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The Importance of Local Search

Published: June 29 2009

How often do you pick up the Yellow Pages to look for a local business. If you are like me, my guess is that it's not as often as you used to. Today, we seem to go directly to our computers and our favorite Internet browsers, and we “Google it”.

Many of us are cross-channel shoppers. We like to do our research online, then drive down to the business we want to work with and purchase our required goods and services. In order to search online for the local business that's selling what we need, we generally need to perform a local search on the search engines. An example of this would be typing “Kelowna hotels” into the search engines rather than simply typing in “hotels”. The first keyphrase brings forward local search results, exactly what you're looking for. The latter might bring forward millions of results with pages and pages of links to hotel websites all over the world, not necessarily what you are looking for.

We've heard it many times, the Internet is growing. The only way to find what we're looking for on the search engines is to perform specific searches. This is why local search has become increasingly more important to businesses. In their continuing efforts to stay ahead of the curve, many of the major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc.) have incorporated maps and listings at the top of the first page of local search results. Your business may be listed in this feature. If it isn't, it's quite easy to get listed. If it is, your business may not be listed on the first page view of this feature. In Google's case, this initial view at the top of the first page of local search results is called "The Local 10-Pack".

Although the listings in this feature are somewhat dictated by location, there are a few other factors the search engines look at to help them determine where to position your business in local search results:

  • proper categorization of local business listing
  • product / service keywords in local business listing title
  • validation of business information with third-party providers
  • reviews made on third-party websites
  • website content optimization and inbound links with location keywords

A qualified search engine optimization professional can improve your business exposure in local searches. If you would like to know more about local search, please contact us.