Tweak Your Biz

Home » Marketing » Local Search Explained: Start Your Campaign Today

Local Search Explained: Start Your Campaign Today

According to the Kelsey Group, ‘74 percent of Internet users perform local searches’.

What is a local search? When you enter a location specific keyword you are performing a ‘local search’. For example searching for ‘dublin pizza’ above. Many of you will have noticed that these local searches now trigger a map in search engine results from Google (Map highlighted in red above).

Note:  Search queries with ‘local intent’ also appear. i.e. restaurant, pizza, butcher – by themselves can trigger the map results to appear.

This map and results are generally placed at the top of the search results. More recently Google have begun to blend the local map listings with what were traditionally the organic results (free listings). This can be seen in searches like ‘accountant dublin’ below. The local ranking factors are playing a big part in these blended results (we have highlighted the map and local listing in red below).

Google return local and mobile search results based on a different set of criteria to the traditional search results (SERPs). Effectively they use a different algorithm. Small and Local businesses can now compete for prime positions at the top of the search results without spending the large sums of money that were previously required. The key is to focus your efforts in the right areas by building up your company profile across the web. Local Search has been growing in importance for the last few years. It’s time to sit up and take notice.

Why have local searches become so important?

There are several reasons. One of the main reasons is the rise of the smart phone. There are now an estimated 1 million iPhone and Android devices in the Irish market. These people are no longer confined to their PC to perform Internet searches. These people actively search for products and services daily while on the move. What’s more these people may be very close to your physical location.

When someone searches for a ‘cork restaurant’ on their smart phone, there is a very good chance that this person is close to the centre of Cork and is likely to have lunch/ dinner in the next hour or two. If your restaurant is in position on the search results you have a decent chance of converting that searcher to a customer, if not you are ignoring a major segment of the Irish market.

What’s more, mobile searches last considerably less than their PC equivalent. So that person will make up their mind in a short space of time and may find many existing websites awkward to navigate on a mobile phone.

This is where the local listing (Google Places) comes into its own. See mobile screen shot:

Example of a local search conducted on an iphone above.

The mobile searcher is presented with Google Places page information. With the Place page you get information relevant for decision making, this being: map location, directions, click to call phone number. All of this is available in Google without ever having to enter the business website. This is hugely beneficial for mobile searchers. With one further click they can see reviews, street view images of the location and often additional images supplied by the business owner as demonstrated in the screenshots below:

Any Irish business in the retail/ hospitality trade needs to feature prominently for local searches that relate to their products and services. If you don’t feature, you are losing customers.

People searching for local business online are further along in the purchase cycle, the cost of converting each consumer is lower and the return on investment is higher. Targeting these searchers produces real results for local and multi-store retailers.

This is where Local Search becomes an essential part of your online strategy

Google Places listings are the tip of the Local Search Iceberg. They demonstrate what you can achieve by targeting local search results with Google Places. One million smart phone searchers in Ireland alone.

Local Optimisation. Local Search can also be applied to on-page optimisation for websites, including designing website alternatives for mobile searchers. Google presents different results for mobile searchers. They rank these results partially based on how well the page will render on the type of phone that submitted the query. For more detail on mobile SEO, here is a great article by Cindy Krum. This means having a mobile version of your website is increasingly important.

Local pay per click. Targeting local keywords reduces the level of competition and the bid price paid for local keywords in PPC programs like Adwords. Local keywords are more targeted and result in a higher click through rate which will in turn help with your Adwords quality score.

Local Social Media. Lots going on in this space at present. Facebook recently launched their check in service Facebook Places in Ireland. Facebook Deals is due to follow hot on the heels of Places. This will allow business owners to target local consumers with ‘deal’ based offerings. This promises to be a great promotional tool for local business.

In addition business owners can reward and attract local consumers using existing social media like ‘FourSquare’ and local focused blogging.

Group Buying websites like (Groupon) have exploded in the past few months. Increasingly local consumers are finding out about ‘local deals’ through these websites. Local Business owners need to adopt a group buying strategy to maximize their return when running group deal promotions. Pay attention to building a relationship with the consumer and gain repeat business rather than be left one time consumer and ultimately a loss. If not managed correctly Group Buying can be a costly exercise.

Begin your local search campaign today

A local search campaign uses an integrated strategy involving Google places listings, pay per click advertising, search engine optimisation and social media to convert local leads into new customers. An additional area that is fast becoming important for local business is Group Buying websites. These can be a great promotional tool, but you need to factor in the total cost and how to maximize the return on investment.

Owner at Local Search Marketing. Internet Marketing Company based in Dublin, that specialises in Local Search. Local Searchers are further down the decision process, are easier to convert and represent a better return on investment.These are your customers engage them today!

Similar Articles
  • Hi Des, Welcome to Bloggertone and great post! I wasn’t aware that such a high percentage of users perform local search, but it makes sense! particulary of course if they are looking to do some form of booking online. This appears to be a very important area for small businesses, and one that they need to pay lots of attention to. Thanks for sharing, Niall

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Des, for a very insightful piece. It taught me a lot.n:0)

  • Des

    @LewisEvans , @Niall Devitt. Thanks Folks. More to come.

  • Great post Des. nnMobile local search is growing hugely with availablity of location-based relevancy. It’s more important than ever for local businesses to have an optimised Google Places listing. nIf I search for ‘coffee’ in Dun Laoghaire, I won’t get my favourite coffee shop returned (which happens to be the closest) because they’re not optimised for the term ‘coffee’ in Google Places!nnJust on the group deals websites, one of the problems I’ve found as a user is relevancy. So thought I’d plug a new Irish service to ‘sift’ through the daily deals from various sites and just send you the ones that are relevant (based on your preferences). nnIt’s – if anyone wants to give it a whirl.nnIt’s all about relevancy..

  • Des

    Hi Jennie,nnThanks for the comments. Have you tried using the newly redeveloped Google app on your phone. Appears to be big improvement on local results. But you are right Local and even National business with a local focus have some catching up to do! nnOn our LocalSearch blog I have been speculating about when we would see the first Irish Deal a Day aggregation website. It makes way more sense to have all the deals in one place and available in one email. Good luck to Shane Hayes and

  • Hi Des,nnThanks for your kind wishes with regard to (we pronounce it Siftie).nnWe would really welcome any feedback.nnAll the bestnnShane

  • Abhinav

    Great Post Des

  • Des

    Thanks Abhinav

  • Anonymous

    Great post Niall. Think point number one is really crucial. We all hear about managing expectations – yet we hear so little about how to manage our own! Because my blog is quite generic i.e. my musings about professional life etc. I find defining my audience hard but your tips will make that a lot easier!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the great advice. One question. In point 4, you talk about the importance of design, and you give the example of Social Media Examiner costing five thousand dollars. Was this the cost of getting the site started? What happens if a person or group don’t have access to those levels of funds at the very beginning. Are there any tips on where to start, if you want to get a good website up and running, with a view to reinvesting in the site, once there is a revenue stream.

  • Thanks Frank, pretty much in terms of the design piece, I’m sure they have reinvested since. I don’t think that you need to invest that much, my point is that you should invest what you can afford. Solid design and your positioning/message will make a significant difference in whether people stay and revisit so?

  • Cheers Connor, I would agree that perhaps you are still maybe defining your audience. In saying that, what I like so far is that your voice is unique and you have a lot more courage than I did when I started off 🙂

  • I agree, and I think it’s a main reason why your posts are so popular. You don’t try to compete with the Zestys, Channelships and Krishnas of this world, you focus instead on the folks who are starting out. I also believe that one of your strengths is in communicating in a language that the rest of us can always understand.

  • Derbhile

    Put in a call to action at the end if you want people to connect further with you. nTotally agree about the first point in particular. Always rather a downer to see the words ‘no comments’ after what you consider to be a fascinating blog post. Doesn’t happen on Bloggertone though!

  • Great tip Derbhile! For instance, inviting people to comment is a great to get them to do just that. 🙂

  • Hi Travis, thanks for the great comment and super insights. Interestingly, I’m now getting a sales enquiry or two a post lately, maybe If I asked I’d get even more?

  • Hi Niall nnWhile I struggle with agreeing with you on point 1 (I’m not as interesting as I think) lol – I really found the post very well structured and thought provoking. Points 2, 3 and 4 truly resonate with me, for various reasons. nnAs referenced by Derbhile.. I believe you are one of the best proponents of the question-at-end-of-blog approach to prompting discussion.. and of course quality comments can so enrich a post.

  • Brilliant post Niall, fantastic tips all of them. I would say allow yourself to make mistakes and get it wrong some of the time and then learn from the lessons. Sometimes experience is the best teacher although I would have liked to have this type of “how to” before I started and could have avoided some of mine.

  • In relation to design, which is my industry, I completely agree with this point. Design is almost virtually a last consideration, if it is ever considered at all. When design is good, really good it not only looks good but ends up driving the overall personality of a company/product – unfortunately, most companies tend not to value it

  • To address Frank’s question, the first place we always start with a client is setting the objective. This helps define positioning and messaging – absolutely core to any product or service set. My firm deals with a lot of this work and we work to create the overall story of a company, incorporating the messaging and the design. There is always one key objective which creates the focus and tends to set the budget. When budget is the dictator, we try to tailor accordingly so that when you come back later you aren’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Bad is always bad whether its a website or social media or design – my advice would be to take the plunge and invest because when done well it is an asset – if you really can’t invest then take it down to bare brass tacks and keep it simple – still expect outlay of 2 – 3k though, depending on the degree of design you need.

  • This is interesting actually and it is something that does crop up – in our experience on a technology blog we have, we disabled comments due to the high number of unsavoury remarks that were posted – managing the comments took time too much time so we just stopped doing it but I do agree it limits the connective value of the blog.

  • Thanks Ciara, when you say unsavory, do you mean spam? Disabling comments is not something I’d recommend, and if I’m honest when I see comments disabled, I form an impression about the company. I know I’m not alone in that regard. Might you possibly reconsider?

  • Mistakes are critical to all learning, I agree Mairead! Our aim here at Bloggertone going forward is to start to provide better guidance based on what we’ve learned so far 🙂

  • Sean, You won;t mind if we continue to disagree on the first point then. Thanks for the feedback and yes, Derbhile is super at asking people to engage.

  • Wow Helen, I would have presumed longer based on your first Bloggertone post.”You can discover from comments and questions from clients or colleagues the sorts of things that are useful to folk” That’s exactly has in happened for me in the post, I was asked a question and decided to blog about it. As regards comments, they reckon only about 4% or readers leave them, and I have an instinct that figure is even lower in Ireland. I also believe blogs with comments are more likely to get more comments. I am a big believer in walking the talk in relation 🙂

  • Hi Niall. A variation on what Helen Cousins said above – I use online sticky notes for jotting down ideas during the course of the day. I used to use until I upgraded my PC and the new one came with sticky notes bundled. nnEvery time that I read something or have a conversation with someone that I think might be useful to others, I flick open the sticky notes on screen and add a reminder for myself. Then later when I’m sitting down to write something (a blog post or printed media piece), I’ll scan the recent sticky notes for inspiration.

  • Gina

    Hi Niall, thanks for the tips. As someone who still needs to find her voice and start blogging, I’m not about to give your friend any advice yet! Best of luck to her and hope to meet her on my own journey into blogging nGina

  • Thanks Gina, and the best of luck! Make sure to keep us all posted 🙂

  • Thanks Liam, great tip, I like it! one of the reasons I need to start doing this is ideas come to me as a result of reading someone else. However, it’s often after that much time has passed, that I can’t remember, but if I was using your system! 🙂

  • Great points Aileen, I agree, people want to see the personalities and culture that exists within the walls of the business. Make sure you allow them in. Stories sell and we buy from people so promote both.

  • I always think of blog posts when I’m driving – and can sometimes recite whole paragraphs I want to write. So I use the voice memo or recorder on my phone. I have been known to phone home and leave a message on my answerphone too. Works for me anyhow 🙂

  • Hi Niall, there is so much written out in the ether about blogging, how to do it, what to say, define the audience, create a content schedule and all that stuff. What I love about your post is that ‘building’ is the big part of it and in this the ‘commitment to the pain’ of no one listening initially or maybe even for a while because it is a big big big internet world out there and us newbie bloggers can’t help wanting to grow up fast. So as I say to my 10 year old daughter, have patience, enjoy what you are doing each and every day and before you know it the things you wanted to happen, happen because you are that bit older and ready for them to happen. I hope this happens to me and I practice what I preach 🙂 as always love your thoughts.

  • Lol, lol, That’s unorthodox but brilliant! You should do a blog post about it 🙂

  • I really like the blurb about networking. Everyone is looking for readers and commenters, and if you comment on someone else’s blog, they will surely check you out. It’s like a rising tide raises all ships. They call it “social” media for a reason

  • Tagging on Facebook for instance is another tool that can be used to network, but people kind of miss the point 🙂

  • Niall nnI started blogging recently. The best advice I got was to use – the blog was up and running over a weekend and the design was taken care of. nnAny advice on the best places to get good pictures? nnWell done on setting up Bloggertone, it is really useful.nnregardsndonncha n@donnchadhh

  • Great post! I think that social has been a tough nut to crack for Google for quite some time, but they have really made a serious breakthrough here. The goal was always to make search more personal, more social – because it’s about getting reliable and trustworthy information when it comes to making decisions – and the most reliable info is always going to be that which comes with the seal of approval or endorsement from friends and people you know and respect.

    The example relating to music gigs you gave is an excellent one – I have always wondered why finding gigs I want to go to has to be so challenging on Google (you need to check individual band websites, or trawl through forums, or perform multiple searches with slightly different keywords!) – search becoming vastly more social is something that will plug these gaps in a unprecedented fashion. Exciting times, and I believe this will be an enriching experience in people’s lives!

  • Thanks for explaining it so clearly Neil.  I’d read a piece on it earlier and it didn’t appeal to me at all, in fact it made it sound very intrusive. It’s one of those things that will have to be balanced to be effective methinks.

  • Well actually the information is all already available on-line, its just now you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to find it 😉 So there shouldn’t be any issue of intrusion because Google is only accessing data you will have already chosen to publish on Twitter or perhaps your Google+ account.  

  • Yeah I agree with you Anton, I think with this the global village just got smaller but also more local in a sort of a paradoxical fashion.

  • Thanks Niall.

  • I remember 15 years ago in South Africa using “the internet” to research passage to South America. The search terms were something like “cargo ships asia south america”. I bet if I now typed “Cargo ships offering accommodation passage from Capetown to Buenos Aires” I would most likely get exactly what I need. 

    Actually I just did in Chrome and the second listing was exactly what I would be looking for! It reminds me of programming languages, getting more and more like normal English. And user friendly technology (except for TV remotes). Now if between my iMac and Goolge I could get an espresso in the morning, I would be even happier 🙂

    A great first Bloggertone post Neil, welcome!

  • David Quaid

    Its a nice post Neil but I’m not so sure I entirely sure that that is how it will work. People in Social Media marketing have often equated “share” as being 100% the same as “support” or recommend. I know that many people will read this and be completely puzzled because we’ve all accepted that share is incontrovertibly the exact same thing as “I recommend this to you my [league of extremely loyal] followers [sheep]”

    The biggest problem that absolutely nobody in Online marketing wants to face up to is that this is 50% theory and 50% speculation but 0% proven.And Personalised search still hasn’t made a big leap in Ireland – 5% of search at best (and I’m aware Android requires you to login etc).

    Just because we’d like it to work that way – doesn’t make it so. I’m not saying that personalised search and social inclusion won’t happen or won’t work – I’m saying its definitely not going to work in a straight line like this.

    Take Elaine’s very good example there – how many people does Elaine know in her social networks who’ve gone from Cape Town to South America? Where is social search going to kick in there?

    I tend to avoid buying the same things my friends buy. I trust my social network even less.

    The reason search has always been critical to the internet (and it was before Google just as it is now. Google didn’t invent search, they perfected it) is because its random. When you start getting the same sites you always click on (e.g. Google Personalised) or the same links from Mashable from your twitterstream, then you’ve stopped using the internet. You are now just playing catch up with the guy beside you. And that’s not why users swarm to the internet…..they can do that offline

  • Yes at first I assumed that the firm was in the cloud, and it was great to discover that it was even easier than that. As you say – just plain smart! Thanks John
    ~ Helen

  • You are another great example of a virtual worker Sian, and cutting out the commute is a big plus. I used to sub contract for a Big 4 firm when my children were small and techology wasn’t so advanced. It was about 14 years ago, and I worked mainly from home and encrypted files via email sorted us out! It doesn’t have to be high tech or hard to do.
    This firm offered Jennifer the option immediately and it was all sorted before her notice would have expired. A classic win | win.  
    Thanks Sian, keep up the good (remote) work!

  • Great interview Helen, It’s interesting to see this from both perspectives! I’m a big fan of virtual workers and continue to believe that it’s a great way to improve both productivity and morale. More small businesses should consider regardless of whether employees request it or not. If a small business is looking for a competitive advantage right now, this is surely one way to succeed, plus the technology is now both cheap and easy to implement. I would go so far as to say that sooner or later, remote/virtual workers will become the norm. Well done Philip, Jennifer and everyone at Richard Place Dobson and thanks for sharing your story with us. 

  • Thanks for the feedback – Philip, Jennifer et al will be delighted!
    ~ Helen

  • Thanks Niall, I agree that it’s a great way to work. With determination (and Google / YouTube/ Skype and more), the tech stuff is simple really, and we shouldn’t be put off by it.
    Early days, but I’ve an employee working remotely for me for the last month and it’s terrific. It gives us both flexibility. We meet once a week to agree the work and then we go and do it, collaborating online as we need to. It keeps us both focused and delivery driven 🙂
    Kudos to Philip and Jennifer for sharing their story with us!
    ~ Helen

  • Enjoyed the interview Helen. As a virtual marketer for several businesses who has worked alongside virtual employees in the past, this really is going to be the future for many businesses. I would totally agree with Jennifer that the impact on performance is positive as without the distractions of an office or a stressful commute, the quality of the hours you work is greater. It also enables an employer to retain employees who need a more flexible arrangement or increase their available skill-set as impact on the bottom line isn’t quite so significant.  Great to see a positive account from both sides.

  • Great article Helen, more of this type of thing please 🙂 I found it really interesting that they didn’t use Cloud software to facilitate a mobile workforce. I’m wondering about the I.T support needed to keep her computer in the communications room running 24/7. If this is a standard machine I imagine it would eventually overheat whereas if the software was in the cloud this would all be managed by the hosting company and she could access it from any machine. However they have found a solution that is obviously working well for them.

  • Philip

    We keep Jennifer’s machine in an air conditioned comms room so it’s kept pretty cool.  After about three years we’ll replace it for about £500.

  • Warren Rutherford

    Helen – great interview and insight into the virtual workforce and relationships. The demonstration of trust and respect by Richard and Jennifer towards each other (and I would suspect the other employees at Richard Place Dobson) is supported by a vibrant use of technology. As I move our offices to a more paperless situation I am quite encouraged.  Thanks for the opportunity to review a great piece on virtual workers – and the businesses that help them thrive!

  • Hi Warren
    I’m delighted that you have been encouraged by the Richard Place Dobson example. Best of luck with the paperless move and maybe you’lll keep us posted!
    Thanks Warren,

  • Donna Burdett

    Local search marketing is the answer you’re looking for! Did you know that 80% of YOUR customers probably used to look in the local directories like Yellow Pages and Thomson Directories but now those directories have died! 

  • Niall – the very best of luck with all your existing and new projects. I don’t know how you do everything in 24 hours and still manage to make it look easy. I can’t believe it’s three years. Wow. Time flies!

    And Sian, we’ll be saying that in three years time too. I’m thrilled for you – you did a great job when Niall was on honeymoon and I’m sure the content will still keep coming. (Note to self – finish that article and post!).

    All the very best to you two.
    Take care,

  • Facundo

    Welcome on board Sian & thanks Niall for everything you’ve done and continue doing daily 🙂

  • Cheers Denise, Sian will be great!

  • No problem to her! Thanks Christina

  • Thanks a mill Facundo 🙂

  • Thanks Denise – I’ve no idea how Niall fits everything in either. Big shoes to fill but I’ll do my best. The TYB community back up will keep me going I’m sure 🙂

  • Lol Christina – thank you for your kind words

  • Eileen McCabe

    Congratulations Sian and Best of luck to you Niall … always enjoy reading the valuable information on TYB !! 🙂

  • Congrats Sian! You’ll do a fabulous job.

  • Smallbiztrends

    We’re so excited to get more of your time, Sian! And Niall — love what you’ve done for the site! Woo-hoo!

  • Thanks so much Anita – it’s an honour to be asked and I’m really looking forward to it

  • Thanks Susan, I’m looking forward to it

  • Thanks Eileen….and please keep reading 🙂

  • Congratulations! Truly deserved!

  • Congratulations Sian and you will do a fantastic job. Niall all the best with your new and existing projects.

  • Thank you Susan

  • Thanks a million Cendrine – that means a lot to me

  • Niall, you will be missed here at TYB. Thank you for inviting all of us to create a warm and fun group of bloggers. Best of luck to you!

    Sian, I’m looking forward to working with you more here. You are such a natural replacement!

  • Heather Stone

    Sian, Congratulations! We’ll all miss Niall but I think you’ll do an excellent job as Managing Editor of TYB. Looking forward to new and exciting things from you and the TYB community!

  • Thanks Elli, that’s a really lovely thing to say

  • Thanks Heather – I shall do my best

  • What’s the world coming to – accountants taking over TYB – you’ll have to hang up the ledgers & spreadsheets 🙂 lol Well done Sian – you’ll be a natural
    Niall – good luck with your current & future ventures!

  • Thanks a mill Tom – will share the ledgers and spreadsheets with you still 🙂

  • Thanks Tom!

  • Thanks Heather, appreciate you saying so!

  • Thanks Elli, I’ll still be around in the background.

  • Thanks Susan!

  • Thanks Anita, we’ve now got two great ladies steering the TYB ship 🙂

  • Thanks Eileen.

  • No surprise in reading such a great post and see a great “last” gesture by Niall, introducing and warmly congratulating Sián!!! Well done to both of you!

  • Thanks Frederique

  • I like it! Competitions are everywhere. Business owners have their own marketing strategy on how to beat their competitors. You can actually promote what you can offer and you will win them over. Also, having an active presence on social media could be an edge.

  • Isn’t the best way of spending money on investing time and energy on your old customer? How much does it cost to get a new customer?

  • Mark Breen

    Hi Stephen. I must say your point in relation to focusing more on current clients than on acquiring new ones echoes a point I made in a post a while back too. It always amazes me how much people focus on landing new clients when they have some great ones already.

Featured Author
© Copyright 2009-2018, Bloggertone LLC. All rights reserved.