An increase in targeted marketing, and the growing prevalence in the usage of mobile devices has lead to a rethinking of what strategies work best in local search campaigns. Customers are calling local businesses directly from search results, without the traditionally trackable action of visiting the business’s website. So how do businesses improve their local search strategy while measuring campaign effectiveness?

These questions led us to the question on the mind of many small businesses, “How can my business show up in local search results?” For the answers, we tapped our own local search guru and Director of Partnerships, Mark Sullivan, as well as Powered by Search’s SEO expert and partner, Matthew Hunt.

In our first #LeadGapChat, “Get Noticed in Local Search” we focused on seven questions on the topic of local search tips, tricks, and tools. Here’s what we learned:

Question 1 Recap: Depending on what your campaign goals are, some hard and fast metrics to consider when measuring your effectiveness are lead acquisition costs, visibility in search engines, number of phone calls, and increases in search traffic and revenue. If your company uses call tracking for these campaigns, the First Time Caller KPI will also be useful.

Question 2 Recap: For the sake of local SEO, one location should display one number for search. Save showing multiple phone numbers for other marketing activities. Mark expands further on this topic in the article What You Need to Know About Call Tracking & Local SEO.

Question 3 Recap: Reviews are essential and can move the dial with as few as 5 reviews. It should be considered as one of the most important factors in local SERP. User experiences aid in conversions and are powerful tools in the decision-making process for potential customers. As Mark sees it, reviews have become the new “word of mouth”.

Question 4 Recap: Your website should be mobile-friendly but ideally, it should be responsive, according to Matthew. He says Google is “all cards in” when it comes to mobile, as calls are worth much more than just clicks. A simple web design makes it easier to view on a mobile device.

Because of the mobile friendly nature of search, click-to-call with a local ad extension is a must. According to Mark, “all of the location extensions for AdWords incorporate great CTA’s for mobile search conversions.” – Mark

Question 5 Recap: Our experts unanimously agree that reviews are hugely influential when it comes to ranking but they won’t do the job alone. Mark suggests that local markup schema helps businesses take up more SERP real estate with review snippets, location snippets, etc. NAP consistency is also important for Google map rankings. Porting your current number can help you track calls and maintain NAP consistency at the same time. Additionally, local back links and a mobile responsive website help to stand out.

Question 6 Recap: With a slew of options at your fingertips, our team selected the best tools for the job. Mark suggests Whitespark for citation cleanup, BrightLocal for competitive analysis, and CallRail for call tracking. In addtion to CallRail, Matthew added Google Analytics, Positionly, and Google Webmaster Tools.

Question 7 Recap: Measuring foot-traffic is incredibly manual and comes down to people-counters and managing Excel spreadsheets. Call tracking is easy and measures conversions from phone calls to help fill in gaps left when potential customer pick up the phone, rather than complete an online form.

Matthew shares an article about the new reality of shopping. Digital drives in store traffic and your customer’s smartphones are the new shopping assistant. Make sure your website is mobile friendly!

Thank you to our experts Matthew Hunt and Mark Sullivan. If you have any other tips or questions about local search strategy let us know in the comments below, we look forward to seeing you at the next #LeadGapChat!

  • myles anderson

    Great post and thanks for including BrightLocal in it.

    You touch briefly on Reviews as a ranking factor. It’s also worth noting that reviews are more powerful as a conversion factor in attracting searchers to click/contact a business. Reviews also influence eventual purchase; we did a big study this year that found that 92% of consumers read online reviews before deciding which business to contact – that & some other great supporting stats can be found here –

    Thanks & keep up the great ‘local’ posts.

    • Hey Myles, interesting stats on reviews and conversions, 92% is definitely something worth noting when it comes to local marketing. Also, thanks for the kind words and for sharing your report!

      • myles anderson

        Thanks Erica & looking forward to reading more of your local posts – if you ever want some juicy stats or a contribution then please contact us – happy to oblige and work together