Of the 97% of consumers who looked online for a local business last year, fewer are interested in following up that research with a website visit. This report may leave people to question if it’s worth investing in a local business website. But the fact is that The need for visiting a site is decreasing. Today consumers are more likely to get in touch directly instead of visiting a business website. Not just that. Google aslo draws conversions and clicks into the main search results and not to your own website. They are replacing free promotion with local ads, paid packs, zero-click SERPs and similar structures. So where does that leave you?
Why it looks Like a Business Website is Optional?
With many businesses using alternatives such as Yelp listing, a Facebook page or review sites, we are forced to think that a local business website is not that necessary. 43% of SMEs surveyed said that social media would be their choice if they could only select one form of online marketing. According to a study by Wordstream, the median click-through rate for the first position ranking on Google was down by 37% last year. What does this mean? Well it potential means that not many users are clicking through to local businesses!
How Google Affects This? – The changing face of Google is also a reason why people believe that a local business website may not be necessary. They have improvised the local pack by adding new features so that consumers are given numerous other ways to engage with a local business than to directly click on the search results. Explained are the significant developments of Google that give fairer reasons for why a website is not necessary;
No-click Mobile SERPs – There has been a 20% increase in no-click SERPs which requires no need for mobile users to go beyond the Google interface.
Paid Ads in Local Packs – Local packs of Google have started including paid ads and calls-to-action as well.
Google, the Lead Gen Agency – They have their own local service ads program with which they make themselves a connecting source between businesses and consumers.
The Inclusion of Quick Action Buttons – Google allows businesses to create the mobile version of Google My Business (GMB) listing. More action buttons such as ‘call now’, ‘get directions’ and even ‘order online’ will be available so that customers will have little reason to go to the website to convert.
One thing we can conclude from the above facts is that none of Google’s recent initiatives are about driving customers to websites.
So, Why You Still Need a Website?
- Local Search Visibility is Important – Believe it or not, it’s challenging to rank in Google’s local pack listings without your own business website. Your listings in local directories, social media pages and review sites may not give you the level of visibility needed to drive your potential audience to your local business.
- Your Customers Expect it – More than 50% of customers head straight to the brand’s website for product information, which means consumers expect a local business to have a site. If done right, your site could act as an interacting and intermediate platform for your customers.
- A Must for Digital Marketing – Link building is essential for SEO and website is a part of it! Your site is considered more trustworthy which means you can easily direct your potential customers to your products, images, news and videos.
- Publishing Your Content – You would definitely need a website for hosting your content. ‘6 out of 10 consumers expect brands to provide online content about their businesses’. Having your website’s own blog page gives yourself a chance to improve your local search presence.
- Showcasing Your Products and Services – Having a website enables you to display your products or services in detail with helpful videos and images. You can also include testimonials and customer reviews making your customers trust your business.
- Increase Brand-Awareness – By having your own business website, it’s possible for you to create a professional image for your brand. You have full control of your website whereby you can showcase your authority, purpose and values.
Why Your Website is Your Backbone?
A recent study found that ‘43.9% of clicks went to the organic SERPs even when Google’s Local Service Ads are present’. This clearly states that businesses which rank organically are very likely to have local pack rankings too. So the rich experiences that Google offers through GMB listing should not be considered as a replacement for a business website. And, for your business to get included in the local 3-packs of search results, it’s important that you have the strongest possible website. Here are the things that make a website strong;
- On-site Optimization
- Mobile Compatibility
- Well-Formatted & Relevant Content
- Quick Load Time
- Effective navigation
- Enough Exposure
It’s for all the reasons above that local business websites are still considered crucial for the success of a business. An absence of it is definitely likely to lessen your chances of ranking well in competitive local packs. Now you know, why local businesses should invest in their websites.
If you need help with SEO, local search tactics, web development and updates or a brand new website then do contact us fort information, advice or a quotation.