Local Search Optimisation Book Extract – Introduction

This book is aimed primarily at local business owners but it may also be useful for website builders wishing to learn about Local Search Optimisation (Local SO*). It should be a light read and will contain useful information that most business owners may not know.

Because things change so frequently in this field the book is descriptive rather than prescriptive and should prove valuable in years to come.

There are many sources of information on Local SO* and this book will bring together information from a wide range of sources. Google has produced a video series on the topic that is now a little dated but its wisdom has not diminished. It can be summarised as follows.

These days local businesses do not need a website because it is possible to have an online presence without one. At the time of production of Google’s video series

>85% of smartphone users had searched for local info
>81% had taken action as a result
>40% had visited the business in person
>35% had called the business after searching

To determine whether a website is required business owners should

  • Determine their value add **
  • Clarify their online goals
  • Define what constitutes a “conversion”

Next, they should define their customers’ journeys to conversion, picking their main customer groups for this exercise. The route imagined runs in the following phases, sometimes referred to as a funnel:

  • Visitors
  • Engagement
  • Call to Action
  • Conversion
  • Loyalty

As will be seen, all of these phases can be accomplished without a website by the majority of local businesses.

What a website provides is

  • Control of page layout
  • Control of content
  • Control of design

But the cost of those advantages is

  • Time & resources on design & implementation
  • Time & resources on security
  • Time & resources on hosting and maintenance

For many local businesses, these costs cannot be justified. However, many will go ahead with a website anyway because they are told that they have to have a website in order to have an online presence.

This book will show that even if they have a website they also need Local SO*.

**Value Add, used by Google in their videos series, means what value the business brings to the customer. Ideally, in a competitive niche a business will differentiate itself from the competition with something of unique value.

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