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Local Is NOT Enough For Most Businesses

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If your business or organization hasn’t felt the effects of the economy over the past couple of years, congratulation!  I hope you count your blessings daily.  Most businesses have.  We’ve seen many firms look to the web for salvation, and unfortunately that means a lot of marketers have come out of the woodwork claiming to offer “SEO”.  I won’t go into why some of these services aren’t really SEO because Josh has already discussed that in a previous post.I want to talk about why relying solely on local in the engines isn’t enough for most businesses.

Local IS Just That

I know, it’s quite obvious.  Local search listings such as those found in Google Maps are simply a listing found when someone searches your location and your services/business name.  Why isn’t this enough?  As you grow your business, you are entering markets and reaching customers that are NOT specifically looking in your area for your services.  Yes, you may catch some here and there, but not nearly as many as you would with real SEO or sponsored advertising.

Local Limiters Are Not Always Used

What percentage of the time do you use local limiters in your Google/Bing/Yahoo/etc searches?  Exactly!  If you’re like me, you use them when you’re traveling somewhere, or when you’re looking for a business you already know of.  This doesn’t help generate many new leads.

Organic Content Results Can Offer More Attention

For starters, you can control your Page Titles, Descriptions, and the other items visible in search engine results when your site is listed.  This allows for more call to action and engaging copy.  You don’t have that opportunity with local listings in the SERPs.  It’s also much more likely that your content results will be shown more frequently than your local listings, warranting more focus and investment in those.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

I do think having a local listing is important.  I just feel that it a low hanging fruit element of your web strategy that is easy to setup/manage then move on to items that will provide more new business like SEO, Sponsored Advertising, Social Media, etc…

I would recommend against paying for local listings anywhere but in very industry-specific directories.  In other words, I would not spend money on getting listed in an online phone book. More people search Google for listings like this than phone book websites, and the Google listing is free!