Local search (Internet)

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Evolution of Local Search
– Local search is the natural evolution of traditional off-line advertising.
– Consumers used to rely on local newspapers and TV and radio stations for local product and services.
– With the advent of the Web, consumers now use search engines to find local products and services online.
– The number of local searches online has grown rapidly while off-line information searches have declined.
– Local product and service providers are shifting their advertising investments to local search engines.

Methods of Local Search
– Local information can be searched through search engines, which often return results from directories and maps.
Google presents results from its directory, Google Business Profile, in Google Maps and search engine results pages.
– Apple Maps can also be used to search for local information.
– Search engines allow local businesses to upload their data to local search databases.
– Other local search engines include Windows Live Local, Yahoo! Local, and ask.com’s AskCity.

Local Search Results
Google can display a business’s information in mobile or desktop search results and in Google Maps results.
– Local search results often include a local pack that displays three listings.
– The local pack can be expanded to show more local results.
– Local search results can include organic results and ads.
Google’s algorithm updates, such as the Venice update, have improved local search results.

Ranking Factors in Local Search
– Major search engines use algorithms to determine local search rankings.
– Proper categorization in business directories and a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) impact local search rankings.
– Citations on relevant websites, such as chamber of commerce websites, also influence rankings.
– Backlinks and content with local keywords are important ranking factors.
– Having a verified Google Business Profile Page with reviews and photos positively affects rankings.

Private Label Local Search
– Local media companies are adding local search to their websites to attract local search traffic and advertising revenues.
– They develop their own technology or license private label or white label local search solutions.
– These solutions are based on in-house business listings databases.
– Local media companies aim to compete in the local search market.
– Private label local search helps them provide relevant local information to their audience.

Local search is the use of specialized Internet search engines that allow users to submit geographically constrained searches against a structured database of local business listings. Typical local search queries include not only information about "what" the site visitor is searching for (such as keywords, a business category, or the name of a consumer product) but also "where" information, such as a street address, city name, postal code, or geographic coordinates like latitude and longitude. Examples of local searches include "Hong Kong hotels", "Manhattan restaurants", and "Dublin car rental". Local searches exhibit explicit or implicit local intent. A search that includes a location modifier, such as "Bellevue, WA" or "14th arrondissement", is an explicit local search. A search that references a product or service that is typically consumed locally, such as "restaurant" or "nail salon", is an implicit local search.

Local searches on Google Search typically return organic results prefaced with a 'local 3-pack', a list of three local results. More local results can be obtained by clicking on “more places” under the 3-pack. The list of results one obtains is also called the Local Finder.

Search engines and directories are primarily supported by advertising from businesses that wish to be prominently featured when users search for specific products and services in specific locations. Google for instance, has developed local inventory ads and features ads in the local pack. Local search advertising can be highly effective because it allows ads to be targeted very precisely to the search terms and location provided by the user.

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