Local search has gotten much attention across the web in addition from us here on the WebiMax blog as the importance of it for business marketing is clear. Local search is extremely prevalent and will only increase in its occurrence among web searchers and smartphone users in the years to come. Now, recent research from comScore with the 2012 Localeze Local Search Usage Study shows some new numbers that give a look deeper inside local search and why it is so important for consumers.

According to the survey, web searchers for online businesses feel that local search results are more relevant and trustworthy than general or paid search results. The numbers don’t lie, 61% of the searches believe local search results hold more relevance compared to only 10% that feels paid results are more relevant. Further, 58% of web searchers believe local search results are more trustworthy, compared to 9% who feel that paid search results garner greater trust. The message is clear: local businesses that cater to specific local audiences need to engage in purposeful SEO in order to optimize their properties to get the exposure in local searches.

How to Optimize
The question becomes what is the information that people are looking for during these local searches? According to the research, contact details like addresses and phone numbers are the key bits of information that they seek when they perform local search queries, especially when on the go using a mobile device. Other than this information, store hours, relevant maps, and driving directions are among the other elements searchers seek. Other research points out that over half of SMBs do not put their business phone number on the company homepage. Clearly, businesses are not doing all they can.

Research also shows that web searchers are searching categories and subject areas more than specific businesses. Customers search related keywords or phrases and begin diving deeper and gathering information. This allows them to find out as much as they can about the subject and access the most relevant information. This gives all the more reason to businesses for them to work with SEO companies on their local search engine optimization to optimize listings such as Google Places and others. Soon nearly all businesses will have this mastered and factored into their marketing strategies, but until that time those who do will have the distinct advantage.

Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com and @ryanwbudd for more information on local searching and how it is essential for businesses catering to local audiences.