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.

I have written a good amount on the importance of local search for businesses with the rise in smartphones and more specifically, the rise in web searching on smartphones. The rate of search is impressive. In a recent Google study, 99% of global respondents indicated they use search engines on their smartphone, and searching for local businesses is one of the most popular searches. The essential point on this if you are unfamiliar, is that SEO companies and marketers can assist businesses that cater to local audiences by increasing their presence on local-centered platforms and features. SEO for geo-targeted search terms and optimizing pages on local features such as Google Places will improve the online visibility of businesses when searchers enter queries for their industry in their geographic area.

Google is an essential player in local search with their search engine, Google Places, and Google+. Now they have introduced a feature that makes local searching that much more convenient for the end-user. Now, when you do a search about a place on Google on your PC, for example, and get the information you need, the information will be available later when you go to Google on your smartphone under the “Recent” icon. This is convenient for all types of searching but especially local searches when you are looking at directions or details of a business before you go someplace and then you are able to bring that information back up again once on the move using your smartphone.

This feature is available for users that are logged-in and have web history enabled, so the convenience is only geared towards their Google account holders. This enhances the features available to Google users and can be an attempt to sweeten the Google experience for signed-in account holders, as they are ultimately seeking to increase the number of signed-in users to gain more user information. Regardless of the reason for its introduction, it is a small yet innovative advancement that will only make local search more convenient thus boosting it.

The main takeaway here for businesses is that local search is only going to become more important and become more convenient with innovations like the one described above. Thus, businesses need to optimize for local search and can do so by partnering with SEO companies to get the right exposure on the right platforms. This exposure can make or break a company’s local relevance and exposure and by extension, their ability to do business with this local market.

Please reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com if you would like more information regarding local search and how it can improve your business’ ability to drive more local business.

The use of mobile phones, and by extension, the use of mobile internet is on the rise globally. International SEO experts are recognizing the increased potential for optimization in new markets with the rapid expansion of the mobile web. More and more people are using their smartphones to surf the web, and thus creating more of a need for optimized content on companies’ mobile and standard websites. New research offers insight into mobile internet use across 30 different countries, and I’ll touch on the highlights for Asia, a region we haven’t discussed much as of late.

As search engine optimization is my primary concern, I am most interested not in data or internet usage, but the searching that is being done on mobile devices. So looking at the numbers, mobile search engine usage is highest in India with a 78% rate, followed by Korea at 76%, and Japan, Indonesia, and urban China at 68%. As a point of comparison, the US rates at 57%. Take note International SEO developers and consultants, there are a great deal of searches being conducted in this region…very often. India again tops the chart for frequency of searches as 81% of respondents say they search a “high” amount, whereas Korea and Japan rank at rates of 72% and 71%, respectively.

Addressing local search, 18 -29 year olds are the most active. Singaporeans of this age search for restaurants at the highest rate (66%), whereas 18-29 year old Australians and natives of Thailand are the most likely to search for flats or a house (29%). Most importantly for SEO, users that visited a website after a local search the most are urban Indonesians (74%) and those in Thailand (64%). Users made a purchase after a local search the most in Indonesia (34%), China (33%), and India (31%).

Are these the countries with the greatest e-commerce and thus SEO potential? Potentially, but the truth is there is international SEO potential all over the globe. The first 4G smartphone released in Australia will launch later this month, further expanding mobile capability in the country. This is significant as the country already boasts the highest smartphone adoption rate (37%), ahead of the US (31%) and UK (30%). The phone is an HTC Android device and will be available on the Telstra network. With 4G, Australians can use more data faster which will likely increase mobile data usage throughout the country. Similarly, just yesterday my blog post touched on mobile internet use in France as Iliad is launching a new inexpensive mobile network that is sure to drive prices down across the French market and increase mobile search there. It is clear the trend is global.