Local Search Becoming Dominant SEO Initiative

Scott Lambert

I remember speaking several years back to a group of business owners about the growing importance of initiating a Local Search campaign for their businesses. Google had launched MAPS. Yahoo had their own version of Yahoo Local and both made no secret they wanted to take over the Yellow Pages market. At the time, Google had reportedly determined that 30% of all online searches were of “local intent,” meaning people were using search engines to find a local provider of products and services by using a location-related phrase in their search string.

Fast Forward to 2010

Google, Yahoo and Bing significantly enhanced their local search offering. Google MAPS evolved into Google Places with the ability to add a significant amount of information in your Places page. Google was also importing reviews throughout the web to the Places page.

In addition, Google announced that 70% of all searches have “local intent". They even implemented an algorithm change that incorporated local Places pages into the top portion of the organic search results.

This has had a huge impact on search rankings, website traffic results and the resulting business growth for those businesses who have implemented an effective Local Search campaign.

2011 Brings Even More Changes

Now in 2011 Local Account Listings are dominating the organic SEO search results throughout almost all industries. You can add images, videos, and coupons in addition to a significant amount of textual content.

comScore and the Local Search Association released a study that clearly demonstrates how online search portals such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are now used by U.S. Internet users 74% of the time when looking for a local business. Internet Yellow Pages are used 7% of the time. It appears that the game is over for the Yellow Pages companies.

How Users Search for Local Businesses Online

What About Traditional SEO?

What I find surprising is that so many businesses are still trying to do traditional SEO without incorporating an effective Local Search strategy. Let me be clear – SEO has become Local Search for many industries and businesses. Of course it is dependent upon the keyphrases being used so you may find that the search engines have predetermined that some of the keyphrases that are relevant to your business are being dominated by Local Search listings while others are not.

What I find even more surprising is the volume of so-called SEO service providers who offer services without an effective Local Search campaign for their clients. MarketingSherpa found in April 2011 that only 37% of total U.S. marketers have a local business listing in the search engines. Wow! What a missed opportunity.

Businesses need to aggressively implement a Local Search campaign if they want to grow their business revenues. But you better move quickly. This train has left the station and frankly a business may not be able to catch up with those who have already implemented an effective SEO/Local Search strategy.

We will talk more in an upcoming post on the most effective conversion strategies for making your Local Search campaign produce qualified leads and customers. Please contact Xcellimark if you have any questions or if you are interested in Local Search for your business.

Scott Lambert

Written by Scott Lambert

For 35 years, Scott has been at the forefront of digital transformation and how it is effectively applied in businesses and organizations to market, sell, and support customers and members more successfully and cost effectively. Scott is President and Co-Founder of Xcellimark, an award-winning digital marketing agency serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, and Germany. Xcellimark helps businesses succeed through the implementation of its unique digital marketing and sales approach specifically designed to meet their specific goals and objectives. Scott’s marketing, sales, and operations experience have included key management positions at industry leaders including AT&T, iXL (now SapientRazorfish), eSchool Solutions (now TalentED), and BellSouth, where he led the product development, marketing efforts, and market launch of BellSouth.net, the second public ISP developed in the U.S. Scott is the author of articles highlighted on leading online publishers such as LinkedIn, Business 2 Community, and he was recently featured by LinkedIn in the Entrepreneur magazine article on “No Time for Marketing? Hire a Freelancer.” His engaging personality and wealth of real-world and business experience make Scott a frequently requested speaker. Some of his engagements include being the featured speaker in a series of Orlando Business Journal seminars on Digital Marketing, speaking at the WSI London conference, and at international conferences in Belize. Scott has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s of Science in the Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Scott has been active in global mission efforts and is a board member of Global Teams, a Christian outreach organization. He lives in Winter Springs, FL with his wife Nancy and dog Sadie.

Topics: Local Search

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