In today’s world, an SEO strategy for just your brand won’t work. If consumers are going to interact with and buy your brand, it must show up in searches that are relevant to them. Local searches have been trending upward for years; even more now as a smartphone adoption increases. Catherine Roe, head of CPG for Google, spoke at the Shopper Marketing Expo in Chicago this year. In her presentation, she said that local searches have increased 140% over the last three years. In addition Google announced that 20% of all searches conducted on the site have a local intent. Whether it is a search for the closest grocery store from home or the closest 7-Eleven, consumers are searching local. Since April of 2009, Google has included local search results, even when searchers used generic terms that don’t include a local word.
One of the biggest areas for growth for local searches will ride on the back of increased smartphone adoption. Diana Pouilot, director of mobile advertising at Google, revealed that one-third of all Google searches via the mobile Web pertain to some aspect of the searcher’s local environment. And that doesn’t even take into account all the searches that happen on mobile apps such as yelp, citysearch, and mobile yellow pages. Does your company have a local search strategy for mobile? Try searching for 7-Eleven on your smartphone. The second result will list 7-Eleven stores nearest to you. This happens without a single reference to location.
What does this mean for brands? Companies like Pandamp;G have worked with retailers like Walmart to show listings for stores that sell their products when consumers search one of their brands. Brands must be available to consumers where they live physically and digitally. It’s time for brands to think about how they will claim their space on the digital shelf.
–Contributed by Brian Hambrick