Gaining visibility in your local area has become critical for small business. Local search is rapidly gaining in importance. New research indicates that 76% of U.S. households now use the Internet when shopping for local service providers. 67% of search engine users are seeking a local merchant to buy something offline. 54% of search users have substituted Internet for the Yellow Pages.
Google + Local and Local Search Marketing
Google has continued to elevate the importance of their Google + Local pages (formerly Google Places and Google Maps) by granting them prime real estate above the fold and above the organic listings. Google Place pages are prominent on “smart phones” and have become a big part of mobile searches. The local search section also contains directions and customer reviews (see Reputation Management).
Google’s algorithms have been shifting to emphasize the importance of local search. Google + Local uses a different set of algorithms than organic search. Rankings on the Google + Local page are determined by:
- completeness of profile
- proximity to the geographical center
- number of “citations” or mentions in local directories or web sites
- number of reviews
We work with our clients to optimize your profile, build citations in key review sites and offer a number of programs for generating reviews in an effort to maximize your chances for first page listings.