Local search is defined as any search that has local intent.   Google believes that over 70% of all searches are local intent. A business doesn’t need a website to show up in local searches, the search engines are grabbing data from on-line directories, so any business that has an online yellow page listing probably has a local listing in Google.    Google allows you to “claim” your listing by signing up for a Google Places account. Even if you don’t have a Google Places account, you probably have a local listing, however by claiming your local listing you have the opportunity to make sure the information is correct and optimize your listing for the keywords or categories you want to show up in.   Basically if you are a local business, the only way you are going to get found in Google is to have your Google Places listed or do pay per click. More information on local listingsWhat if you are not a local business?   Should you even care what your local listing is like? Should you bother claiming your listing? I think you should and here are four reasons why.
1.      Prevent Hijacking: by claiming your local listing you are preventing someone else from trying to claim it and putting false information in it. One obvious thing a hijacker could do is put their own website in the listing thereby creating a link and source (small indeed) of traffic to their website.
2.       First Impressions: I have several clients that are not local, but people still search their name with a location modifier which triggers the local listing. By claiming your listing you can make sure your information is updated and accurate, you also can make sure that there are nice images and customer testimonials. Google Places listing may be your first impression with a client.
3.       Correct Information: Visitors to your company may do a local search and find your listing to get directions– you want to make sure that at least the address is correct.
4.       Traffic:  Google will sometimes will “misinterpret” a search and put a local listing when the searcher was not intending to be local. For a local search, the only way you can get in the top listings is through your Google Places so taking the time to claim and do some optimization will at least give you a chance to show up.   Your local listing may not give you a lot of traffic, but for a minimum amount of effort, it will probably be traffic worth getting.
If you need help with claiming or optimizing your local listing for all the search engines – please contact us and let us optimize your local search listing.