Pokémon Go has conquered the world. Social media feeds are inundated with updates from players posting screenshots of their current achievement, status messages filled with anecdotes and shared articles of Pokémon Go adventures gone bad. The news is filled with the topic. People of all ages are singing the game’s praises while another group are hissing their disapproval.
Curiously, one of the first things that came to mind when I witnessed Pokémon Go in action was the uncanny resemblance to online marketing and Local SEO. I’ve seen the game bring out self-professed antisocial geeks; climbing out of dark computer-lit rooms, they embraced the open air and sunshine to catch ’em all. I’ve seen people—complete strangers— strike up conversations and bond just through the fact that they were all wandering around, seemingly aimlessly (if you didn’t know they were playing Pokémon Go, you might even think they were wandering zombies out of The Walking Dead)—but all brought out in a mutual synchronicity for a mobile game.
To my mind, this was quite like the fundamental principle in local SEO: bridging that gap between online and offline worlds. It made so much sense that, of course, anyone who know even a little bit about online marketing would also connect the dots.
The first obvious consequence of Pokémon Go is that it has brought out hordes of people in the local area. Despite the current heatwave, stampedes of public are roaming around, out and about, walking the streets—passing many local businesses. They are not only searching for local Pokéstops but the game also requires players to do a lot of walking in order to hatch eggs to score another achievement.
There’s a lot more potential consumer reach happening while the masses are out. Many Pokéstops are within very close proximity of many of these businesses. While the Pokéstop draws people to the said location, many businesses have recognized the marketing potential of it. I’ve passed a Jack Astor’s restaurant with a huge notice sidewalk-chalked outside their sidewalks announcing the lure. A few local businesses and organizations have posted their lures on Twitter, with updates through the day regarding the identities of their monsters.
Take for example this brilliant little girl who was on top of her marketing game and opened a Pokémon Go store when she realized her lawn was a Pokéstop. That, my friends, is a future CEO right there.
The increasing emphasis on local SEO is quite like this. Statistics have shown that people in the area are likely to visit local businesses through online searches that correspond to their local proximity to the business. The wild success of Pokémon Go simply corroborates this very critical point. People are attached to their phones; it’s become a trustworthy aid for almost anything now. And part of that trustworthiness transcends to making online searches to conveniently locate, not only Pokémon, but local businesses.
You may not have a Pokéstop to boast right now, but use the proof that’s happening right now, out there, the people are showing you how they want to be captured. If you aren’t making use of local online marketing tools, you’ll want to get on that right away.