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Marketer Survey: Google has no significant competitor in local marketing

Marketer Survey: Google has no significant competitor in local marketing
02 April 2019 (Edited 02 April 2019)

New research report published today based on a survey of 1400+ local marketers - in-house and agency - by SEO software developers MOZ concludes that:

"[Google]have successfully created not just the platform for customer journeys, but also the tools to analyze those journeys..."

Some key points:

Investment in Search Engine Optimization pays off - How Google's 1 August 2018 algorithm affected brand websites as a function of full-time SEO persons on staff:

  • 6 or more SEOs: 52% reported positive effect, 0% negative
  • 2-5 SEOs: 18% positive. 11% negative
  • 1 SEO: 14% positive, 13% negative
  • No SEOs: 7% positive, 9% negative

"Google is the new homepage for local businesses": 64% of marketers agreed,8% disagreed.

Rankings in organic search are strongly correlated with inclusion in Google Local Pack: 65% agreed, 7% disagreed.

Google reviews and ratings impact Google Local Pack rankings: 91% agreed, 1% disagreed.

Marketing services most in demand by local businesses (top 5):

  1. On-page SEO (19% mentioned)
  2. Website design (12%)
  3. Analytics - ranking/traffic/conversions (12%)
  4. Content development (10%)
  5. Social media (10%)

Aspects of marketing local marketers said they need to learn more about in 2019 (top 5):

  1. Organic SEO (24%)
  2. New Google Local features (14%)
  3. Coding (12%)
  4. Link building (11%)
  5. Paid ads including Google Ads and Local Service Ads (11%)

Level of SEO proficiency reported by sub-enterprise business local marketers:

  • None - don't do SEO (4%)
  • Little (15%)
  • Can apply basic concepts (60%)
  • Deep understanding (22%)

Share of local businesses with no link-building strategy: 35%

Local businesses with an effective review-management strategy in place: 27%

Local businesses with websites fully equipped for Google's mobile-first index: 55%

Local businesses paying Google for ads or leads: 69%

Number of SEO software tools local marketers say are in use at their company:

  • One or none (25%)
  • 2 to 5 (65%)
  • 6 to 10 (9%)
  • 11 or more (1%)

Tools local marketers are using for tracking, analysis, reporting, measuring ROI (mentioned by 50+%):

  1. Google Analytics (93%)
  2. Google Search Console (76%)
  3. Google My Business Insights (65%)

Challenges for local marketers:

  • Business owners/managers don't understand local search, and care too much about rankings and traffic vs. conversions and revenue.
  • Google dominates, and uses proximity as top ranking factor.
  • Difficulty in finding good local SEO tools and training resources
  • Finding marketing techniques competitors aren't using



Those results show that too many local businesses still aren't up to speed on 2019 digital marketing basics:

  • Google - deliverer of 93% of US search results, 96% of European - cannot be ignored. But some local business marketers are doing no SEO for local search.
  • Link building - still a key Google search ranking factor - isn't a top-5 priority for the local businesses surveyed, and 35% said they have no link-building strategy.
  • Nearly half (45%) of these companies' websites aren't fully prepared for Google's mobile first single index.
  • Only 27% of marketers surveyed have an effective review management plan in place.
  • Many companies aren't seeking out and using necessary software tools and training for SEO and other current marketing technologies.

And I have to believe that marketers themselves - both in-house and at agencies - share some of the blame for this for not educating the owners/managers of those businesses on the connection between effective marketing and business success.

And if you have questions or comments, you can easily send them to me with the Quick Reply form, below, or send me an e-mail.

David Boggs MS    - David
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