It’s estimated that 30 to 40 percent of all searches are made with local intent. However, for certain types of businesses, search almost always has local intent. If you have such a business, it is critical to be found for as many pertinent local searches as possible.
If where you are is important to what you do, then you must maximize your business’s presence in the Local Search results and optimize it for the best performance. People searching for you may be across town or a continent away. Wherever they are and wherever you are, you want them to find you.
After years of languishing, the Local Search ecosystem has recently become a bustling, buzzing place, as an assortment of players jostle for a stake in what is a critical online space for most brick and mortar businesses.
Here are some of the reasons why Local Search is so important:
- Local businesses of all types are realizing that they need a visible online presence in order to compete in their marketplace.
- The Local Search platforms of major Search Engines have become very robust, with useful features that attract an ever-increasing number of searchers to them.
- The users of print yellow pages are rapidly moving to Internet Yellow Pages and to other locally-focused websites for information that they used to look for in printed phone books.
- The Search Engines know that Local Search is different from traditional search and that when people search with local intent, they want and expect to see different results.
- The Search Engines are committed to integrating Local Search results into the regular Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
- The Search Engines and the mobile network service providers (like T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) agree that Local Search results are the logical results to show to searchers using mobile devices, such as cell phones and PDAs. In other words, they believe that searches made on mobile devices are most often made with local intent.
- The Internet Yellow Pages marketers realize that their clientele needs to get online. They are trying to make it quick and easy for them to do so by providing bundled online marketing options that are easy to understand, take minimal management and can be paid for on a monthly basis.
- The number and importance of Social/Local websites is growing and they are becoming more popular among users because the user generated content they contain is what shoppers crave.
This convergence of sellers and buyers primed Local Search for its current explosion. Now, searchers, businesses, Search Engines, Internet Yellow Pages, Local and Social/Local sites and Search Engine Marketers all have a huge interest in making it work.
Local Search is currently a much less competitive universe than traditional online search. However, this will change as more and more small business owners realize the importance of Local Search and become actively involved in it.
It’s critical to learn how Local Search works now. It will enable you to gain the best possible presence for your business AND position you to keep up with changes and developments as they occur. With Local Search, as with most other business and internet endeavors, the early adopters disproportionately reap the rewards.
This is an excerpt from the Blizzard eBook, Local Search Engine Marketing by Mary Bowling.