50+ Compelling Local SEO Stats (And How to Make Them Work for You)

Buy Local! The term has assumed a variety of connotations over the decades. From protecting businesses from going bust due to globalization to being environmentally friendly, the reasons could be many. However, the convenience of finding just about any product or service right where and when you want is one reason that doesn’t seem like wearing a fancy hat on the streets of Paris. It’s not a fad that’s going away anytime soon. In fact, if the numbers are anything to go by, the trend to search for local businesses is here to stay.

Google uses a stat called “Interest Over Time” (IOT) to keep track of trending search terms. On a scale of 1-100, collectively, search queries containing ‘near me’ scored … you guessed it, a perfect 100.

Here’s another number - 46% of all searches that happened this past year had a local intent. That means nearly half of the 8.5 billion searches that happen every day are about finding a local business.

No matter how you look at it, there’s simply no denying that more businesses are turning to local SEO to boost their revenue. According to one survey conducted this year, 80% of the companies believe that location-specific optimization will be a crucial factor to their prospects compared to 58% last year.

In God We Trust.
All Others Must Bring Data.

When the renowned American statistician W. Edwards Deming made this statement, he had no clue how big an impact data would have on the day-to-day running of businesses, from the largest corporations to local businesses.

So, when local SEO pros like yours truly make recommendations, you better trust us. We have data to back them up. Let’s explore some of the numbers related to local SEO and how you can take specific actions to make them work for you.

Impact of Local SEO on SMBs

Word of mouth? What’s that? Gone are the days when business establishments relied on their happy customers to spread the word about them. Having a strong online presence across platforms - website, social media, business listings, and the like is the order of the day.

97% of prospective customers rely on online platforms to know more about a local company.
The top Google local search result accounts for nearly a quarter of all clicks.
18% and 26% of marketers cite Google Maps and local finders as sources of interaction for their brands​.
92% of searches that include a city and business category return a Yelp page in the first five results​.
64% of customers use Google My Business (GMB) to discover company addresses or phone numbers.
Click-to-brick - 61% of consumers prefer visiting nearby establishments that have both a physical and online presence.
About 80% of businesses reported having one or more in-house SEO specialists, marking an 8% increase from last year​.

Local Search and Smartphones

Smartphones and local search are made for each other. In fact, the growth of local search can be attributed to the rise of mobile phone usage. Over the past few years, local businesses have witnessed an exponential growth not just in the number of such searches but also in the quality of searches that result in conversion and sales. Here are a few stats that drive home the point:

61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site​​.
78% of local searches on mobile result in an offline purchase​​.
51% of smartphone users found new businesses/products through searches​​.
57% of local searches are done on mobile devices​​.
61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site​​.
58% of people search for a local business on their smartphone daily​​.
30% of smartphone searches include a location​​.

Optimizing your website for mobile devices is more than just implementing responsive design. Integrate click-to-call and Google map buttons. Import reviews and ratings from your Google Business Profile and social pages. And it’s not just about making it easier for them to evaluate and reach you. It’s also about being there for them when they do. AI-based chatbots are a great way to respond to initial queries during out-of-business hours.

Creating content around FAQs is another invaluable tactic given the inclusion of rich text that results in zero-click searches.

Local Search - Impact on Conversion and Sales

28% of individuals who search locally end up purchasing within a day.
18% of local smartphone searches led to a purchase within a day​​.
34% of tablet users and 50% of smartphone users visit a store the same day they perform a local search​​.
72% of consumers who look for local companies online will visit shops within five miles​
90% of consumers who search for a local business will make a purchase within one week of their initial search​.
Over 88% of local searches on mobile devices result in a call or visit to the business within 24 hours.
15% of local SEO leads result in sales

The key to converting your visitors to buyers is known as CRO, Conversion Rate Optimization. A good UI/UX design that makes it easier to locate the information your prospects are looking for is crucial.  A clean site design that's clutter free,  a site architecture that enables users to navigate to the desired section with fewer clicks, and  generally anything that makes it easier for your visitors to do business with you will have a positive impact on your conversion rate.

Voice Search for Local SEO

Siri. Google Assistant. Alexa. The options are endless. One key aspect of optimizing your content is incorporating long tail keywords. Adding an FAQ section is another way to target voice search.  Effective schema markup can render your content in a structured manner making it ideal for voice-based search.

Around 60% of users resort to voice search to find a local business.

To give the context of the voice search universe, we present these numbers:

41% of adults in the U.S. use voice search daily​.
90% of people believe that voice search is easier than searching online, and 70% say they use voice search because it's fast and easy​.
A whopping 72% customers engage with voice search using digital assistants, with 35% using smart home speakers​​.
51% of online shoppers in the U.S. use voice assistance to research products​​.

Local SEO and Reviews

If you’re reading this, you probably know about the E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) factor in SEO.  Nothing covers all these factors together like customer reviews. Two things work in your favor when it comes to leveraging customer reviews. Customers these days are used to review solicitations. So don’t be shy and proactively seek one. Next, there are plenty of tools that allow you aggregate reviews and ratings that you have accrued across platforms to present them on your website.

76% of consumers regularly read online reviews to buy local.
87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses.
A significant 93% of users say online reviews had an impact on their buying decisions. Interestingly, nearly half of all internet users post online reviews every month​​.
Businesses ranking at positions 1 to 3 in Google’s local search engine have an average of 47 reviews.
About 53% of consumers expect a response to a negative review within a week of posting.

Review management is such a critical part of local SEO that most agencies offer it as a separate service that’s comprehensive.

Local Search Ads (LSA)

40% of local SEO campaigns achieve an insane 500% or better ROI.

Consider this: on an average, it costs about $7 million for a 30-second ad spot during the Super Bowl.  If the ROI on those are anywhere close to that of local SEO ad campaigns, Budweiser would make billions from just one day.  While running a local paid ad campaign seems lucrative, you need to have your online presence optimized for your local audience. A dedicated local landing page goes a long way toward achieving this.

Online Reputation Management in Local SEO

Customers are willing to pay a 22% premium if the local business has a good online reputation.

Another number that makes your cash registers ring  more often.  It’s so obvious that it’s easy to take it for granted.  We’d rather pay a bit more for the guarantee that the product or service we receive is on par with our expectations than gamble on the one that’s priced lower. Online Reputation Management (ORM),  of which review management is a part, should be a huge part of your local SEO efforts.  Other aspects of ORM include:

Targeted content creation - paid, earned, shared, and owned media
Reputation monitoring and response
Frequent reputation audits that capture signals across the digital landscape
A robust branding and reputation management strategy

70% of consumers will go to a store because of the information they find online.

When your prospects visit your site or go through your business profile elsewhere, they want to know everything about you. Give them all the information they need and they are sure to visit your store.  Capture and present images of your store that are hi-res and professionally done.  Product descriptions and related images is another area that needs close attention. Use the problem-solution-benefit paradigm to position your product/service effectively.

Google Business Profile and the Local 3-Pack

Google Business Profile listing:  56% result in website visits, 24% in calls, and 20% lead to branded searches.

You are not really into local SEO if you are not into Google Business Profile. That’s how big an impact this business listing has on your local online presence.  However,  claiming and setting up your profile isn’t as straightforward as setting up your social profile as Google is very particular about allowing only genuine profiles to be listed.

It’s important to ensure that your name, address, and phone number (NAP), and other details are consistent across online platforms as Google sources information from several digital platforms it crawls. There are extensive articles published by Google themselves.

42% of local searches involve clicks on the Local 3-Pack

When your search query has a local intent, you will see what’s known as a Local Pack. Appearing in the top three of this list should be an objective way of measuring your local SEO success.  Optimizing your business description with highly localized content, maintaining accurate NAP information across the entire digital landscape, and getting those 5-star reviews are some of the ways to get there.

What Your Competitors Are NOT Doing - The Window of Opportunity

Here are some of the reasons why you should shift gears on the local SEO front, especially business listings.

56% of local retailers have not yet claimed their listing for Google Business Profile and a staggering 82% on Bing.
50% of those who have claimed have seen incorrect information on their local listings.
Yelp appears in the top five search results for 92% of Google web queries that include a city and business category.

Nobody Said It’s Going to Be Easy

If you’re excited about reaping the benefits of local SEO, hold on a second. These numbers aren’t meant to discourage you by any stretch of imagination.  I mean to present these so you understand the scope of the task at hand.

61% of local businesses say that generating traffic and leads is their number one challenge.

The average page in the top 10 local search results is over 2 years old.

It takes a considerable amount of resources to  rank in the top 10.  The name of the game is to be consistent and persistent with your efforts.

Regularly create useful and relevant content that appeals to your local audience
Allocate funds to run local ad campaigns to gain initial traction
Actively seek backlinks from locally authoritative sites such as local business chambers and news sites

These are just a few of the pointers. Feel free to find a ton of other avenues to keep moving the needle.

More than 50% of consumers won’t use a business if it has less than a four-star rating.

Human mind works in strange ways. When it comes to online ratings, there’s a massive difference between 3.9 and 4.1.  Ask any statistician and they will tell you that it’s easier to maintain a certain average when the sample size is large.  Go after those happy customers, incentivise if you have to because it’s worth it.

The Bottom Line

The numbers don’t lie.

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