A local search is an online search using keywords that specifically relate to a geographic location. With internet technology being what it is today, local search results may be returned by the search engine because the search engine already knows where you are geographically even if you don’t enter a keyword related to location.

Why is this important? Internet usage by consumers is booming and continues to grow and evolve. Today over 3 billion online searches are conducted monthly for local products and services. One out of five searches on Google is related to location. As a result the major search engines have given credence to local search results and specifically designed a place methodology by which they gather and display results.

Online search results are ranked and displayed by search engines within three categories on every page:  sponsored results, local results and organic results.

Sponsored search results generally appear on the top and/or on the right of search results pages and are all fee based. Local search results appear below the sponsored results and often appear in an address format with simply the name, address and phone number listed. Sometimes these results are in conjunction with a map or other additional information.  These results are generated from data stored within the search engines own database, an external database or from other online directories.  The organic results appear just below local results.

Local search results are based on data that is stored, shared and compared by search engines and starts with business name, address and phone number (NAP).  Search engines strive to return the most up to date and relevant information possible and rank “verified” data higher than unverified data. Verified data is defined as data that is under positive control and constant management by a recognized and trusted data provider.  Because this data is now shared and compared and distributed across the Internet to potentially hundreds of search platforms, it can never be deleted. This is one reason it is vitally important for people listing their businesses online to ensure it is accurate and correct because it can only be identified as “verified” or “unverified”.  Verified data is given a higher ranking by search engines and unverified data can be “claimed” and edited by anyone.

Listing your business is not only the best way to give local consumers your name, address and phone number, but opens the door to everything else you have to offer.


Author: Jim Merrick