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Local Search Engines

Marketing websites for better local search traffic

Local search engines have become more advanced in recent years and although the ability to search for localised business online has been possible for a long time, the functionality of local search is improving, which in turn can offer businesses that may be targeting a local market, a new opportunity to generate more web traffic.

Google's Local Search launched in the UK in April 2005. Combining its own search index with the business database of Yell.com (Yellow Pages), this search option allows users to search for a particular type of business within a local area. It can be searched directly from the ‘local’ section of the site or it can be accessed from the top of the main search results list if listings are available from a relevant search.

By combining a type of business or service with a location name or post code, Google Local will display a list of relevant companies taken from Yell and relevant web pages listed on Google. In most cases, companies are listed in order of distance from the chosen location, although alternative rankings may be displayed based on Google’s relevance criteria. Clicking on a company link will bring up a page with information about the business, include web links to its own site or other sites on Google that refer to the business.

A map is also displayed from the Google Maps service, which marks the locations of the companies listed. This map is interactive, allowing you to zoom in or out, move around and also request a route map to a selected business from another specified location. This search option will undoubtedly support business listings on Yell.com as it becomes more popular. This is good news for Yell, who are facing increasing pressure from the use of search engines to display results for localised searches. It will also further extend the range of options being offered by Google and provides a powerful new business search tool.

Local search functions are also provided by Yahoo, who have combined with Thomson's Directories for their UK business search tool, plus MSN Search is also developing its local search engine, combining with the mapping functions offered by its Virtual Earth service (currently only covering the USA). 

If you’d like to find out more about local search engines and how they can benefit your business, please contact us for more information or to request a FREE website assessment to see how well your website currently performs.