Local Search- Are We There Yet?

Sample Google Local Search ResultLocal Search is quickly becoming a new catch phrase in the vocabulary of many marketers eager to embrace the Mobile Web, but do we really understand what it entails? You may have come across a few terms like Google Local, Local maps, or possible Citysearch but what does it all mean?

We are going to give a very brief description of some of the more important terms from the perspective of a small business owner. We presume that you realize we are not speaking of doing an address search in a telephone book. All searches referred to are digital, i.e., they are conducted online.

Local Search Engines – Still Growing But Up To The Challenge

The engines understand that someone conducting a business search on a mobile platform has a greater sense of urgency and is usually only interested in the local demographics of a business.

A local mobile searcher is usually looking for directions, hours of operation or a telephone number. They basically want to know if you have what they are looking for and how to contact you. That’s it. This is different from desktop computer users who are more interested in doing research first.

These local businesses must be indexed in a different way to allow them to be found more easily by a mobile searcher. Several tools come to mind that make this happen. There’s Googlemaps, Local maps, Google Places and several business directories.

Local search is still going through it’s growing pains, so consider it far from perfect, however, it’s quite adequate for the most part.

4 Local Search Engines You Should Monitor

Google Mobile – Results provided are based upon information gathered by Google from all local information sources available around the Internet. Some techies are blaming the random erratic search results on the engine itself, however, when over 96% of local businesses have not claimed their local listings, it’s easy to see why. A complete search engine submission for your small business goes a long way here.

Yahoo! Mobile – Pretty much the same as Google, minus the speech search capability, which we didn’t mention, since as of the date of this writing, is still in Beta testing.

Bing Mobile – Nice but not quite up to snuff as the previous two engines. Also, unlike Google and Yahoo!, your location cannot be set by GPS, which is a small inconvenience.

Ask Mobile – They have a long way to go but interestingly enough, they are still plugging away. In the vast local search arena, there’s room at the top for them.

We really just touched the surface with this article. Our point was to make you aware of local search as a growing but still viable way to list your local business in the engines. Now it’s up to you to work the rest of it out.