When was the last time you needed more information on a nearby restaurant, yoga studio, mechanic, or other service near your neighborhood? How did you find that information? Did you search for it?
If so, youâ€™re not alone; the Internet is fast becoming the first place consumers look for local business and service information. According to one recent Nielsen/NetRatings study, 70% of respondents reported using the Internet to search for a local service business, and 46% had done so in the last 90 days. Local search is one of the fastest growing online marketing channels today and with projected yearly increases of 22.3% in spending on local search engines and directories through 2011, businesses are eager to take advantage of it.
Visibility vs. Non-Visibility
One of local search marketingâ€™s greatest benefits is its impact on search engine visibility. Search engines frequently place local search results ahead of organic results for many queries, especially geo-targeted ones. This makes local search marketing one of the most effective strategies for ensuring your site appears at the top of Google, Yahoo, and MSN search engine results pages, especially if you are having difficulty acquiring organic rankings.
Of course, the visibility benefits of local search marketing arenâ€™t limited to the search results page. Local search marketing also improves visibility by placing your site on many trusted and popular local search directories and engines, including CitySearch, Local.com, Yahoo Local Merchant and Google Local. Not only effective in their own right, these placements often reinforce organic search engine optimization efforts and improve rankings.
A Guaranteed High Quality Backlink
More than a great source of traffic, many local search engines and directories are excellent sources of links that not only drive traffic to your site, but increase the importance and trust with which search engines regard your site as well.
For example, searching Yahoo for â€œgolf courses 02460â€ produces Yahoo Local results with Newton Commonwealth Golf in the top local result. Clicking on the link displays the business profile page with a link to the golf courseâ€™s website. This link is now considered an organic link from a highly desired authoritative source, Yahoo.
The Long Tail of Local Search
Local search is the ideal channel for companies that have multiple offices that they want to promote separately. A business training company with offices in New York, Boston, Chicago and Atlanta could, for example, submit each local office to a host of local search engines and directories under multiple categories include training, business training, professional training, and more. This would generate a generous amount of links pointing to the site as well as substantially increase the amount and variety of geo-targeted long tail search terms the site could acquire rankings for.
Therefore, move over GUS (Google Universal Search). Local Search is making its way into the mainstream of searchers queries which could translate into a strong, targeted traffic channel for your business.