Did you know that local search is one of the most dominant search qualifiers for businesses online? If you are a home service provider like Homeservices.co, read on to find out how it can help your business.
Statistics show that 93% of consumers now search for local businesses when looking through online research options. This number is up 3 percent from the previous year and shows that local search is becoming a more and more popular online search qualifier. Even better, experts project that the digital space will grow even more crucial for consumer journeys as more millennials become homeowners. But, what exactly does this mean for your home services business, and how can you tap into it?
What Are Customers Looking for?
According to home services marketing statistics, customers are searching for providers like you. The percentage of leads that search online before choosing a home services business are as follows for different industries:
- 62% for HVAC repair and 62% for roofing
- 64% for appliance repair
- 65% for carpet cleaning
- 65% for home remodeling
- 75% for pest control
When customers research these services, they are usually not looking for a specific company. This means that you can capitalize on local searches by making your company a top search result. If customers do choose you, the chances of lead conversion are very high, seeing as at least 88% of consumers that search for local businesses on their phone contact them within 24 hours, and 78% of mobile device local searches result in a purchase in just 24 hours.
Now that you understand the why, let’s look at the how? How can you make your business a prime candidate for local searches? The secret lies in understanding how Google search results work. As you might know, Google is very particular about its rankings. The system will usually consider different factors then give the searcher the most relevant results.
When it comes to local search results, the criteria are prominence, relevance, and distance. Here is an overview of each and how your business can optimize them:
Google assigns businesses a prominence score depending on how well it knows the company. Obviously, popular landmarks and large retailers tend to have higher prominence scores. Still, this doesn’t mean that you cannot increase your business’s score simply because you are not Walmart.
To determine your prominence score, Google will aggregate every information it can find about your business. This includes the following:
- Review scores
- Review count
- SEO rankings
Assuming your company website is well equipped with articles, links, and SEO, your next step would be to initiate a complaint to improve your average star rating and review count. Achieving this will ultimately raise your prominence score on Google.
Focus on Reviews
Reviews don’t just raise your prominence score: they are also crucial to the consumer journey in your business. Did you know that about 90 percent of consumers read business reviews specifically for local companies? Also, on average, a customer will read at least 10 reviews about your services before deciding if they can trust your business.
Back to your prominence score, all these numbers should tell you that reviews are crucial to raising it. You need to focus on what customers are saying about you, your business, and your customer service. As a first step, you should create a review request system that asks customers to review your business after every transaction. The more reviews you get, the better your business will look online.
How do you ask customers to write a review of your business? Well, the numbers are better when you include a link to the review in a text message. Stats show that 77 percent of customers will review your business if you ask, more so through text.
Once you have established your review request system, you will get more reviews. This, added to an optimized GMB listing, will help your business:
- Establish trust with future leads through customer testimonials.
- Improve its ranking in overall search results, even up to the top 3 or 5 slots.
- Show up on online and Google search results where customers are looking for a home services business like yours.
- Maintain a connection with your customers by appreciating positive reviewers and responding to negative comments with helpful information.
Meeting the relevance requirement for Google searches is as easy as completing your Google My Business listing. You must help the search engine understand what your business is, where it is located, what it offers, and how it can meet the needs of potential customers.
Generally, you can achieve this by updating your listing with keywords that potential customers are likely to use when searching for a business like yours. You should also add a phone number – preferably a textable one – and link your website.
Since Google’s system is keyword-centric, consider asking your customers to mention specific terms when reviewing your services online.
Lastly, your distance rating will go a long way in determining your local search ranking. You want it to be as accurate as possible, and you do this by including your current business address. Why? Numbers show that 72% of customers that search for a local business are more likely to visit it if it is located at most within 5 miles of their location.
That said, proximity isn’t all that counts when determining search ranking. If your relevance and prominence are on point, Google will rank you better than your competitors, even if you are beyond the 5-mile limit. Even better, if you have multiple locations, you can have each branch focus on its own radius, ensuring you capture leads either way.