When you listen to the SEO and digital marketing evangelists out there 9 out of 10 will try and convince you that local Internet marketing is all about your website and it’s Google rankings. They will tell you, that you have to be on the 1st page in the top 5 listings to get your share of the traffic that this position can bring.
But being a local businessman and Internet marketing consultant myself I can tell you that SEO and organic Google ranking means very little to the chiropractor, plumber or electrician in their neighbourhood lets say within a 15km radius from where they operate from and more than 80% of people in that area do their business in.
How can I say that, you ask?
Take a look at the screenshot below…
You will notice that for the search term “chiropractor cape town” more than 80% of the 1st page of Google is taken up by Adwords (PPC) – incidently how Google makes 90% plus of their billions – and Google Place a free business listing any local business owner can claim.
The same SEO evangelists will tell you that your chances on any of the traffic reduces drastically the moment your website listing drops below the fold (bottom half of the screen you have to scroll to see), which in this case meant that only the no.1 organic listing showed above the fold on my 20″ monitor, somewhat dilutes the importance of SEO then doesn’t it?
Add to this the fact that all this traffic you are promised by SEO’s actually means nothing unless it’s converted to a lead and eventually a sale. Which goes to prove it is more important to focus on lead generation and conversion in local Internet marketing than on website rankings and traffic.
Organic ranking is but 1 of 3 methods of getting on the 1st page of Google and it’s by far the most tedious, least effective and often most expensive way to get leads in your local area.
PLUS add to this Google’s consistent efforts to cancel out spam and underhand SEO tactics with a zoo of algorithim updates, Panda, Penguin you name it. These algorithm shifts puts organic listings on a never ending roller coaster and far too uncertain for local business to invest the bulk of their Internet marketing budgets in.
This marketing money is far better utilised using marketing methods that actually generate leads and follow up campaigns that actually result in sales.
Paid adwords advertising and Google Place for Business is by looks of it the fastest and most cost effective way for your corner store to get leads and sales from your neighbourhood.
The great thing with adwords (PPC) and Google Places is that it’s immediately mobile friendly and seeing that 50% plus of local searches happens from mobile devices you are covered here as well, which unfortunatley is not true from the bulk of local business websites.
SEO definately has it’s place but that place is more for national and international Internet marketing.
All the big Internet search and social role players like Google and Facebook actively focuses on delivering laser targeted, accurate local results because they know this is what you and I want from them.
Think for yourself how often you use Google to find information and how annoying it is when you don’t find relevant local information. Now make sure that you give your local clients what they want, accurate local solutions to their pressing needs.
It has already been calculated that local search has an 84% plus economic intend, yes that means if a prospect contacts you from the Internet they are more than 80% ready to do business, can you afford not to be where your clients are looking.
It pains me to see how local business wast R1000’s on useless flyers (not to mention tyhe damage to the environment) in desperate attempts to scare up some business where they could take that money and invest it into a well constructed local Intenet marketing campaign and actually get a ROI.