What Is Local Search?
“Local search” is when people search for local businesses, places and services using search engines like Google and Bing, or directories such as Yell.com. Typically people use search terms such as “business near me”, or “businesses in location” , or “service in location”, for example, “hair salon near me”, “dentists in Brighton”, etc.
Because the searches are “Local” the results are localised, so only businesses that are based in that locality will be shown. Typically these are businesses that provide their services to a local community such as shops, pubs, restaurants, plumbers, hairdressers, etc..
People use local search to find a business, but then to get directions, opening times, a number to call or a link to the website.
Why Is Local Search Important?
Local search is important because 76% of people go online to search for local services.
Just as people used to use The Yellow Pages to search for local service, today they use Google. Instead of showing individual business listings in The Yellow Pages, Google now shows Google Business Profiles* (GBP).
*These were previously called Google My Business, and Google has recently changed the name to Google Business Profiles. The functionality of the platform has remained largely the same.
This means that your Google Business Profile and how it appears in local search is one of the most important ‘adverts’ for your business. Most people will see your GBP before or instead of your website.
What’s the Difference Between Local Search and Web Search?
The fundamental difference between local search and web search is that Local search is based around your locality, whereas websearch is based on your website. This means that you have to be physically based in/around a given location to appear in those search results.
Whereas a website has the potential to appear in search results from anywhere in the world, with local search – it’s all about locality! If you are not ‘listed’ as a local business – you won’t appear in local search. So for local businesses, an address is more important than a website.
Why is ‘Near Me’ So Important In Local Search?
More and more people use ‘near me’ search. It is so prolific as a search term that Google now suggests ‘near me’ in the search string. For example, if I’m searching Google for a ‘restaurant’, Google may suggest ‘restaurant + near me’ and people often choose to use that suggestion.
‘Near me’ is a quick way of saying; ‘in my location’ or ‘X town’, so instead of typing “Restaurants in Brighton”(for example) people can type “restaurants near me”. The reason this is possible is because Google knows where you are!
Near me is all about locality and where you customers are in relation to where you serve your customers from. That is to say; their location versus your business location.
Do I need A Website For Local Search?
To appear in local search you need to be physically located in the area that people are looking, so in this respect an address is more important than a website.
Many businesses do not have a website, yet appear in Google Maps because their business has been ‘registered’ with a local address.
A big mistake new businesses make is to invest in a website before Google Maps. They then spend a lot of time and money trying to get their website to the top of web searches only to find the people still don’t call.
If you are setting up a new local business, the first thing you need to do is get a Google Business Profile listing before worrying about a website. Customers are more likely to find your business by searching Google or Google Maps in their local area, than they are to find your new website.
How Does MiShop.local Help with Local Search Strategy?
MiShop.local calls on years’ of experience in managing Google Business Profiles for 1000’s of locations in every business sector from small business to national brands with thousands of locations. We’ve managed Google Business profiles for businesses in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Poland, Bahamas, Canada, Hong Kong and more.
We know what works and what doesn’t in local search.
We can help your business to maximise the benefits of Google Business Profiles. More importantly, we are honest and realistic about what your business can expect to achieve.
We do not guarantee to get you to the top of Google search (steer clear of anyone who claims they can), instead, we guarantee to get you more customers by optimising and managing your Google Business Profile.