We Put Local Search to the Test. Who are the Top Performers?

Local Search

It’s estimated that around 50% of consumers who conducted a search on their smartphone to find a store visited the store that they found within a 24 hour period and 18% of people even went as far as to secure the intended sale that very same day.

Local search refers to consumers using terms such as ‘near me’, ‘nearest’ or location i.e ‘Manchester’ when performing an online search in order to find a particular business in close proximity to them.

Businesses that may be benefit from a strong local search strategy include shops, out of town retail parks, gyms, offices, restaurants and bars or even local petrol stations.

Users are naturally more inclined to pick the top link, which often earns its status as a result of a great local search strategy.

Sometimes user opinions can be swayed by the online reviews which work in unison with local search. In fact, it was found that 88% of people trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal (face-to-face) recommendations.

With such promising sales opportunities from this search feature, it’s crucial that businesses are getting it right. We’re keen to express the absolute and unquestionable value of local search. So, we put it to the test.

Our local search experiment

We recently took to the streets of Manchester to test out some of the businesses around our office and to uncover their local search presence.

This is what we found…

After ensuring that our smartphone IP addresses corresponded to our current location IP address (just to get technical with you), we set to work on testing the local pubs, eateries and shops.

Local search

We found that there were some businesses around with truly top tier strategies, and others that needed to up their game.

Superdrug’s beautiful local search strategy

Out of all of the localities that we tested, one company that really impressed us was Superdrug.

We’re big fans of Superdrug in the office – they’re storming ahead of competitors at the moment and this is thanks in no small part to their great local search presence.

What we found: when you search for ‘beauty stores near me’ and even ‘where can I find face powder near me’, Superdrug comes out on top. Even though it is positioned less than 200 ft away from a main competitor who doesn’t appear in the first 50 searches.

What this showed us: we recently spoke about how Superdrug have reported increased profits of 2.3%. An honourable figure considering the struggles that other retailers have been facing (such as Poundworld, Mothercare, Toys R Us etc…).

We believe that SEO is certainly a contributor to Superdrug’s successes as it’s proven that local search is a key driver of footfalls.

As well as Superdrug, there were also a couple more businesses who stood out to us with their local search results.

The king of the meal deals is also storming ahead in local search!

Tesco are famous for their £3 meal deals. They’re incredibly innovative and therefore it’ll come as no surprise that they dominate the supermarket industry.

Tesco are constantly redefining their digital strategy and are not afraid to make bold and drastic changes. Their most recent being the closing of their “non-food” website. Knowing they’re on top of the game in more ways than one, we wanted to find out whether their local search strategy was on point too.

What we found: having the UK’s highest market share in the supermarket industry, it came as no surprise to us that Tesco were at the top of our search engine results page when testing.

What was interesting, however, during this test was that we positioned ourselves within equal distance of two major supermarket competitors, one of which was Tesco, and then punched in a ‘supermarkets near me’ search.

Tesco came out on top, of course, but interestingly one of their main competitors that was located very close by did not appear at all. What came after Tesco’s listing was actually a bunch of local international supermarkets.

Anybody who walks along Oxford Street in Manchester will understand just how busy it is. If you’re positioned at one end, trying to find a supermarket to dash into then you’re likely to head to the first one that your smartphone picks up. Because let’s face it, who has the time to wonder around anymore? Therefore, Tesco appearing at the very top of the results page, and their major competitor not appearing at all will certainly lead to more footfalls for them, and well, less footfalls for the other large supermarket. 

Herein lies the value of local search.

What this showed us: Tesco’s market share is 27.8%, whereas it’s other top competitors have over 10% less. Could a sound local search strategy help even out the market share amongst these two top competitors?

We’d certainly think so!

Good olde British pub goes back to basics with a solid local SEO strategy

JD Wetherspoons iconically bid goodbye to social media earlier this month. Calling last orders on all of their 900 or so pub’s accounts, they’ve instead decided to work quietly in the background on perfecting a sound local SEO strategy instead. And it seems to be working for them.

What we found: JD Wetherspoons seem to have a great local search strategy in place. We definitely believe that this will partly be down to their reviews on their Google my Business Page – which of course contributes to a sound local search position.

When searching for ‘pubs near me’ or even ‘food near me’ our local Wetherspoons pub came out on top.

Picture arriving in Manchester from Leeds on a Stag or Hen do, and wanting nothing more than to grab a pint in the nearest pub. With a smartphone in your fingertips, are you really going to waste valuable drinking time looking around for a local boozer? In just seconds, you can punch in a search and find yourself a great nearby pub. So ask yourself – what are you more likely to do? Head to the closest place your phone has just recommended, or scrap that and trudge around Manchester for hours on end (where it’s almost always likely to be raining)?

If you’re a pub owner, then you’re going to want to make sure that your business is appearing at the very top of these pages, for this reason amongst many more.

What this showed us: JD Wetherspoons reported a profit growth of an impressive 20.6% this year. Though brand reputation certainly plays a big part in this growth, we believe local search does too.

When seeking out somewhere to eat or drink (especially if you’re in an unfamiliar area), lots of people are inclined to pick somewhere close to them that is well reviewed.

It can definitely be thought that a good local search strategy is one of the reasons that JD wetherspoons have enjoyed another successful year.

How we can help

Over recent years, Tecmark have developed, refined and executed local search strategies for a number of national brands including B&M Stores. Our approach to local search continues to have a significant impact for our clients.

With so many potential customers using local search to find relevant businesses and with the practice becoming more and more intuitive, it’s clear to see that businesses can be at direct risk of deprecating footfalls and sales without it.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about local search and how we can help your business perfect its strategy.

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Tecmark Author Jessica Pardoe

About the Author

Jessica Pardoe:

Jessica is Tecmark's Digital PR & Outreach executive. She joined us as a full time member of staff after a successful year of interning in her final year of university. She loves all things to do with reading, writing and PR and is often found with brew in hand.

Visit Jessica's Page
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