What is local search?
Local search is the digital equivalent of a phone book. There is a major point of difference between local search and the conventional methods of looking up business details – that difference is the heightened level of interaction and convenience. Online local search not only provides you the basic business contact information, it can direct you to the business. In some cases, you may not need to call the business – say for example you’re looking to book in a car service. Rather than calling the mechanic, you could click on their website via the local search listing and make a booking online.
How local search is relative to the conventional phone book
Like the phonebook, online local search works on the notion of you searching through the index based on a keyword relevant to the goods or services you require. In a phonebook, when you locate the category pages you are presented with a compendium of businesses who offer services based on that parent category. Local search is the same, you can search based on a target category (or ‘keyword’, in search lingo) and you are confronted with a detailed list of highly relevant businesses – the difference is, these businesses are listed based on a measurement of your computer’s location, so not only do you get the mechanic you’re looking for, you get a complete list of mechanics in your local area as well as sophisticated directions that can take you from your garage to theirs.
The concept of ‘Farcasting’
What’s cool about local search is that it allows you to ‘farcast’ goods and services in an external region, something you could never achieve with the limitations of a regional ‘white pages’/phone book. Say for example I’m travelling from Sydney to Newcastle on the NSW mid-North coast. I’m arriving at night so I know I’m going to be pretty hungry after a long drive. I feel like having pizza for dinner so all I have to do is search for “Newscastle Pizza” and I can note down the locations of all the pizza restaurants in the region. I can even get directions from the hotel I will be staying at, to the front door of the place that I want to dine. This technique is known as ‘farcasting’ your search
The Power of a Local Search Rank
Google.com has the most comprehensive maps data available on the internet, as a result of their innovation and revolutionary technology, they are listed as the number one maps resource in terms of features and usability. With an almost unfair proportion of the online market-share, ranking in Google Maps should be an imperative part of any local search plan. To find out more on Google Maps ranking factors, check out local search optimisation resources page.