Local Search 101 – Part 1

The Power of Local Search Marketing — A Low-Cost, High-Value Strategy for your Business
Part 1: Local Search 101

What is one of the most important recent change in online small business marketing? It’s Universal Search, the integration of all these media types and sources — everything meaningful about a particular topic — on a single search results page.

The simple text search results we’ve known in past years now include a spectrum of new formats and sources: images, videos, blog posts, news headlines, social media updates, maps, etc. — everything our friends at Google, Yahoo, and Bing think we might want to know about something — hence the name universal search.

But for small businesses, the big news, the compelling feature of universal search that provides an unprecedented opportunity is Local Search.

What is it?

Imagine this: take all the business information in every phone book, match it to detailed maps of every address, add street and aerial photographs, and mix-in feedback from anyone that wants to speak up about a particular business (like yours). Then, package all that information together and place it prominently on search result pages where anybody can find it in a few seconds. That’s local search in a nutshell.

Local Search

Local search affects nearly all businesses with a street address. Butcher, baker, candlestick-maker — it doesn’t matter — chances are, your business is already being categorized under at least some local search keywords. But as we’ll find out, that doesn’t mean your business now magically enjoys new visibility on the Web; you’ll need to expend some effort or get professional help to make it sing.

Why is local search so important? Because savvy customers — the people that support and refer other customers to your business love its convenience; local search gives them a great deal of focused, helpful information, at the exact time they are ready to buy, with almost no effort.

In a few seconds, they can find, assess, and contact your business. Most importantly — they can read what other people think about your business.

Those third-party reviews and ratings — consumer-powered and freely-distributed — are the leading edge of a very powerful trend that runs contrary to 300+ years of unilateral business-to-consumer advertising.

Customers love local search because it gives them something they truly want — more confidence their expectations will be met, reduced risk of making the wrong choice, and a voice — a real role in influencing the future experience of others.

If your business provides a positive customer experience, local search will richly reward it with positive reviews, traffic, and referrals. If not, well . . . All I can say is that there is no longer any place to hide.

As a business owner, that may seem a little scary, but in a sense, that’s the way it’s always been. The difference now is that the consumer’s voices are greatly amplified and widely distributed by the power of the network.

As a business owner, you may choose to participate in this public discussion — or not — but the trend of consumer-powered, reputation-based marketing, combined with local search is here to stay. My advice: embrace it. Ride the wave and prosper with a smart local search strategy.

In Local Search – Part 2, we’ll take a look at how your business can benefit from the local search phenomenon.

Contributor: Michael Charvet

About David

David Tucker: Search Engine Optimization, Link Building Strategies, Off-Page SEO, Brand and Reputation Management Campaigns, Structural Analysis, and Analytics Consultant. Fighting the good fight against the search engines since InfoSeek and Alta Vista were the top Internet search portals. David has a strong background in technical, design, and hosting related issues. This provides RightNow clients with a layer of SEO that most organizations can not offer. In addition to SEO work, David has developed the RightNow online client reporting system, public website, email and auto-responder system, and the development + branding of the RightNow social media channels. When not working you can find David enjoying the outdoors in Maui, Hawaii

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  1. […] Part 1 of our Local Search article, we talked about the basics of local search. Now, let’s look at what local search can do to […]

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