Gone are the days of looking through a phone book for nearby businesses who may have what you’re looking for. There are more consumers than ever before utilizing modern technology for finding local businesses, including on their personal computers, tablet PCs and mobile phones. A recent survey has found that 20% of the searches completed on Google are for local results; a hint at how often search engines are locating local results for consumers. This means if you own a business, it is your responsibility to have your business appear on local search results in order for the success of your company.
What is Local Search?
A local search is a way that consumers phrase their search words in order to find businesses in a certain physical location that are selling the kinds of products or services they’re looking for. For example, typing “hair salon” will bring up a lot of different websites and listings for hair salon, but if a user types “hair salon Farmington, CT”, the user will receive local results of hair salons in the Farmington area of Connecticut. When a specific location is mentioned, whether by the state, city, or zip code, it becomes a local search. These listings not only include the business website, if they have one, but typically a summary of the type of business along with their physical location, phone number, and other information.
Search Engine Results and New Developments
Since consumers don’t often include the physical location term in their search results, even when they mean to search locally, many major search engines like Google are implementing new methodology to take into account geographic location. Through geolocation techniques, most major search engines employ methods that provide local results in addition to national results, depending on the search query. For example, in the past, someone searched for “NY Cafes” were most likely trying to perform a local search, but the search engine did not always highlight cafes located in New York. The new developments will not only simplify the searching process for consumers, but will help to improve businesses being noticed by those searching for them.
Increases in Local Mobile Searches
Not only is there an increase in local searches through the Internet in general, but specifically from mobile devices like smart phones and tablet PCs. With mobile phones being used more now than ever before, users are often finding it easier to simply search for what they want through their phone’s Internet provider or business location apps. It’s important to note these changes as a business so you are catering to the modern technology.
Small Business Owners and Local Search
Does your company show up in the top rankings for your industry or market when prospective buyers conduct a local search for your type of business? If you’re a small business owner, it’s vital that you are informed about local search and learn strategies to be included in local search results. The first step is to have your business listed locally on the internet, and Google Places is a good place to start. Even being listed in online directories, like Yahoo local directory, Yelp, Merchant Circle, and Google local business listings, will get you noticed since many search engines pull results from these types of directories. Generating high quality backlinks is another way to capitalize on local search marketing.
As a business owner, it can be difficult getting noticed by new customers and expanding your customer base. However, with the use of local searches you will be able to be exposed to a larger audience and ultimately improve the success of your business.