Is Local SEO Still Relevant During and After COVID?
Before COVID-19 (BC), local SEO was definitely something local business owners should be knowledgeable about. But then, things have dramatically changed during COVID (DC), and definitely, after all of these is done and we’re going to have to adapt to the “new normal” (AD). Why you ask? Read on.
Local business search is alive and kicking
That’s right, despite the world becoming a smaller place, globalization and all, local SEO has become more important, especially with since the start of the pandemic in 2020 that actually made everyone become more localized with the lockdowns and logistics becoming a nightmare. With improved local SEO, your business primarily benefits from higher conversion rates. This is because the customers searching for your local business are really intent and deliberate in using your products or service, or else they wouldn’t have been that specific in their search. The fact that they really zeroed in and were very specific when looking for a local business means that they really had every intention of taking advantage of your product or service. If you’re not convinced, get this: studies from Search Engine Watch reveal that 8 in every 10 local searches convert to being customers. Moreover, 86% of people looking for a local business, especially since the pandemic started, used Google and 46% of searches throughout the Internet are for local businesses.
While it is not just about Google, it’s important to remember the search engine giant’s stance on local SEO: “nearly two-thirds of smartphone users are likely to purchase from companies that customize online information to a user’s location,” which is something we simply cannot ignore.
Local search benefits local biz even more so during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic really dealt a huge blow to all kinds of businesses, especially the small local ones that usually transact through their brick and mortar establishments. With those shops and stores needing to shut their doors, they have to invest in equipping their businesses to conduct online operations. Those who stayed stubborn and kept their stores open had to content themselves with local customers; after all, nobody is searching high and low, traveling miles and miles to find the best products or services. Most consumers also had to adjust their behavior to favor only businesses within their vicinity. With a lot of restrictions in travel and customers prioritizing safety first before venturing out into the world outside their homes, they have become more skilled in checking the online presence of the companies they want to do business with before visiting them. This only proves how important it is for businesses to be found online.
As traditional brick and mortar businesses suddenly can’t rely on foot traffic to fill their store fronts, now small businesses must focus on their online presence. We haven’t seen Google search traffic diminish too much since the COVID-19 outbreak, so all small businesses should take this time to improve their online web presence fast.
David vs. Goliath: Small businesses bank on the emotional draw
More than practical considerations, the pandemic has also caused a shift in behavior among consumers in the way they think about shopping. Since they are more updated with local conditions now that they aren’t really prone to traveling, consumers have become more sympathetic towards the plight of the struggling businesses and employees in their local communities. More and more people have turned their backs on national and international companies, which they see as opportunistic, in favor of the underdogs, their local businesses. So, if your business isn’t easily found in local SEO searches, then you’re not really taking advantage of riding that emotional wave that is supposed to favor your local business.
Still not convinced that the pandemic has tipped the scales. favoring local businesses? The US Chamber of Commerce has itself discovered that with the pandemic, consumers are now more inclined to go local lest they be bothered with logistical factors such as delivery delays and additional shipping costs brought about by getting stuff from other places.
As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts global supply chains, more people are looking at local suppliers and shops to help them fulfill their needs.
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