Local Search Means Business

A new comScore study released by the Yellow Pages Association provides interesting insights about local search and how consumers are using it to seek products and services online.

According to the comScore study, local search grew 58 percent in 2008, significantly outpacing the 21 percent growth in overall U.S. core web searches during the same period. As local search grew, Internet Yellow Pages and local online business directories saw double-digit growth of 23 percent over 2008.

In addition, the study showed that 75 percent of the top 100 keywords searched on Internet Yellow Pages sites (IYPs) are non-branded. Nevertheless, nearly half (45 percent) of Internet Yellow Pages and local online directory searchers went on to make an online purchase in the fourth quarter of 2008.

So what does this tell us?

Lesson 1: Shoppers want convenience. It used to be that consumers would rather visit the store to “look and see” a prospective purchase in person. The growth in local search indicates that times have changed. With the limited time available to most people in today’s world, shoppers are turning to the 24-hour, anywhere, anytime convenience of the Internet for everything—even to reach out to the company next door.

Lesson 2: Local search means business. It appears that in many cases, local search is less about browsing your options, and more about closing the deal. The juxtaposition of the non-branded IYP searches and the high rate of e-commerce amongst IYP searchers tells us that even though online shoppers don’t know specifically what or where they will buy from, they are ready to buy and their local search is just a means to an end.

Lesson 3: As local search grows, so too will the demand for local business information. There continues to be a lot of discussion about which local search outlets will grow and which will wane in the evolving online environment. Clearly, all old models are going to have to adapt to stay competitive, but the increase in search and the ripple effect to IYPs indicates that as local search grows, the demand for accurate local business data will too.

Overall, these are all strong arguments for local businesses to create or enhance their online profiles if they haven’t done so already. If the hyperlocal trend continues at this rate, ignoring the internet will catch up with a business, no matter how small or what niche it occupies.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Local Search Column


About The Author: brings nearly three decades of Yellow Pages and local search experience, as Director of Research for the Yellow Pages Association (YPA). Larry spearheads and advises on all association-driven research activities for the industry, as well as blogs about the industry on the InsideYP blog.

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  • http://www.seofortwayne.com cpollittiu

    I couldn’t agree more concerning local search. When working with clients I always help them develop a local search strategy. Yellow pages, Yelp, Merchant Circle and Google maps, just to name a few, all provide valuable backlinks and traffic to local websites.


  • guiaslocal

    This is a great article. Local search is being brought to a new level. I strongly believe yellow page companies will be replaced by more personalized social local networks and mobile platforms. I’m CEO of a new start-up called Guías Local which means “Local Guides” it is a new bilingual local search start-up that connects an internet and mobile audience to over 150 major US cities and millions of businesses. We feel confident we will make an impact with our new bilingual local search. In the next weeks we are presenting to VC and digital companies. When we launch to the public, we are excited to compete against all local search companies. Our audience is Gen Y. We look forward to meeting you all real soon and bringing you the best bilingual non yellow page search in The U.S..

  • dante7921

    This article says a lot about what local search is, where it’s going and how it’s going to effect business in the future. I too am CEO of a start up local search engine called http://www.searchforitlocal.com. We currently have released our beta site and are cramming to put out v2 as we speak. V2 will have geoip locating for quick local results as well as setting your preferred location. We’ve been able to gather data on over 12 million buisnesses across the us which dynamically drives our site to a whopping 80 million webpage site. We have also partnered up with career builder for local job search and are in the process of co branding with other large online sites.

    I think the bilingual site guialocal is talking about above sounds like a fantastic idea and we at searchforitlocal.com wish you all the luck in the world.

    Great article!


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