Steven C. Wyer of Nashville’s Third Coast Interactive, Inc. lists the most important search insights local search marketers should keep in mind when planning for the coming year.
- There is value in simplicity
According to Steven C. Wyer, most small to medium-sized businesses don’t have an effective understanding of technology and media marketing. However, in order to remain relevant in today’s ever-connected society, they must maintain an online presence. Steven C. Wyer contends that even a simple strategy, such as maintaining a Facebook page, Twitter feed, or weekly blog, offers more value than implementing more complex search engine strategies incorrectly.
- Upload speeds are slowing, to the chagrin of searchers
In 2013, the average retail mobile site loaded at a median speed of 4.33 seconds. By 2015, load speeds had lagged to 5.5 seconds. Steven C. Wyer reports this is due to widespread consumer demand for visual content such as videos and graphics. Slower speeds, unfortunately, have a damaging effect on a site’s conversion rate and page views, even when the content would enhance user experience. Local businesses, especially, should monitor how website updates impact site speed, says Steven C. Wyer.
- The traditional search model is changing
Voice recognition software has improved by leaps and bounds over the last five years, says Steven C. Wyer. This has led to an exponentially larger number of voice searches, which tend to seek different keywords than traditional search bar queries. Steven C. Wyer expects this trend to continue through 2017.
- Businesses are losing out by not claiming third-party listings
More than half of all small businesses – 56% – have failed to claim their free Google My Business listing. The percentages are even higher for Yelp, YP.com Bing, and listings through the Better Business Bureau. Steven C. Wyer asserts that these listings are vital as they have become de facto homepages, at least in the eyes of most consumers.
- Traditional media remains valuable
Though we live in a digital world, print media – newsletters, postcards, etc. — is still highly sought after and trusted by consumers, says Steven C. Wyer. Returning customers are likely to appreciate a more personal means of communication. Since it can cost up to 10 times more to attract new buyers, this is a group small businesses need to pay careful attention to, Steven C. Wyer affirms.
- Nonlocal search customers are big business
Steven C. Wyer admits that it is easy to overlook the “out-of-towners” when planning a local marketing strategy. This can be a detrimental mistake as many local storefronts receive in excess of 25% of all business from tourists’ dollars.
- Consumer attention spans are getting shorter every year
Shoppers expect instant satisfaction, says Steven C. Wyer, and when they don’t get it, they look elsewhere. It is increasingly important that small businesses understand their customers’ behaviors and take measures to be as accessible as possible 100% of the time.
- Reviews can make or break a business
Steven C. Wyer claims that online reviews are now the quickest way for a consumer to get feedback regarding a company or service. Nine out of 10 consumers report using reviews – whether positive or negative – to influence their purchasing decisions. Some studies suggest that nearly 70% of consumers will leave a review when respectfully prompted to do so – others put this number closer to 90%. And yet, Steven C. Wyer relays that less than 10% of businesses are asking.
As the founder of Third Coast Interactive, Inc., Steven C. Wyer is one of the nation’s leading experts in online marketing, online reputation management, directory solutions, and online review distribution. For more information or to schedule a consultation visit 3Ci.agency.