Local Search is finally standing up to be counted. Once considered an uncertain “trend”, the integration of the web into our everyday lives has meant that locally targeted search campaigns are not only viable, but for many firms, far more lucrative.
Borrell Associates have just released their “2006 Local Search Advertising” report, which predicts with some conviction that local advertisers are set to double their paid advertising spend this year, which will see it reach $987 million. What’s more, 2007 should see it double yet again.
The report suggests that local search’s “experimentation phase” is over. As with any trend, the market innovators test the water, and where sustainability prevails, the rest of the market follows. In this case, local search’s main proponents in the early stages have been real estate and mortgage advertisers. With their goals to feature in prominent positions in the search results, geo-targeted paid search has been their core strategy.
For local search to be successful, it takes more than strong demand by advertisers, and the expectation by searchers for local listings is really what’s driving the search trend. The report probed 400 ad experts for their predictions in local search, and over 60% believe that search engines will morph with online yellow pages models within the next two years. Say goodbye to your old print Yellow Pages as consumers are now relying on the web for these local business searches, and the trend is growing exponentially.
The Yellow Pages is not the only institution under threat. 50% of the panellists believe that local search engines will replace national search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN within five years, assuming dominant local search engines emerge. That’s a big claim, and is probably the reason why the major search engines are investing so much time and money into local search technology.
So what does this mean for you – local search advertisers?
If you’re already undertaking local targeting in your search marketing campaigns, then you’re already a part of the leading group of companies that have realized the value of this strategy. Accordingly, continue with your efforts and ensure your website is ready for organic local targeting also. If you haven’t started geo-targeting, now is the time to start investigating your options.
While most of the Borrell Associates’ report discusses paid search advertising, which can offer instant qualified traffic, there are several steps firms can undertake to start local targeting within their optimization strategies. For tips on how to make your website “local” search friendly, review our previous post – DIY Tip: Targeting Local Customers.
Either way now is the time to review the returns of your traditional advertising in newspapers and local print yellow pages, and start embracing the local advertising of the future – Search Engine Marketing!