Customer loyalty is critical to any organization’s long-term growth and health. So why is it so often overlooked in local searches? Because digital marketers make the big mistake of thinking that local searches and customer loyalty have a very loose relationship, if any relationship at all. Reality says otherwise. There is an intrinsic link between local searches and customer loyalty and it should not be ignored.
Webtek Interactive is an SEO specialist headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. They also have a sister office in Austin, Texas. Some of what they do for SEO in Texas differs from their efforts in Utah because they are focusing on local searches in metropolitan areas like Austin and Salt Lake City. Whether they know it or not, customer loyalty is impacting how they serve their clients.
Even Loyal Customers Search
Conventional wisdom suggests that consumers loyal to a particular business don’t have to search for that business online. They already know where to find the desired websites. What that conventional wisdom fails to account for is something Wesley Young refers to as “digital amnesia” or the “Google effect”.
Digital amnesia is more a state of mind than anything else. It occurs when a user becomes so reliant on technology that he or she has trouble remembering things that previous generations would have taken for granted. You suffer from it yourself if you have trouble remembering phone numbers.
In the era of smartphone proliferation, very few people make any effort to memorize phone numbers. They have no need to. Making a call is as simple as opening a contact app and tapping on a name. If phones are voice-enabled, users can just say “call John” and the phone does the rest.
It turns out that digital amnesia also affects loyal customers and the websites of their favorite businesses. Their brains make no effort to remember website addresses because said addresses are just one Google search away. This indicates that Web users conducting local searches are not necessarily hoping to find something new. Sometimes they are just looking for the website of a business they normally deal with.
Social Media’s Role in Local Searches
In a January 29 Search Engine Land piece, Young explained how social media is influencing local searches. One of his main points was that control of the narrative has been taken away from business owners and put into the hands of customers via social media.
In other words, business owners used to control the narrative (how they and their websites interacted with customers) once new customers landed on their sites. That is no longer the case. Customers are now interacting with businesses, then reporting on those businesses via social media.
What’s more, social media referrals are adding up to better local search results by pointing Google to the businesses with the best reputations. That’s why positive social media exposure is so important. Loyal customers recommend their favorite businesses, ultimately driving traffic and influencing local search results.
The long and short of it is that local searches and customer loyalty are not separate and unrelated. They are intrinsically related to the extent that each one significantly impacts the other. How digital marketers employ local searches to find new customers impacts whether already loyal customers suffering from digital amnesia find what they are looking for when they bring up Google.
Companies like Webtek simply cannot afford to forget loyal customers. They must embrace them with the same vim and vigor they approach new customers. Otherwise, they may end up getting lost in the shuffle.