Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on March 19th, 2009

Three Local Search Insights That Will Change Your Brand

Every time a phonebook shows up on my porch, I almost cry for the tree that was wasted. The ability to search on the Internet for something local has made the poor pile of yellow paper obsolete. According to an SBI+M article, 54 percent of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books. Ninety percent of online commercial searches result in a local offline purchase and 61 percent of all local searches results in a transaction. If you hadn’t yet completely grasped the paradigm shift the Internet brings to human consumption, please sit down.

Introduce Yourself: Identity References

Address citations throughout your site are another way to build references everywhere with variations of your business name, brand logo, address, phone and web address. Having a photo thumbnail and a local listing on the same search result will also really help drive traffic your way.

Do Some Homework: Study Your Competition

Find out where your local competition has link groupings. A local link grouping is a page on the Internet where your competitors get incoming links. Focus on getting your site into those groupings of local links.

Get Connected: Social and Mobile Search

If I hear the word “Twitter” one more time I might “tweet” myself.  But that’s because everyone is on it, getting a constant stream of information from people they want to communicate with. You have an opportunity to post mini articles, 140 characters to be precise, to their Twitter at any time. It’s basically micro-blogging. Then you can link all your other social media websites to your Twitter and leverage all of the sites at once. Mobile search is also blowing up through apps that allow you access to almost any information and tool on your mobile device that you can think of… they even have iBeer!

Recently, The Kelsey Group published statistics on U.S. Mobile Local Search:

•    The percentage of mobile searches that have local intent will increase from 28 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2013.

•    There are 54.5 million mobile Internet users in the United States, representing 25 percent of online users.

•    Approximately 15 percent of iPhone applications are local.

The SEO industry is growing and converging with other worlds online at all levels of the game. More tools and applications will come out that will help users search online with more precision. Keep an eye out for Apple and Google to maintain their big player status in this area in 2009. iPhone is still gaining momentum with its capabilities and Google Mobile is unsurprisingly a major factor in the world of local search. Don’t ever give up, get educated.

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