Lately, local search seems to have become all consumed with the Google Places Local Business Directory. The reason being, Google lists their Places results at the top of the page ahead of the traditional organic search listings. This has created a dynamic shift in the way Internet marketers and local business owners use the Internet for community based customer acquisition. Many local businesses have come to find themselves struggling in a stagnate economy, and know they have to look beyond the phonebook for new customers.
Google Places is such an attractive marketing channel because of its absence of cost and the tremendous potential ROI the platform can offer local business. Within the past few years, Google has been working extremely hard to identify “search intent”. This is the process of understanding the meaning (or “intent”) behind a keyword search as well as the search engine users motivation for performing the search. So in other words, if a New York based searcher enters the keyword phrase “dentists”, Google understands that they are not looking for a dental practitioners based out of L.A. , and serves their results accordingly. So instead competing for search engine positions on a national scale, these local business owners are now vying for position amongst only their regional competition. This has leveled the playing for businesses that before felt it was impossible to compete on such a national scale.
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