So what is Local Search anyway?

After many years in the Internet business, if there is one thing I have learned it is that the industry loves to coin many acronyms and duplicate definitions.

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing but then there is SEO right? What is the difference between Organic and Natural?  Is it Paid Search or PPC?  Is it cost per click or CPM?  Are you getting the idea? It gets a little crazy.

Then there was the rage that every search agency must offer Social Media.  You must have a social media strategy they say but what does that really mean?  As I looked closer, most were simply creating a Facebook page or a Twitter account.  It always seemed like so much more was there to be done regarding social media but digging deeper, no one really figured it all out.

Most recently, Local Search has taken the front and center spotlight but what exactly does that mean and will it be important next year or will it’s light soon dim like roller skates, Atari and phone booths?

In the simplest terms, Local Search is here to stay and means this:

Being visible within a map area online as a searcher queries your services in the city or location that you provide service.

Think of the once popular Yellow Pages books.  You had to be there if you were a local business.  If your kitchen sink went on the bum, chances are you flipped to the “P” section of the Yellow Pages and called the ad with the most color or offered the best discount.  When was the last time you truly used the phone book?  Standing on it to reach the wine glasses does not count.

Today, most will go online, say to Google for example and type in “Plumber.”

So wait a minute…looking at the illustration above, how does Google know I am in Newport Beach CA?  What are all of these red balloons? Well the secret rests in your computer Internet connection.  As your computer connects to the Internet – your location is then known…whether it is from your office, your home, the airport or the Starbucks downtown.  Be careful though because if you are using a company issued computer, the location might be set already to the corporate office location. One search and you will see if this is the case and in one click of the mouse, you can edit the future searches to your home town location.  As for the balloons, that is simply Google’s fine art representing local business.

In that instance that you have a company computer or if you simply want to find nice “Restaurants in Palm Springs CA” for your big date this weekend, you would simply want to add the city in your search query such as “Restaurant in Palm Springs CA” This will bring the local information to you in the same format as above.

So is Local Search important?  Well, if you are not showing up as I search for a plumber or that restaurant in Palm Springs, how do I contact you and give you my business?  Well I think you just answered the big question…

Local Search is here to stay and more importantly, as more and more people utilize their mobile telephone to search for businesses while on the go, the need to be present on the local search engines will be even more crucial to one’s success.

Now how do you become visible on the local searches?  How can you get all of those good ratings from your current clients to let new customers know you are a solid company to do business with…

Well stay tuned as next week’s update will speak to these very questions.

Until then…Stay Local!



About jpasala23

Since 1997, I have been involved in Internet marketing and have enjoyed the evolution we have been fortunate to be a part of. I personally continue to evolve as the on-line space does and my goal is to understand it and share with all in a very simplistic manner to advance others of their knowledge of on-line marketing.

Posted on June 7, 2011, in Local Search, Online Marketing, Search Engine Marketing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Good question. How will you make sure you are on top of the local search engines. I would think listing your business in places like Yelp and would be a start. Google places would probably make you rank hire locally. Is there anything like Geo targeting link building? How would the link building help or hurt?

  2. Nicole, Your question is in perfect time and will be addressed in more detail next week; however, given your thoughts, here is a snapshot:

    Claim your business listing on Google as step number one. Also make sure you do not have duplicate listings as Google, Yahoo & Bing as they scrap data from many other directories trying to make sense of it all.

    Once this is done, a regular distribution to the top directories on a regular basis coupled with good SEO strategy among other variables will earn you the top locations you are looking for.

    As for linking, it can never hurt as long as it is relevant. My advice is always to think and do your on-line work with one person in mind…the customer. More to come next week.

    Great questions!

  3. This is a great basic description of local search. Thanks for the illustration it really adds to the post and helps demonstrate your point.

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