The trend towards local search has been heating up over the past few business cycles, and this trend does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Businesses are slowly finding that they must create a localized strategy in order to maximize their ROI from an online marketing strategy. Consumers are finding that they can get some great deals from the new medium and competition that is being created by the trend.
Local Search and Google
The reason for the trend towards localization can be largely attributed to Google. The leader in search engine visibility across the Internet basically dictates the policy for the rest of the online world. They found that rewarding sites that created a local profile created more relevant results for all queries. Because of this, they have actually started to punish sites that do not have a local profile.
Indiscriminate mass marketing is no longer a viable option for any business that wants to maintain a relationship with Google – localization is the key. This is actually an advantage for small businesses that do not have the resources to compete with enterprise level companies even online. Although it is much more precise, Google’s trend towards localization can actually mean more business for small local business, not less.
Local Search and Consumers
Consumers can now attach their search queries to their social media profiles in order to receive specialized listings for their area. This can give more relevant listings to every person who is using the search engine service without creating problems for anyone else using the service.
Many businesses will use the specialized results to offer discounts that are not available anywhere else except online. There are many marketing programs that businesses can use in order to incentivize consumers in this way, some of them actually underwritten by Google itself.
In the latest studies from many independent, third-party marketing firms, anywhere from 91 to 97% of all consumers will find new businesses primarily from search engine rankings. This is especially incredible considering that these same studies found that Internet service has not yet found market saturation. Recently, localized searches have given even the giant retailer Amazon a run for its money, causing Amazon to try to incorporate these listings into their platform as well.
Local Search and Businesses
Localization presents many opportunities for businesses. With the new system that search engines have implemented, specialized results means more foot traffic to storefronts of local stores. As long as a local store does its part in maintaining its local profile, it can place itself in the line of fire for a great deal of new business that would otherwise not know about it at all.
This is especially important when one considers the death of the directory system online. Directories have become quite spam ridden according to many online marketers. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, private directories compete with the major search engines for web traffic. It is perhaps no coincidence that directory traffic has gone way down while localized search engine traffic has gone up in the same period.
Because everyone seems to benefit from the localization of search engines, the trend will likely continue far into the future. Consumers will continue to search local stores through this medium, and businesses will continue to create a more precise online profile for themselves in order to draw in new traffic from the local areas. Localization will continue to increase as the Internet continues to saturate itself throughout local rural areas that do not have online service in the present.