What Is Local Search?

Local search is the use of specialized Internet search engines that allow users to submit geographically constrained searches against a structured database of local business listings.

Typical local search queries include not only information about “what” the site visitor is searching for (such as keywords, a business category, or the name of a consumer product) but also “where” information, such as a street address, city name, postal code, or geographic coordinates like latitude and longitude. Examples of local searches include “Milwaukee hotels”, “Waukesha restaurants”, and “Greenfield Plumbers”. Local searches exhibit explicit or implicit local intent. A search that includes a location modifier, such as “Milwaukee, WI” or “third ward Milwaukee”, is an explicit local search. A search that references a product or service that is typically consumed locally, such as “restaurant” or “Heating Contractor”, is an implicit local search.

Milwaukee SEO, SEO Milwaukee, Local SearchLocal search sites are primarily supported by advertising from businesses that wish to be prominently featured when users search for specific products and services in specific locations. Local search advertising can be highly effective because it allows ads to be targeted very precisely to the search terms and location provided by the user.

Electronic publishers (such as businesses or individuals) who would like information such as their name, address, phone number, website, business description and business hours to appear on local search engines have several options. The most reliable way to include accurate local business information is to claim business listings through Google’s, Yahoo!’s, or Bing’s respective local business centers.


It is ever so more important today that small business owners claim their free local listing with Google Places since Google Places is often one of the first listings seen on Google’s search result page whenever their algorithm deems a keyword query to have local intent.

Example of googleplaces listings in organic search from Google’s search engine, based on the user’s IP address in Toronto.

Milwaukee SEO, Seo Milwaukee, Internet Advertising, Online Marketing, Web DesignBusiness listing information can also be distributed via the traditional Yellow Pages, electronic Yellow Pages aggregators, and search engine optimization services. Some search engines will pick up on web pages that contain regular street addresses displayed in machine-readable text (rather than a picture of text, which is more difficult to interpret). Web pages can also use geotagging techniques.
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