’s unfair. If you got a quote or left in a huff, they already lost by not getting your money. Don’t slam them with a 1 star because a quote was expensive. Rant off.
This next business heard my need, looked up the part on their computer, said they had it in stock and told me the price. That was it. I went to go pick it up and the store was clean, well lit and I got my part. A local business without a website, got local money from Local SEO. Brick and Mortar stores should rejoice! Before I set out, I intended to leave a review so I paid closer attention. When I returned, I left a great review with a description – the only one in that category and now I can continue with my laundry. Who knows how many others will need to make a decision based on that local review. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time.
The moral of this story is that if your local business wants to get some more business, keep your online profile up to date. You have one already whether you know it or not. A good place to start is Google.com/lbc.