Google is now the main storefront for every business. From awareness, to consideration, to conversion, and finally advocacy — learn how large brands can take advantage of their many locations on Google to drive more offline sales.
At Google’s 2016 Performance Summit, Google recently shared several statistics to show just how big an influence it has, even over businesses that operate entirely in the real world. There are now 3.5 billion total searches every day, and half of these are on mobile devices. Even more interesting for physical businesses: 30% of all these mobile searches are also “local searches.”
Local Search: Google shows special results for an openended search for goods or services when it knows your location. Or when you add a phrase like “near me” or “Tribeca.”
Does all this mobile, location-centric search translate into real-world business outcomes?
- 60% of all U.S. web searches originate from Google.
- 28% of nearly searches lead to in-store purchase.
- 80% of local searches on mobile lead to some kind of conversion.
- 57% greater chance of visit if found via mobile search.
Google’s Path To Purchase – Location Guides The Way From Discovery to Sale
Step 1: Awareness
If you sell goods and services at a real-world location, the new truth is that your Google presence reaches more people than your website. It’s now normal for brands to see 10x as much traffic on their Google listings as on their own website, because mobile consumers overwhelmingly look to Google and “nearby” searches for information.
How can you boost your local signal on Google?
While Google does not disclose exactly how it determines search rank, there are three core principles for local search optimization that reliably strengthen rankings:
Accuracy: Your name. Your address. Your phone numbers. Your attirbutes. It’s essential to keep your basic info up to date, from your hours of operation, to your website, your latitude and longitude, and business categories.
Consistency: Google checks many sources to verify your location details, including your website, local pages on Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, and data aggregators like Factual and InfoGroup. Consistent information brings higher rankings.
Recency: Google also rewards recently published content and recent signs of engagement — likes, shares, and comments from your fans. Keep in mind that customer reviews are also a big factor that can put you ahead or behind.
The local “Three-Pack”
Your goal: maximize how often you appear in Google’s cluster of top-3 results. Why? 72% of the time, people choose from the three-pack.
Local picture, local scale
Multi-location brands face a special challenge for local SEO. Google prefers thorough info from each location, updated on Facebook, Yelp, etc, Google also checks for recent local content and reviews.
30% of 1.75B daily mobile searches are “local”.
Step 2: Consideration
Google My Business listings go beyond name, address, and phone number. The deeper details help you match with discerning customers who are weighing different options. If you’ve invested in unique or popular amenities at your locations, from patios to WiFi, it’s important to promote those features on Google.
How can you beat nearby competitors on Google?
Consumers with specific needs can easily refine their search to filter the options further: only a 1-mile radius, price constraints, hours, has-delivery, etc. From there, they browse through suggested results in a listings summary Google fills with key details.
Consumers use narrow search and listing summaries in their comparison process to hone in on a best-fit for their specific needs. Keeping your details accurate and complete helps you match with as many well qualified customers as possible.
On Closer Inspection
By claiming your listing, you can use Google My Business to manage the details people see on your expanded listing within Maps or in the Knowledge Graph beside results in Search. Edit your hours, category, attributes, and the photos in the top carousel. If you don’t claim your listing, Google relies on user data to fill in these details for you.
Because Google gives users so much control over content, this isn’t a one-time activity. Not only do you need to maintain current information for holiday hours, changes to your offering, store closings, openings, etc. You’ll also need to regularly patrol for duplicate listings created by local managers, or changes suggested by customers which can be off-brand or inaccurate.
New in Google My Business 3.0: Attributes
People now refine searches for more detail. Have a drive-thru? How about WiFi? Do you serve alcohol? On a patio? The more Attributes you provide, the more Google promotes you to discerning customers deeper into consideration. This is a big deal for voice-assisted search.
82% of mobile users turn to search to find a local business.
Step 3: Conversion
After you succeed with Step 1 and Step 2, you’ve got to be sure people can find their way to your front door in order to finally become a customer. Google offers best-in-class navigation support. Better still, Google Analytics helps you track conversions to continuously learn about your customers, react to trends in the market, and improve the efficiency of your ad spend.
How can you show real-world results on Google?
You won’t convert customers that cannot find your front door. It’s important to maintain accurate latitude/longitude coordinates for GPS navigation, especially for complicated addresses inside malls or
partner stores. If customers get lost or end up at the loading dock, they will make their way to your competitor instead. Make sure they find your front door when they use Google Maps to get directions.
Remember Google’s overall impact? 75% of “nearby” searches lead to a visit, and 28% lead to a purchase. If you’re wondering how your own metrics might compare against these benchmarks, Google Analytics can
show you. They can also show you when paid ads convert to in-person visits. Or when organic impressions convert to phone calls or clicks for map directions, great stats to help you better understand your customers and your marketing performance.
76% of nearby searches lead to a visit within a day.
Step 4: Advocacy
Reviews are a huge opportunity to validate your business. Google gives reviews approximately 10% weight toward local search rank, which can easily make the difference between a top result and page 2. Likewise, 90% of consumers say they base their buying decisions on online reviews. Your best reviews come from the customers who just used Google to find you – it’s a virtuous circle.
How can you turn customers into fans on Google?
Reviews affect search rankings on Google, and they influence consumers who are deciding whether to head your way or go with a competitor. Maintaining strong reviews supports many steps on the path to purchase, which is why you should engage with your reviews. Address concerns, provide positive reinforcement for great reviewers, etc.
By replying to reviews, you can encourage more positive ratings and even recover some negative ones simply by creating a healthy dialogue. Do this right, and your improved ratings will further validate your business to Google and to potential customers.
New in Google My Business 3.0: All Your Reviews
Google no longer requires you to go to each location’s Google My Business portal separately to manage reviews. Brands with many locations can benefit from tools like MomentFeed to aggregate reviews, and even use dynamic fields like <> or <> to tailor replies by location. This can help you share the task of monitoring reviews between different teams, at the national and local level.
90% of consumers use online reviews to decide what to buy.
Be there at every step
Consumers start forming their opinion about your business on Google. They experience your brand during a “local search”, and again when they skim a location’s Google business listing while weighing their options. Finally, they use Google Maps to navigate to the front door.
Each step a customer takes on their path to a purchase sets their expectations for your brand before they walk on-site. And each of these steps now relies on listing info from Google My Business. It is more important than ever to take control of your local presence on Google.
By taking a local approach, brands can use Google to raise awareness, beat competitors, drive foot traffic, and turn customers into fans. Big brands face the toughest challenge adapting to this new world of local-level engagement. But they also have the most to gain by capitalizing on this opportunity across their many locations.
Source from MomentFeed