What is Local Search?
As noted previously, the Internet experience is getting more localized by the day. People don’t simply shop at Amazon or bid on auctions on eBay anymore; they find local businesses, they visit local businesses and they spend a lot of money purely on local businesses.
To this end, Google and other search engine providers have focused on ways to help local businesses promote and market their goods and services. On Yahoo alone, more than 100 million unique visitors search with what we call “local intent.” While we lack hard numbers for Google, Yahoo maintains only a fraction of Google’s market share. It’s clear that close to 500 million Google searches per month regard local businesses and services.
This has only improved – and quickly – with the advent of mobile technologies such as the iPhone and similar smartphones. These days, people are constantly running Internet searches from their phones, and these mobile searches primarily pull results from local search engines.
These days, many businesses are benefiting greatly from such mechanisms as Google Local Business Center, Yahoo Local and Bing Local. The Google option alone has numerous benefits.
Local Search Advantages
- It’s free, which allows for an infinite Return On Investment
- Allows customers to rate and review your business, so if you’re good at what you do, you’ll stand out from the crowd
- Adds your site to Google Maps, one of the top ways people discover local businesses now
- You can add specific keywords to your business description, giving you a leg up on competitors who have not done this
Local Search Disadvantages
- Only seven businesses automatically show up as a search result
- It can take greater than a month to show up in the listings, and the likelihood of appearing high in the results (or in the first seven at all) depends on website optimization
- You can only optimize your business for the 5 to 10 most relevant keywords