Dominating Local Search
I still remember what it was like before we had every answer a few clicks away. You need to find a plumber? Well, you just grabbed your big Yellow Book and began to look at the big ads or the alphabetic listings starting with AAA Plumbing, Inc.. There were no reviews, no pictures of the business and typically the directions sucked.
But back then books like the Yellow Pages were actually useful, and used on a pretty regular basis. Now, I can’t seem to remember the last time I opened a Yellow Pages.
Wait… I did swat a fly with one last summer. But here in a minute I will show you how these old books could make you some money in 2012.
Did I get your attention yet? Good.
But before we dive in you may be wondering…
What In The Heck Is Local Search?
Well local search can be defined as anything that is searched online with a intent to find or buy something locally… or a better way to put it.
What + Where = Local Search
Which basically means it’s anything with the goal to find something in a local place. So visitors are seeking information online, but buying offline. This typically is in the form of a search with a geo qualifier, that’s fancy talk for city, state, county, or zip code. But here’s where the plot thickens…
According to comScore, 66% of Americans use online search engines to locate offline businesses and 90% of all online commercial searches result in offline brick & mortar purchase. Hmmm interesting.
Plus, way back in 2007 Google stated that 73% of activity online is in one way or another “related to local content”. (That was 5 years ago!)
Since then Google has introduced it’s places, maps, and more and more local offerings to businesses. Obviously they know the numbers, and the numbers don’t lie. Those little streams of local traffic add up to big numbers.
And not only that, local small businesses are catching on fast. Take a look at this. Small businesses are slowly shifting their ad spend to online media.
But there is good reason for it, and a good reason you are reading this blog. Online marketing works, plain and simple.
But here’s the warning. The time to act is now, because the window of opportunity is quickly closing. Take a look at the numbers of businesses already online.
And just recently Yelp! announced it’s 100 million dollar IPO. So what does all this mean? Simple. There is money in local search and businesses are wanting to have a bigger presence online. Anyway you can help them achieve that goal you create a true WIN – WIN.
How you do this is simple. You help them dominate “local” search terms that bring in leads and sales. But here’s where it gets a little tricky. Local keywords are deceiving.
At first glance at the handy dandy Google Keyword Tool, you would think. “Crap! There is hardly any traffic.” Well this is where everyone’s thinking has been flawed.
It doesn’t take 10,000 monthly searches for a local business to make a lot of money.
In fact, a trickle of good targeted leads can make a company extremely profitable all year long. (I’m talking only 1-3 leads per month, sometimes less)
This means having 30 local searches is NOT a small number. If 10% call, this is a big winner for the local business.
So here’s what I’m going to do. I want to hook you up with some research and tips that’s going to jump start your chances of dominating local search in 2012. First I’m going to share with you…
The Top 33 Local Search Terms
- Injury Attorney
- Real Estate
- Cosmetic Dentist
- Criminal Lawyer
- Accident Lawyer
- Electrical Contractor
- Remodeling Contractors
- Implant Dentist
- Teeth Whitening
- Car rental
- Web Design
Now I find this list a little funny. First of all I see a lot of keywords related to bars or night life, and then a lot for attorney and lawyers. Wonder if those are related. Lol
So here’s how we compiled this list. Using a keyword tool I will not disclose publicly my team went and researched the top 5 cities in the United States for common keywords using the city modifier. So for example “Attorney in Chicago”. This is the list we came up with. Use this list as a jumping off point for local niches. But this is not exhaustive, this is just the most searched. Typically there are two types of local keywords.
High Traffic / Low Customer Value or Low Traffic / High Customer Value. I prefer the lower traffic, low competition keywords.
Hint: See #33 is Web Design. Businesses need your help!
Here’s How To Build A Local Keyword List
1) Use “Non-Local” Keywords – Start out in the keyword tool with general broad terms that people would search first. This is going to reveal how people would really be looking for a business online.
2) Search The Big Cities – Use the nearest big city to get more ideas. Then modify those terms with your local area. Remember a trickle of traffic is still valuable with local search.
3) Use that old Yellow Book for ideas – Yup it’s still useful. Wipe the cobwebs off it, and take a look at what categories they use, and what language businesses use in their ads.
4) Use GEO Modifiers – Once you have your list of keywords, modify them with city, state, county, and zip code. Get surrounding areas as well. Here is a free tool to help you out.
But here is something I found really interesting. It is estimated that 35-50% of people looking to buy offline are searching by business name. Of course there is still a big opportunity for the keywords and categories searches, but an often forget opportunity is the business names themselves.
I recently found a new piece of software to help me take advantage of those 35-50% of people. After doing some test, I was shocked how easy it was to rank for these terms. So if you are looking to Dominate Local, check this out.