Local Search Makes Your Business
a Big Fish in Your Local Community
Copyright © 2005 Off the Page
The Internet Contains Billions of Website Pages - All Clamoring for
With so many competing websites, itís unlikely that yours could stand
out among them. Until recently, you faced near-impossible odds. Search
engine results lost the "little guys" in back pages, where no one ever
But Local Search is changing that in a dramatic way. Small stores and
service businesses are gaining additional revenue from being found by
locals who went to the Internet before deciding where to buy (70% of
buyers, according to research by The Kelsey Group).
Google and Yahoo are pushing hard to make their Local Search results as
relevant as possible. (MSN is playing a catch-up game.) Theyíre under
pressure to work out the bugs, so this rapidly accelerating trend
becomes more reliable.
The public wants to find information about products or services with the
ease and speed theyíve come to expect from search engines. However, when
people are ready to spend their money, they prefer to spend it close to
home (where 80% of purchases are made). So the only suppliers they care
about are those located nearby. A Google query for "plumber" that
delivers 2.3 million pages does them no good at all.
Buyers are Driving the Popularity of Local Search
A person conducts a Local Search when they add a geographic term (like
town, region, zip code) to their search engine query. The results (SERPS)
only include businesses within that geographic area. For example,
entering "Seattle + plumber" in Google only delivers a list of plumbing
firms in Seattle. Those results are also displayed on a city map, so
itís easy to spot the most convenient ones.
Unfortunately, not all of the plumbers who ought to be included appear
in the results. Those businesses that are left out miss out. Itís also a
drawback for the searcher, when they canít find the information theyíre
looking for. Unfortunately, too much of what they get isnít relevant to
them. The quality of results are sure to improve as more businesses
Relevance indicates how well the information a person expects to find
matches what they actually get from their search. Thereís still plenty
of room for improvement. Even so, already Local Search queries make up
almost 40% of all search queries.
The Stages of Business Local Search Savvy
You donít want your enterprise left out of consideration when customers
are making up their minds. Many more buyers rely on online information
than on traditional methods, like newspapers and Yellow Pages anymore.
Make Local Search an integral part of how you connect with customers,
old and new.
1. Get listed in appropriate data bases so your business shows up in
search results. Find out whether your operation is already listed in key
2. A simple site supports the rest of your marketing efforts (but you
donít need your own website to start with). Realize that itís not for
making online sales, but to assist your being found - by the search
engines, as well as customers. Even a small website builds credibility,
and encourages additional traffic to your place of business.
3. Modify your website (if you have one) to rank high with Local Search.
Learn how at
Make your website useful, so it provides answers that your customers
routinely ask about. Tell about your services, product brands and
specifications, hours, payment methods, how to, etc.
4. Optimize your website for keywords and in-depth search terms. While a
small business may show up in Local Search results, thereís a marked
advantage to being in the front of the list. For example, in search
results showing 30 rug cleaners, those closest to the top/front are more
likely to be chosen.
5. Build your website into your store activities and business policies.
Make it an extension of how you conduct special promotions, develop
customer loyalty, and announce new products.
Cause a Ripple in Your Community "Pond"
Brick and mortar operations are often delighted to discover that the
Internet is sending a steady stream of new customers, with little effort
on their part. Capitalize on the convenient ways to connect to customers
Itís said that there are only three ways to boost business revenue.
1. Increase your number of customers
2. Sell more to customers each time they buy
3. Sell to them more frequently
Your Internet exposure can help you accomplish all three. It can also
makes you a bigger fish in the pond where you live and conduct business.
And that deserves your serious attention.
--Dr. Lynella Grant An expert in Yellow Page ads and Local Search. Stand
out online and offline, so you capture more Internet-savvy buyers for
your brick and mortar business. Free resources