An interesting post
from Small Business SEM shows that overall, local search queries have been on the rise in both volume and frequency. The fact is that more people are now performing local based searches and interacting with local businesses online.
The first chart shows that local web searches have experienced a 76% increase from around March 2007 to Feb 08.
The second graph shows that local searches are also being performed more frequently, with the number of local searches per searcher also on the rise:
While those figures date back to earlier this year, the increase in local searches shows no sign of slowing down. Only 2 months ago, I pointed to some further research that indicates search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN have now overtaken the print yellow pages as the main way people find local merchants.
What these figures mean for local businesses is that you need to be found on the internet. As consumers become more sophisticated and targeted with their search queries, you need to make sure your business can be found on local search queries.
At a bare minimum, your business should have a local listing so that when users are searching for your local services, you have a chance of appearing on the front page of Google in their local section above search results.
If you want to take local search a step further, you should make sure you optimize your local listing to include as much information about your business as possible and encourage happy customers to go online and review your business.
Another tip is to try including your physical business address on the footer of your site so that Google knows which local searches you should appear for.