What is local search?Local search often refers to a way to submit your business information to the search engines to target geographic locations. Local Search has been available in the major search engines for a while now. Other websites such as chambers of commerce provide local search capabilities as well.
Think about how you found a local business twenty years ago. You’d most likely open the paper phone book and look in the yellow pages. But today, you’d probably go to a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing and type in a search query. You might even use your mobile phone or GPS unit to find a restaurant or shop.
To make it easier for people to find local businesses, search engines created online directories that allow you to find that pizza place or hair salon. Local search gives results in your geographic area. So, if you live in Chicago, you don’t get a listings for pizza places in New York or LA. You can even search by zip code to refine the results. Google Maps and Yahoo! Local are examples of local search directories.
Submitting your Business to Local Search
To get a business listed in local search, you have to submit it to each search engine separately. You can customize your listing with photos, hours of operation, and descriptions of your products and services along with other options such as videos and web site links.
The submission process is slightly different at each search engine. For example, you may have to create an account and/or confirm your listing before it goes live. This does take time to set up but basic listings are free.
Another thing that local search provides is interactive maps which means users can get directions to your business right from the search results. So, don’t forget to submit listings for all of your locations.
Keep in mind that if your business doesn’t have a web site or is part of a larger organization (franchisee), you can still submit your location to the local search directories.
Additional Local Search Providers
In additional to the local directories of the major search engines, other web sites provide local search capabilities. If you want to expand your reach beyond the major engines, then check out sites for more options.
And don’t forget that many local chambers of commerce, regional websites, and trade associations also provide local search capabilities.