Google Maps & Places is a Silent Seller you need.
A few years ago, at the 2007 Strategic Advertising Summit, Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, predicted yellow pages usage would drop to near zero by the year 2012 for people under the age of 50. Gates’ prediction seems to be coming true as the yellow pages are beginning to see double digit declines in advertising sales, as their former users and a entire Generation of Gen X & Y consumers are now turning to a faster, friendlier and easier way to find local businesses—the Internet.
And while the Internet is the bane of the yellow pages’ demise, with a 65.8% market-strangling hold on Internet searches, it is Google that is leading the way as a Silent Seller.
Google Places is a Silent Seller
Simply put, Google is a Silent Seller which has become the new “yellow pages.” When you compare their market-dominating 65.8% of explicit core US Internet searches to their nearest competitor, Yahoo, with an unremarkable 17.1%, and Bing growing with 11.0% of Internet searches, the case is made that every local business should concentrate all their Internet marketing efforts on Google and Google alone. (Comscore,July 2010)
Let’s face it. If your business does not show up on Google, you are basically invisible to the world. And, if your business can’t be found on the first two pages of Google, you (almost) don’t exist because 83% of online searches do not make it past the bottom of Google’s second page.
If you own a business and that business relies on a customer base in your local area, then it’s time to ditch traditional thinking and get a Silent Seller in the Local Search functions of Google, as well as emerging social media and location based services.
Take a look at these stats:
• 73% of all online activity is related to local content (Google)
• 66% of Americans use the Internet to find local businesses (Comscore)
• 54% of Americans have replaced their phone books (yellow pages) with Internet searches (Comscore)
• 82% of local searchers follow up with their search by phone call and/or walk-in (TMP / Comscore)
• 43% of search engine users are seeking a local merchant with the intent of buying in their local area
• Facebook is growing at a rate faster than Google and its users are stickier with more time on the site
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A Silent Seller in Local Search Marketing is Cost-Effective
As a local business, you have a huge, wide-open opportunity to dominate your local competition by getting a free, prominent listing at the top of Google, using Google’s local search features. Google has spent a large investment on becoming the most relevant search engine to its users, as it understands that if you live in Calgary and you do a search for pizza, they know you want a pizza place in Calgary—not in Detroit.
You have likely noticed recently that when you do a search on Google, often times your search results include a local area map with several local business listings next to it. These listings are easily identified because they contain prominent map markers next to each of those listings. These listings are also easily noticed because Google places them at the very top of the search results.
So just how you determine whether or not a search has local intent?
1. The searcher uses geographic modifiers: instead of a search for “plumber,” the search includes a specific location to specify the location for which they are seeking a plumber: “Detroit plumber” or “plumber in Detroit.”
2. Google uses your IP address to determine your location and returns results based on their estimate of your location coupled with what they determine to be a query with local intent.
This happens when Google identifies your search as originating from a specific place (or a specific place is made as part of the specified search) and that search includes a Google local search category for that geographic area. These results come from the Google Maps database.
As you can see on the screenshot above , I did a search for a “place” that included a “business category” recognized by Google. Google, in turn, returned relevant, local businesses listings relating to my search. More importantly, these results are at the very top of the search results!
Studies have shown over and over again that being at the top of Google correlates with more traffic, more exposure, more authority and more business. And if you own a local business, this is where you want to be. In the days when the yellow pages were the dominating “go to” source for finding local businesses, this top Google maps listing is the equivalent to a full color, full page listing.
Local search can best be described as any online search that takes the place of a traditional search involving the local phonebook’s yellow pages. Local search is often categorized as a search being made with the intention on finding something (business, product, service) in a specific geographic. More specifically, local search can be identified by searching online for a transaction that will occur offline in one’s local area.
More simply put, if you live in Calgary and you do an online search for a plumber or a pizza, the search engines understand that you want to find a plumber or pizza in the Calgary area—not in Detroit! And because the search engines know where you are (using your IP address) they can now dish out the most relevant information for your search term.
For more about your Silent Seller campaign and what you can do to be where your customers are contact The Silent Seller for a free half-hour consultation . Click on the contact tab at the top of the page and let the Silent Seller know how we can help.