Local Search for Non-Local Marketing

[Ed Note: Last week, Michael Fleischner presented on the webinar “How to Make Google Fall in Love With You,” (click here to watch it on demand). One area of his presentation that many listeners wanted more information on was local search and how it impacts even non-local marketers. This article has more on why this emerging field is so important. And if you want to hear about how to rank well on Google globally, catch the Aug. 19 webinar “Spanning the Globe With Google.”]

It’s hard to avoid. The practice of local search is growing like a firestorm thanks to the explosion in portable electronic devices. The percentage of online searches with local intent, some kind of location-related component, has reached around 50 percent or more based on recent Internet Marketing research (ComScore 2014). What does this mean for local businesses? What does this mean for companies with a national audience?

If you’re a local business, serving local customers, you obviously can’t ignore the importance of local search. Knowing that shoppers want access to products and services within a given radius means one thing—if your business is not listed online at the time of search, you’re missing out. For local businesses, the connection to local search results is clear. But what if you’re not a local business?

Local Search: Good News and Bad News
The growing importance of local search brings with it opportunities for non-local businesses, and some challenges as well. This is because Google has been trying to build the largest business database for years and apply it to all types of businesses, not just local ones. Google Places, their primary directory for returning business results in search engine result lists, allows companies to submit, claim and verify their company information. However, companies that do not appear in this database may have less weight in search results—regardless of the area they serve. This is based on work we’ve done with dozens of clients at both a local and national level and analyzing website authority.