Takeaways From Google’s Guide: How to Boost Offline Sales for Local Businesses

The search giant Google uploaded a guide stating four ways of attracting local search traffic to an offline local business to boost sales. It perfectly reminds us that Google is a lot more than just the ten blue links on a SERP.

The latest search trends and research by Google demonstrate how local businesses can make more money. Comprehending all the ways people are trying to discover businesses will help generate more sales.

Google shared that different kinds of searches are increasing exponentially for local retail.

These three types of searches are particularly displaying dramatic growth:

  • The first type includes searches for local businesses
  • The second type comprises searches for local businesses that have something specific in stock
  • The third type includes searches related to restaurants

According to Google’s guide, searches for “local + business(es)” have increased by more than 80% YOY, which includes searches such as “local businesses near me” and “support local businesses.” In addition to this, searches for “who has + in stock” have increased by more than 8000% YOY, which includes searches such as “who has gym equipment in stock.”

Searches for Local Restaurants

Next, Google shared that most dining consumers used not only Google Search but also Google Ads to discover more information before finally buying something. Google Ads can be a great way to get an edge over your competition.

In a recent article, Google said they recently found that 66% of dining consumers used Google Search to discover information related to food and beverage during the pandemic. Moreover, 57% of dining consumers found information about food and beverage via Google Ads during the pandemic.

YouTube and Local Shopping

While YouTube is not seen as a means of driving sales to a local business, it’s time to start looking at it that way. In response to users’ search queries, Google displays YouTube videos in specific contexts that offer additional information about a particular product or service for the searcher.

As per the search giant, 45% of viewers use YouTube to watch a product demo prior to making a purchase. Viewers agreed that they are two times more likely to go online or in-store to buy a product they saw on YouTube vs. the competitive average.

Google Maps

People don’t usually regard Google Maps as a search engine. But like we saw in the case of YouTube, Google Maps is where the consumers are now turning to discover local businesses offering specific products or services.

This consumer trend emphasizes the importance of claiming or creating a free Google My Business Profile and working with it to improve your rankings on Google Maps.

Simply put, the main takeaway here is that it’s time to start seeing Google Maps as a search engine that gives a highly targeted context for your local business presence.

According to the data Google shared,

  • Searches for “curbside pickup” on Google Maps have grown 9000% YOY in the United States.
  • Searches for “discounts” on Google Maps have increased by more than 100% YOY worldwide.
  • Searches for “gift shop” on Google Maps have increased by more than 60% YOY worldwide.

This is a good reminder that Google Maps is a lot more than just a means to find how to get from point A to point B. People today are smartly using it to explore local businesses.

According to Google, the top generic searches on Google Maps include:

  • Restaurants
  • Restaurants near me
  • Food near me
  • Hotels
  • Food
  • Grocery store
  • Gas
  • Gas station
  • Coffee
  • Pizza
Google’s Guide to Offline Sales

In addition to this article, Google published a short Support page for local businesses to guide them to drive more local search traffic with online ads. The page also included two helpful tips relating to non-advertising search traffic.

The first tip recommended that local businesses build a digital storefront and use it along with a free GMB account to distinguish themselves in local searches within regular Google search results and Google Maps.

Further, the second tip demonstrated how businesses could gain up to 42% more referrals from Google.

According to Google, the key to driving store traffic from the web into your physical store is to let your prospects know that you are nearby and you have what they are searching for.

Next, Google shared that businesses that add images to their Google My Business Profile get 42% more directions requests on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their sites compared to businesses that don’t.

However, these 42% and 35% rises in engagement due to images aren’t and shouldn’t be surprising. It is no secret that visual content captures and retains the attention of people better than textual content. Therefore, it does an excellent job at engaging the prospects and driving sales for your business.

To give you some perspective, let’s take a look at a few highlights of why that is so:

#1 Photos Engage People Emotionally

Photos can positively influence a viewer’s mood, and this is backed by scientific research. This positive emotional impact helps the marketing message get through quickly.

#2 Photos Decrease Reading Fatigue

A page loaded with textual content only can seem a bit intimidating, and reading it would feel like a chore. People consume information through text as well as images, but the latter helps break up the lengthy paragraphs and offers some visual rest to the readers. It won’t be wise to underestimate the power of photos to convey how delicious a dish is or how nice the ambiance of your cafe is.

#3 Photos Are More Memorable

According to scientific research, the human mind has a remarkable ability to remember more than 2000 photos for several days with a 90% accuracy. Pictures have a powerful impact on customers because the images that people see stick with them for a long time making them an exceptionally effective way of communicating a message or emotion.

#4 Graphs Convey the Message Visually

Graphs can be an excellent way of conveying your ideas or the dominance of your business in the market. By using graphs or other visual representations, marketers can effectively communicate the concept itself through the mechanism of visual stimulation. It is a powerful way to get a marketing message across successfully and quickly.

#5 Photos Build Trust and Boost Profitability

By analyzing hundreds of millions of eBay auctions, researchers have found that photos help hold a potential buyer’s attention, build trust and boost conversion rate. So, adding more images of products/services, which is equivalent to offering a more comprehensive visual representation, can help increase trust and sales.

Wrapping It Up

Google is not just the ten URLs on a SERP. While there are numerous takeaways in the helpful guide published by Google, the most prominent one is to go beyond trying to earn a ranking in Google SERPs and think about ways to boost visibility in Google Maps and YouTube. Create a Google My Business Profile and keep it up-to-date. Utilize Google Ads to reach a broader audience. Remember, the key to driving store traffic from the web into your physical store is to let your prospects know that you are nearby and you have what they are searching for. Apart from this, it could also be beneficial to add as many well-staged photos as possible to convey the quality and professionalism of your products or services. Grasping all the ways people are using the web to discover businesses will help you generate more sales.