Local Search: Your Secret Weapon to Being Found Online

If you serve a local market, local search is the way that most of your new clients will find you online.

But what is Local Search, and how do you use it?

Well in a previous blog post I explained that if you type in “Coffee Shop” into Google, rather than showing you all the coffee shops in the world, it would show you what’s in your local area. That’s the essence of Local Search.

It’s the idea that when people are searching Google, often times they are looking for results that are close to them.

Three Types of Local Searches

Google uses the three types of local search queries:

  • “Near Me” Searches – these are searches that explicitly use the words “near me”. For example: “coffee shops near me”.
  • Geo-Targeted Searches – this is a little different. This is more like the “outsource IT in Bremerton” example from this post. With Geo-Targeted Searches the location is specified in the query.
  • Location-Enabled Searches – unlike the other two types, this one has nothing to do with the search term. Instead, this is when you have location services enabled on your device (or in your browser). Google will automatically prioritize local results when you perform a search. Of the three, this is the most common.

It’s important to understand how Google defines local search, because it helps you optimize your content correctly. For example, you know that you can use your city-name in your content to get more Geo-Targeted search results.

Local Search Results

When a user performs any of these searches, Google processes it as a “local search”. Local search results are presented differently than other searches.

This difference can help you out. A lot!

The types of local search results (and how to show up there) are described below:

The Google Local Pack

You’ve seen the Local Pack before. When you search for something on Google, you will often see a map, and three suggested businesses that match your search.

For example, if I search “coffee shop” from my office in North Salt Lake City, I get:

Local Search: Google 3 Pack
Google Local Search: Local Pack Results

Getting your business in the top-3 Local Pack results is a big deal.

It means that your audience is seeing you first. And if they’re searching with intent it means that they’re much more likely to take action towards working with you than anyone else!

The cool thing about Local Pack is that it’s consistent across devices. It doesn’t matter if your audience is searching from a computer, their phone, or even using voice search.

Local Pack attracts 32% of clicks (when Local Services Ads aren’t present)

Local Finder

Now, on the screenshot above you can see at the bottom there’s a button that says: ” View all”.

If you click that button in the Local Pack results, what you get is the Local Finder results. These results are paired with Google Maps to show you the location of the businesses displayed.

And as you move the map around, the Local Finder results will update based on the area that you’re viewing.

These results may not seem very important. Admittedly the percentage of people who are going to click the “View all” button is pretty small. It’s relatively unimportant from a user standpoint.

So why are we concerned with this?

Because: Local Finder results are very important from a technical standpoint.

Those results represent Google’s truth. That is, they display businesses as they actually rank. So if you can achieve a high ranking there, you’re achieving a high ranking period.

In fact, whenever you see any data from a local search (whether the Local Pack, or in organic search results) that data is being retrieved from Local Finder.

Localized Organic Results

Localized organic results are very straight-forward. These are the classic blue links that show up , beneath the Local Pack, when you conduct a localized search, as shown below:

Google Local Search: Organic Search Results

How to Rank in Local Search

So that’s all well and good. You understand how the Local Pack works, why Local Finder is so important, and you’re familiar with Localized Organic Results.

But the goal is getting your business in front of your customers.

So how do you do that? The first step is having great content, which we covered here. But after that…

Well that’s what we’re going to cover in the next few blog posts:

  • Google My business
  • Citation Management
  • Reputation Management

Each of these elements are crucial in getting your business in front of your customers by ranking you high in Google results.

So be sure to check back each week to learn more about how you can rank in local search!