Local Search vs. Universal Search: Are You Choosing the Wrong Strategy?


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Do you want it?

A steady stream of customers and sales from Google? A never-ending supply of leads, customers and sales for your local business? Who wouldn’t want that? It’s yours for the taking, if – you choose the right strategy.

Make the wrong decision and you can do a significant amount of harm to your business.

Okay, what decision are we talking about here?
We’re talking about your search strategy

[HR][/HR]When you’re looking for search engine traffic you have two options to work with.


  1. Universal search places an emphasis on optimizing for blended search results – SERPs that can include images, books, video, knowledge graph results, rich snippets, news updates, tweets, or reviews.
  2. Local search focuses on driving customers offline to a brick and mortar business. This strategy focuses on local sites, events, blended search results like local packs, knowledge panel, and reviews.


What would happen if a business chose the wrong strategy? Couldn’t be all that bad, could it?

Actually, yes.

If a local business decides to focus their attention, time and resources on universal search their “success” makes everything worse.

Why?

A local business needs to attract local customers (shocking, I know). The problem with universal search is the fact that it scoops visitors up indiscriminately.

Visitors, not customers.

Universal search casts a wide net, drawing anyone in if they use the right queries. If you’re attracting visitors outside of your service area, that’s a disaster in the making.

If a digital or non-local business relies on local search exclusively it’s death by starvation.

Their business starves slowly as they struggle to get the traffic, leads, sales they need to survive.


Start with goals to avoid the struggle

[HR][/HR]Local search is laser focused – it’s surgical and precise. Universal search, on the other hand, is a bomb of awesomeness. The results are dense and far reaching, which is perfect if you’re not focused on customers from a specific geographic location.

You’ll have to decide which strategy is best.

But how?

It’s simple. Start with your goals. Have a…


  • Local business focused on local customers? You’re strategy is pretty obvious. Focus your attention on a local search strategy, using tactics that extend your influence and reach in your service area.

  • Regional, national or non-local business? Use universal search to cast a wide net, attracting a large amount of customers from a variety of sources and channels.

  • Running a business with multiple locations or focus areas? Use a mix of local and universal search to drive engagement and response. If you’re running a bricks and mortar business side by side with a digital offering, you’ll need to optimize for both using both universal and local search strategies. Create a clear delineation between the two, maintaining separation in your approach.


Have a goal in mind? Fantastic.

There’s a bit of overlap with each strategy so let’s break the tactics down for each.



Check out the rest of Andrew's post here, as he breaks down the different strategies in more detail.
 

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