Search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) are the sites that most people use when they make a query online. However, these are not the only websites that people visit when they search for products and services or look for a local business. Some turn to other sources such as mapping apps, niche directories or customer reviews.
When people look for a certain type of business, they will directly go to a website that meets their requirements rather than start a search on an engine like Google. Individuals looking for a place to stay or a restaurant to dine in, for instance, will go to a site like booking.com or tripadvisor.com. Incorporating niche directories in your SEO strategy will enable you to funnel customers into your business and get link juice as well.
An effective local online marketing strategy uses major niche directories that are integral to your industry; this will help your business become appealing to your intended audience.
Google is looking to create a “near me” future. With the increase of mobile device use, this is likely. Two-thirds of local searches begin with the use of a mobile device, but mapping apps have yet to become popular for prospective customers looking for a local business. Currently, people use maps to get directions to a place once they find what they are looking for. Maps are often in social networks, search engine listings and local directories, making them a vital part of your marketing strategy.
Some local searches begin with a click to a customer review; sites such as tripadvisor.com are not only a directory, but also have reviews for places, accommodations and restaurants. A customer review may sway an undecided prospective customer; he or she may only need to read a balanced review to change his/her mind.
The rise of mobile usage will play an important role in the effectiveness of any local marketing campaign. Your business should think about these three online resources when you create a digital advertising strategy.