“McDonalds? Haven’t they served like 50 trillion people and counting from all over the world… or some ridiculous number like that?”
247 billion is the actual number, still impressive. Since there are only around 7 billion people in the world on average each person eats at McDonalds about 35 times. Of course not everybody eats at McDonalds, so of the customers who do regularly eat at McDonalds the number is likely quite a bit higher than 35 times.
The point is McDonalds doesn’t really need new customers, not like you need new customers. So why go local?
1. They know their market – Most of McDonalds’ customers aren’t looking forward to their next trip to McDonalds, planning weeks in advance and making reservations. It’s an impulse buy for most. Impulse buys need to be in the customer’s face, so to speak, even more so than other types of purchases. Local exposure is the best way to do this online. Do you know your market? What kind of decision process do your customers go through prior to buying your goods or services? McDonalds knows, and so should you.
2. The Internet has changed a lot – The Internet is constantly changing, but one of the most significant (and smartest on their part) changes that search engines like Google have made recently is to put way more relevance on the area a person is making their search from, putting local searches first. So where McDonalds may have once had a top spot in a search for fast food anywhere in the world, local restaurants aggressively pursuing SEO have been ousting them in different areas.
3. The way people search is different – People are getting smarter about how to look for stuff online without getting a bunch of garbage. While they once simply typed in what they wanted, now 58% type what they want and where they want it.
4. Local searches have a higher conversion rate – Simple and obvious from the points above. Some consulting and data tracking sources have put specific markets at around 50% higher conversion.
5. The rise of mobile Internet – People are using their smart phones to find what they need more and more often, and localized SEO tends to be even more potent when designed for these devices in conjunction with the traditional home computer.