We’re just going to cut to the chase on this one: It’s Google. When a local business wants bang for its buck, it gets more out of a Google search than it does from Yahoo or Bing.
That might sound obvious because Google’s the industry leader, but it’s worth noting in this case, because the other two major search engines make a point of promoting their advantages when it comes to local search. However, a recent analysis indicates that you’re still best off putting the bulk of your resources toward Google.
The recent BrightLocal study analyzed how the three largest search engines prioritized local businesses in their search results. The study considered three questions:
- Which search engine gives more page one space to local businesses?
- How does the split of search results vary by keyword type?
- How does the split of search results vary for geo-modified vs. non-geo modified keywords?
In each case, Google came out on top. For example, for generic search terms, Google gave the most space to local results — 40 percent, compared to 26 percent for Bing and 33 percent for Yahoo. Google also gave the most space specifically to local businesses with 19 percent, compared to 9 percent each for Bing and Yahoo.
When geographically oriented keywords (aka geo-modified keywords) were considered, Google also returned more local search results than either Bing or Yahoo.
As always, we’ll caution that Bing and Yahoo shouldn’t be ignored. They’re big search engines with decent market shares, and there are ways to leverage what they do for you. However, Google remains the top priority for local businesses.
Depending on your budget and your needs, you can focus some resources on the others, but always make sure you’re taking care of the big dog first.