Beginning this series on local search, I think it’s important to give a little definition to our topic. Local search is essentially any search activity that involves looking for products, services or information related to a certain geographical area. You might be looking for sushi near your office, a hotel near the conference you’re attending, or a florist near your Grandma’s house.
There are any number of local search providers, but as you would expect Google is the biggest player, along with Yahoo! and MSN. Each have their own Local Search divison. Interestingly, MapQuest is still the largest online mapping site, although Google Maps is gaining.
The search engines do a reasonably good job of recognizing local queries like “Anaheim Florist” will often result a display like this above the normal organic results:
You should also note that the first organic results shown under the Local 10-Pack has a map link attached to it. That is a sign of the level of confidence Google has in the location of the website’s business.
After each link within the Local 10-Pack is either a link to “More” info on the business, or “X Reviews” of the business. These links will take you into the Local Business Listing for that business.
I had already planned to highlight the importance of claiming your Local Business Listing in this article, but a recent thread on FlowerChat emphasized the risks associated with not claiming – that someone else might claim it if you don’t.
In this case an affiliate marketer (operating on a commission contract) for a few well-known floral companies hijacked business listings for a number of florists and inserted links to his website. He was able to do it in a way that the reviews and business info remained in place, but the website links pointed to him.
Scary? Heck ya! Avoidable? You know it!
So, we’ll close today with a few links – some after-class weekend reading, if you will:
- How to claim your Google Local listing
- Guide to Google Local
- Guide to Yahoo! Local
- Guide to MSN Local
- MapQuest Local Content
Now, I expect everyone to return to class on Monday with your homework done and all local profiles claimed & completed.
Class dismissed – have a good weekend!