The number of people searching the internet for a local business is increasing. You’d be surprised at how many people search for local businesses online using their computers. According to Google, approximately 73% of all searches now on the search engine are for a local business. When you think about it, companies change pretty frequently. They arrive and depart. They close their doors. They relocate to a new location. So, how does a local keep up?
Previously, you would have picked up the Yellow Pages if you were like most people. That was the only way new businesses were discovered in any local town. However, the Yellow Pages are at least a year out of date. You also don’t know if the company is still in operation. So, what are you going to do? There is a rumor that the Yellow Pages will be replaced by a CD you can insert into your computer. So, what does that imply for you?
Consider this. When you’re in a small town, how do customers know where you are unless they’ve already been to your place of business? They have no idea if you have moved. They may know where you are, but how will they find you?
When I was in the sign business many years ago, the trainers clarified in the training session that we must explain to the business owner that their sign must be visible from at least a mile down the road. Why is this the case? Because if a local customer is driving around town looking for a business like yours, the sign must be in their line of sight, or the customer will pass you by. You’ve lost yet another customer. Have you ever noticed that when a new McDonald’s location is built, the first thing that goes up is the big sign? McDonald’s is aware that customers are driving around, and they want them to be mindful that a new McDonald’s is coming. The movement is present even before the buildings are constructed. Arches in bright yellow.
And it’s now so simple for computer users. They are not required to get into their vehicle. They don’t have to deal with traffic. They don’t have to look for you. They now use the Internet. Will they track you down? What if you don’t appear on Google’s first or second page? People rarely read beyond the second page. Assume you go to Google right now and type in a product you sell or your business. Are you present? Most likely not. If you look at the number of pages in the upper left-hand corner, you’ll most likely see hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of web pages to choose from. How perplexing for the customer is that?
Things have certainly changed. You must be on Google’s first page if you own a business. Here’s an illustration. Let’s try an experiment with the Google external keyword tool. This tool is handy. You can find it by typing Google Keyword External into Google Search. This is the tool you can use to determine how many people search for a specific keyword or keyword phrase. I will use the small city of Peterborough, Ontario, as an example. The population ranges from approximately 75,000 in the winter to about 100,000 in the summer (by comparison, the people of Toronto are around 3 million).
I will see how many people in this area use their computers to find a local pizza restaurant, so I’ll type in “Pizza in Peterborough.” You could also put the city first, followed by the product. “Peterborough Pizza,” for example. It doesn’t matter because Google will figure it out. The Google keyword tool will return results from the previous month. According to Google, 5,400 people searched for “pizza Peterborough” last month. That’s nearly 180 people daily, and this is a small town! Isn’t that crazy?
Are you beginning to see the possibilities here?
Please test it out for yourself. Enter a product or business name and the city name into the Google keyword tool. You can also do it for cities in your immediate vicinity. And the best part is, armed with all this information; you could walk into your local pizza restaurant and show them proof that people in the area are looking for them. They can’t find them if they aren’t on the first page of Google. Get on their computer and display it to them in real-time.
Here’s what I usually say when approaching businesses:
“Good day, Mr. Business Owner. As you probably know, fewer people use the phone book to locate local businesses. They are using the internet to find a local business. People looking for a pizza restaurant are increasingly turning to the Internet. If you give me 10 minutes, I’d happily show you how Google tracks what people search for. I have access to this information and can demonstrate how to use it. Let me provide an example.
According to Google, 5,400 people typed “pizza Peterborough” into their computers last month to find a local pizza restaurant in Peterborough, Ontario. That’s nearly 180 people per day! I wanted to bring this to your attention because your website is not currently ranking on the first page for this critical keyword phrase. You’re passing up all of this potential business. It’s as if these people are knocking on your door, and you aren’t there to answer! ” Could you spare 10 minutes tomorrow at 9 a.m.?”
This method has proven to be highly effective for me. This is a very effective strategy for getting to business owners and showing them exactly what I’ve shown you. Then you can offer them SEO services, but you should explain it to them in terms of getting more customers or money in their pocket. The majority of businesses have no idea what SEO is.
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