Here’s what he doesn’t understand:
The internet is much more localized than the average person understands. You’re never in competition with all the other businesses on the web. Rather, it’s a very quaint arrangement -- if you have some idea of how it all works to form a chain of links that serve to bring customers to your door.
You see, the World Wide Web is much like a neighborhood. The goal is to have it broadcast information about your business and then have that information picked up by search engines that make it available to clientele on an as-needed basis. 24/7.
For example: A young couple getting in their car after seeing a movie. They decide it would be a great night to stay out a while. Perhaps they can find a good, personable bar to listen to some music (Blues or Jazz) while grabbing a quick bite to eat. So they use Google: “Google. Where is blues or jazz playing at a bar tonight near me?” The results report there’s a bar about fifteen minutes away that has a Blues band every Thursday night. Well, it’s Thursday night! Oh, and the place has a Bar menu… open ‘til 3 a.m. Great!
The other notable results appeared to have music, but no genre was listed. Some didn’t indicate whether food was available. Most had little to write about… or so it seemed. So the couple decides to go to the bar with the Blues band on Thursday nights, that also serves food and drink until 3 a.m.
The couple is on their way to have some great fun, meet new people, listen to some funky Blues and perhaps embrace a new favorite bar. All because the bar’s ownership knew the advantages of having the right information readily available to its customers at all times.
What’s not to love about a business that takes the time to anticipate how to make life easier for potential customers?
Most are aware that the internet can help with growth by generating leads for new customers. It can begin with a simple, but interesting and informative webpage. The addition of a social media page such as Facebook can give your business a way to keep current and in touch with your customer base.
But just how does one get information into the hands of those who want it, when they want it? The illustration of the couple above is fitting in that regard, but exactly how do you do it so that your business shows up in the search as “open and ready” for business?
Welcome to Structured Data 101.
With the use of Structured Data businesses have the opportunity to appear within the top search results when someone asks, “Google, most popular hair stylist near me?”
Or, “Google, location of best dog groomer near me?”
And let’s not forget, “Hey Google, need really good marketing and consulting company near me?”
Here’s how it happens. Google gathers information from your website, Facebook presence, and other social media sources, to present as complete a picture as possible in its search results. It’s up to you to ensure that information is structured in a predefined manner. (The average person thinks Facebook and other social media platforms are just there to keep in touch with their friends and colleagues. For businesses, it’s a completely different ballgame.)
Businesses that understand the need to incorporate Structured Data with all their digital platforms can thrive with benefits it has to offer. The use of Structured Data is one of the most effective methods to get the right information to the right people – 24/7 – those who are most likely to become patrons.
The information has to be included (structured) in the right places in order for it to appear as part of the results of a specific search engine query. The more information provided, the more informative the result will be for a potential client.
When a person’s location is what drives the results for “near me” inquiries, you want to make the most of every chance you have to be on the search results. It’s how business is done these days. Word-of-Google can be just as powerful as Word-of-Mouth. That’s what search engine results can do for you when embellished with Structured Data implementation.
Businesses that aren’t taking advantage of such services are failing to use one of the most valuable tools for steering customers to their places of business. Wherever we go, businesses go along with us as we’re all wired to the internet. The use of Google search (and other search engines) gives a person the information necessary for narrowing down selections of which businesses to patronize with every single step they take.
To make the most of the booming popularity of “Near Me,” integrating Structured Data into your overall digital marketing plan is step one. Then the use of social media platforms can help you keep current and in touch with the needs of customers.
If you aren’t sure how to go about improving your digital footprint on the internet and integrating it with the newest information technologies, then turn to those who are in business to assist you with such endeavors. Ensuring the utilization of Structured Data is a highly effective way to optimize the chances for your business to show up atop pertinent search results.
Being “Near Me” Ready is what will bring more customers to your business. What’s not to love about that?
Charmaine Smith Ladd
Director of Brand Development
HPR Marketing Group