Local Optimization Drives Conversions, But Your Local Page Won’t
Learning schema.org for local business is no longer what you need to do to stand out — it's the price of admission in this more localized ecosystem. Learn about it. You'll get more attention at the top of the funnel and have a bigger pool of visitors to convert.
Local Signals Don't Need to Be Explicit; a Local Page Won't Cut it
There's a wonderful presentation by Will Critchlow about the nature of search queries. The short version is that in the past, keywords and queries were identical, whereas today, the actual words are just a part of the equation.
Google and other search engines used to rely solely on the words people typed in to try and find the best match. Fast-forward to today: when you use your Galaxy S5 in Venice to do a voice search for "lunch," Google knows you're not researching what the word means.
Think of "lunch" as the explicit part of the query, and then think of all the other signals as the implicit part of the query — the location, given by the smartphone; the time of day; and the device. For that search, Google will serve up restaurants nearby, and you can filter further using your next query.
Now, think about that across different industries. Think of shoe stores with a brick-and-mortar presence in Detroit, or door knob retailers in Chicago. Whereas before, having the vicinity in the title tag might have gone a long way, today, you can't have a "page" for the local query.
Your whole website needs to be optimized in such a way that it's easy to reach for that click to call if the user wants to have a conversation with someone from your business. If a visitor lands deep in your site, you still need to give them access to your store locator since local was one of the things that drove them there. Your form needs to be pre-filled for local options by default.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
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