What is a Local Search? Everything That You Need to Know

what is a local searchUpdated February 19, 2024

From figuring out medical issues, to what the different symbols on your car’s dashboard mean, to everything in between, we have evolved to using the internet to search for just about every question we find ourselves needing the answer to.

This is no different when it comes to looking for businesses in your local area.

With the help of local search, we get personalized search results based on the area we live in.  And if you are in marketing, understanding local search algorithms can help you produce better results. So with that, let’s learn a little bit more about local search and how you can utilize it for your company.

What is a Local Search?

A local search is a query that is entered into a search engine that triggers localized results. Keywords that can produce local results include any instance where you include the city, town, or region that you want to find results in or enter key phrases such as “near me,” or “close by.” As a result, on Google, a local search will produce both organic listings, as well as a local 3-pack with data gathered from Google Maps.

What a Local SEO?

Local SEO is a branch of search engine optimization (SEO) that involves a business implementing tasks and tactics targeted to a specific region, town, or city. Similarly to a regular SEO strategy, the goals of local SEO are to help businesses gain traffic, leads, and potential business online. But instead of these leads coming from a more national or broad presence, users coming to your site are from your target area.

Examples of Local Search Triggers and Intent

Due to Google’s algorithm, there are a variety of basic keywords that will always produce a local pack. For example, if a user searches for “dentist,” Google recognizes the users search intent to be that the user is looking for dentists near them, without them having to specify that in their search:

dentist local search

However, by being more specific, we can turn off local search intent:

example of non local search for dentist

Local Identifiers and Search Terms

As mentioned briefly above, one of the things that can separate a “regular” search from a local search can be phrases used in the search query. Aside from common identifiers such as “near me” or “in X city” there can be other terms that can trigger a local search from a normal search:

example of local search for oranges

example of non local search for oranges

Having Trouble with Local Searches? Check Your Device

In order to produce a local search that is relevant to you, but sure that you have your location enabled for your device. For cell phones, this would be in your phone’s location settings. And on desktop, this would be in the browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) that you are using.

It’s also important to note that location can also be skewed on mobile devices if you are not connected to WiFi.

Why is Local Search Important?

Did you know that 61% of local consumers who participated in a survey said they search locally every day? Due to the high volume of local searches conducted on various search engines daily, it is vital that your business is ranking accordingly in order to be noticed.

Local search is also incredibly important when it comes to gaining qualified leads and sales for your business! And when you present the most up-to-date information for your potential customers, those looking for your services in your area are going to be able to easily find exactly what they are looking for in your business.

How Does Google Determine Your Company’s Local Ranking?

Google determines the overall local ranking in a variety of ways, with distance, relevance, and prominence being the most vital factors for your business. It is important to note that a combination of these factors is determined to deliver the best results for your business, so make sure that they can all be accounted for in your strategy.

For example, if you are looking for a commercial exterior painter for your company’s office building, a business that might be farther away from you could fit this query better than a business that is closer to you that only specializes in exterior house painting. That is why it is important to note in your Google Business Profile (GBP) all of the goods and services that your company can provide for relevance purposes.

How to Help Your Business Rank for Local Search

If you are a local serving business, such as a medical practice, gym, florist, or alike, there are multiple ways to gain more customers through some local search engine optimization tactics. Here are just 5 ways to get you started:

  • Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile by adding photos, including all of your services, and more (It helps if your company is ranking in Google’s Local Pack).
  • Accumulate reviews for your business, as 82% of consumers are known to read reviews of a business during a local search before making a decision.
  • Create or update location landing pages on your website to include keywords relevant to your business such as “gyms in Cincinnati
  • Work your local connections to gain more links to your site. This can be partners, directories, chambers of commerce, and more.
  • Conduct competitor research to find key differences between your GBP profile and website compared to businesses that rank above you

Businesses That Should Consider Local SEO Strategies

And many home services providers such as:

Get More Tips on Local Search Optimization

Sarah Blocksidge

About the Author

Sarah Blocksidge

Sarah is the Marketing Director at Sixth City Marketing and has been with the company since 2016. Her main role is to attract more B2B clients for the company. Over the years, she has been mentioned on HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, Fast Company, Mashable, and many other notable sites.

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