I’m certainly not the first person to blog about the importance of local search. There’s enough information on the topic to choke a horse. But I do want to spend some time on it because I believe it to be one of the most important and practical online strategies for small businesses.
Why is local search so important? Well, for starters, local search results are displayed in a location where up to 90% of local searchers look – top left above the organic search results. Local search has certainly gained real traction as a component of a comprehensive online search engine strategy. Our tendency as consumers to purchase 80% of what we buy within 25 miles of where we live and work has propelled local search as the fastest growing form of online activity. As new technologies like smart phones, PDAs and WiFi become even more common, the growth of local search is sure to accelerate.
I’ve found that some small business owners may have a broad understanding of local search and may have even used Search Engine Optimization techniques or pay-per-click search (i.e. AdWords), but many have yet to take advantage of their business information and content being distributed on local search engines.
Given that consumers will soon conduct two billion local searches each month, small businesses need to take action now to manage their online local listings. It’s not complicated, but can be confusing. If you’re wondering where to start, below are a few steps to get the ball rolling:
- test to make sure that if your business information is currently listed in local search that it is accurate and up-to-date. Having accurate, updated content is essential to small businesses, local search engines and in-the-market, ready-to-buy online consumers.
- make sure your listings are working for you with deep, keyword rich content consumers are using to search online.
- ensure that you’re listed with at least the top four search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask).
- integrate local search initiatives with Search Engine Optimization and pay-per-click campaigns.