Despite all the well-publicized changes to search algorithms, businesses can still win big by dominating local search with a small budget.

What is a Local Search?

Local Search is a query that produces results based upon the geography of the searcher either because he or she included a geographic term or because the engine automatically supplied results based upon information about the searcher’s location.

Searchers add location to their queries when they want to find something near where they are.  Instead of “tile store”, they search “tile store Scottsdale.”

If a search engine knows the location of the user, it will automatically offer local search results.

Local Search: Dominated By a Few Traffic Sources

There is a huge volume of local users and searches, but just a few search services deliver the bulk of the traffic. The trick is to use the strongest search engines and directories to attract a large audience. That is where your strategy comes into play. You can still win big in local search with a small budget.

Submitting to the hundreds of local directories generally isn’t worth the time and effort. Instead, businesses should take these steps:

#1: Register with Google+ and Bing

Google+ is the fastest way to get your business seen. If you’re not part of Google+, you’re missing the opportunity to be found by many prospective clients who are using local search.

Submit to Bing, too. Bing is the second most popular search engine, it’s a second priority but still very important.

Bing’s search volume increased in 2013, likely because of its aggressive advertising.

#2:  Be selective when submitting to directories and IYPs

Visits to directories and internet yellow pages (IYPs) have dropped by 22 percent, but you shouldn’t ignore them because a few can be excellent sources of local search traffic.

According to Bright Local, these are the top 12 local traffic sites:

You may decide not to submit to all of these due to time and money. That’s fine, but strongly consider a presence on Yelp. Yelp received an average of 83 million visits per month from August through December 2013, more than twice the number of visitors to any other directory.

#3:  Submit your locations to Yext PowerListings

Haven’t heard of Yext?  That’s a shame because it will help your company be found on 50+ sites and put your business in front of 150M users.  Yext feeds many of the places that local searchers look, and it updates in seven days or less (as opposed to 8-12 weeks).  Yext makes it easy to submit location information and track local searches. In addition, Yext PowerListings allows business owners to update their business listings in Factual’s directory in just minutes.

#4:  Get on Factual

Though you have to manually submit on Factual, it is free. New to the local ecosystem, Factual is an open data platform that focuses on making data more accessible to allow for the creation of more innovative tools and apps. It includes billions of inputs on more than 65 million points of interest and businesses in more than 50 countries across verticals such as restaurants and doctors.

Factual processes data from all these sources, extracting both structured and unstructured data, and then cleaning, standardizing and canonicalizing it.  Finally, the stack merges and de-duplicates before mapping across multiple sources.  It’s a wonderful process, and it can help customers find your company and help you easily maintain your local information.

Key Takeaways for Local Search with a Small Budget:

  • Local search is a cost-effective method to help you be found.
  • Spend your time on those local search engines and directories with the best ROI.

These days, social media plays a huge role in local search with a small budget. Learn more ways you can leverage social platforms to drive customers to your store with our article, Local SEO & Social Media: A Modern Love Story.

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