Local search can be defined as the experience when consumers search via the web or mobile-based sites and apps with a query that contains a geo-specific term such as a city name or zip code or where location is derived by the publisher to make the search results more relevant. The results that follow are typically comprised of businesses or points of interest with specific information such as name, address, phone number and other enhanced data fields. Consumers are conducting local searches across the internet via search engines, mapping services, internet yellow pages, specialized directories and social media sites on both the desktop as well as mobile devices. According to an immr/YP Local Search Study on “How Consumers Are Using Local Search” 4 in 10 individuals use local search once a day, while two-thirds use local search at least 3-4 times per week. If your business doesn’t appear in local search results you are missing out.
Ensuring a business appears in local search results is not an easy task, yet it is crucial for both small-medium business and multi-location enterprises alike. Beyond the fact that there are multiple publishers providing a local search service, there are multiple sources that publishers leverage to populate their business listings databases. This means local listings come from structured data sets, versus the standard organic search results that come from extracted website information. While these sources are all working hard to have accurate, complete data sets on local businesses, the way they obtain, clean and normalize the data and their process for providing it to publishers vary.
This complicated ecosystem makes it unclear to marketers what they need to do in order to make sure a business is represented accurately across all the places users are searching. Understanding where consumers are searching, what types of results they encounter and how to work with the different sources that provide business listing information is the first step towards having a quality local search presence.
This Local Search paper was developed by a sub group of the IAB Local Committee which is part of the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence. IAB Local Committee contributors include representatives of the following IAB member companies:
Acxiom Corporation xAd.com
Google Yahoo!, Inc
Local Search Association Yext
UBL Interactive, Inc.