Location, Location, Location: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Local Search

By Richard Fouts | February 13, 2013 | 2 Comments

Have you ever used Google to find and book a restaurant reservation in another city; or a tour in the foreign country you’re about to visit? Ever buy a rare book from a Japanese bookseller?  Though the Internet has made the world smaller, Google reports that 75% of its search activity is from users looking for local resources. It’s also interesting to note that Google algorithms also favor social sites first, vendor sites second (Google “help me furnish my new office” and you’ll see what I mean).

Mobile enabled consumers eager to engage socially with peers prior to a local purchase – has been coined the SoLoMo movement (social, local, mobile).  According to an AgeAge study, consumers trust local listing more other search results. 72% of those surveyed said they trust comments more from someone in their locale. 52% said they were more likely to use a local business if it has positive reviews. 

Our desire to stick close to home is especially good news for retailers, who depend on local traffic. But the wakeup call to national brands: Get a comprehensive and integrated local strategy in place (one that spans offline and online channels). Allocating budget to local marketing is always a challenge for global brands, but thanks to technology there are more ways than ever to control and manage local marketing.

Products from up-and-comers like Adcentricity, Balihoo and Yext, help marketers automate, create, curate and manage marketing content. Sears, with its 1200 stores across the US, is working with Yext to do just that. CMO Dave Buckley said to AdAge earlier this year, “Local is extremely important to us and we’re putting a huge initiative behind making sure the basics of where people might discover us is correct. It’s not sexy digital technology, but it’s necessary.”

Read more about the Sears initiative http://adage.com/trend-reports/report.php?id=70.  

 

 

2 Comments
  1. 13 February 2013 at 3:12 pm
    Amrita says:

    I see this as a natural evolution of search, going from a high volume, broad result to a more customized approach which relies heavily on social and local recommendations/filters.

    I haven’t yet heard of a large brand doing this who is *not* a retailer. Do you happen to know of any?

  2. 13 February 2013 at 6:22 pm
    Richard Fouts says:

    Your POV is well said. I have not seen this by a non-retailer. Any national retail brand losing share to online alternatives (or being threatened by them) is a prospect for companies like Yext.

    This is digital disruption at its best, but in a good way. National brand managers have always thought of local as a channel, but now local is a layer of information embedded in other channels, such as search and advertising. To your point, this information enables custom ads enabled by local recommendations/filters. I just googled “Lexus service 94114″ and got links to nearby locations in San Francisco and Marin. Reviews of these locations (from Yelp) surfaced high on the organic list. Bottom line: local search is big business.

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