Local search may seem like an obvious choice for a local advertiser’s marketing mix, but the truth is that until recently the importance and impact of local search was either not known or not acknowledged. Search was a marketing concept that was broad in scope, for enterprises with a strictly online presence or a chain store located in Everywhere, USA. That changed in 2007 when Google published a study that showed 73% of online activity related to local content. Online analytics leader comScore has further bolstered that report with one of their own, stating that 66% of Americans use search engines to find brick-and-mortar locations and that a stunning 90% of commercial online searches result in a purchase at a physical location. For local marketers it is a referendum on the power of local search.
Local search should be recognized as a critical component of an advertiser’s marketing plan. The challenge is in identifying the most effective means of getting to the front of the line when it comes to search results based on the user’s locality. Certainly Google, as well as other major search engines such as Yahoo and Bing, has to be in the forefront of your plan, but with hundreds of locally-focused engines and directories staking a significant claim on the digital landscape, the test is in getting on all of these directories, staying on them, and staying relevant.
Local directories and search engines come in several forms, such as:
- Traditional search engines that can provide specific local results, possibly including a map to the location and some information about the goods or services provided. Examples would be Google Places, Ask Local, and Yahoo Local.
- Traditional directory-style sites that utilize the tried-and-true “Yellow Pages” format of business name, contact information, and possibly a display ad or coupon. The Yellow Pages site and its many spinoffs, and the Superpages would be good examples of this type of site.
- Far more prevalent than either of those kinds of sites are the newer, socially-driven directories that emphasize customer reviews and interactivity between the customer and business. Great examples of this type of site are Yelp, LocalAdLink, and MerchantCircle.
It’s a daunting task to submit to all these directories and manage your presence on each of them, but that’s where SmartLink can help. SmartLink’s proprietary SmartList is the most effective solution on the market to delivering all your business’s relevant information and managing it as changes occur. SmartList submits your business to over 350 different online engines and directories, as well as all of the major GPS systems. With SmartList you are guaranteed to claim your position on the local search landscape.