Lauren Kaye

Google recently partnered with two organizations, Ipsos Media and Purchased, to find out just how many people use search engines to steer their buying decisions and discover what kinds of information they want. The resulting data gives you an idea of how accustomed people have become to looking for information when they need it, wherever they are. One key finding was that four out of five smartphone users conduct mobile searches to find nearby businesses offering the products, services and experiences they want.

Don’t leave revenue on the table by overlooking local SEO

What’s even more valuable for businesses is that 18 percent of local searches lead to purchases within a day – more than double the rate of non-local searches (7 percent). This means that for every five times your web content shows up in a local search result, one person will likely make a purchase. That’s a lot of revenue to gain by optimizing your site for local queries.

Google’s study pointed out that most consumers conducting local searches are most interested in finding directions and contact data like phone numbers or email. Brafton’s seen similar findings in the past, indicating that product lists, price data, phone numbers and physical addresses are indeed some of the most important elements to include on any website, and particularly those that are targeting local customer groups.

To pay or not to pay for local info, that’s the brand’s dilemma

One way to ensure prospects who are on the cusp of becoming customers have this information is to purchase ads targeted for geo-specific locations and adding click-to-call buttons. However, there may be organic ways to ensure Google knows where companies are located, how late they’re open and the best ways to reach them: Schema markup and Google+.

Websites that use Schema markup tend to rank four positions higher in results pages.

Brands that add Schema code to their content are essentially telling search crawlers which information refers to hours of operation, versus GPS coordinates. The easier it is for GoogleBots to find it, the more likely it will show up in SERPs Likewise, companies that build presences on Google+ will experience similar benefits by presenting the same information to Google on a silver platter (more or less).

The inconvenient truth is that most businesses are ignoring these opportunities because they’re seen as more work than they’re worth. Yet there is already evidence to the contrary. Brafton recently reported websites that use Schema markup tend to rank four positions higher in results pages. Aside from the leg-up in SERPs, marketers who give their sites the extra coding TLC will prepare their content for the semantic web, where the context behind the copy matters more than keywords or links.