The internet is rapidly progressing faster and faster, and small businesses who are not actively keeping up with the newest changes will soon be left behind. While many businesses are starting to see the benefits of driving on the social media highway, few aren’t seeing the big information signs along the way. Luckily, Obu Interactive found one highway sign particularly important that we just had to share it – localized searches.

Rather than having to type what you’re searching for and where you’re looking for it, Google or Bing will now rank your results based on where you’re searching from. These results come up even if you don’t specify a location in your search.

Take a look at how a search for “burger” shows up. No city, no specifications, just simply the word “burger.” Google already knows that the search came from San Diego, and shows the most popular burger places in that area.

By clicking on the “Place page” link next to business listings, you can see the new business listing pages that are now featured on Google, Bing and Yahoo!

Why are local searches important?

With the rising number of mobile internet browsing, such as Android phones, iPhones, iPads, and others, the shift from paper to online listings has been drastic. Google Places page, Bing Local and Yahoo! Local listings have a variety of features, such as directions, hours, mobile coupons and most importantly, reviews. These pages allow users to leave reviews, comments and scores based on their experiences. For a huge burger fan like me, who takes the time to read all the reviews and comments about each place, these features play a huge factor in where I choose to eat my burger.

While these features make it great for users to find a business, we want to make sure that users are finding YOUR business. In order for Google, Bing and Yahoo! to generate the most relevant searches to user queries, they want to see that other pages in your surrounding area link to your site.

So…What does this mean?

This means Google, Bing and Yahoo! look at what localized content is associated with your business. This includes fully optimizing your business page on all three search engines, generating reviews and responses, and keeping up to date with interlinking business listings, to your site, to your social media accounts, and back again to your site. Localized content is more important now than ever, and it is critical for businesses to keep their information up to date. If not, competitors will rise to the top and bury you, literally.

Updating your Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo! Local page will take some extra work, but will be well worth the effort. For a long time, the internet was too big with too much information. Now, by using the best technology for your local business, and with the right information, users can find a local business much easier. Having pictures, videos, and real customer reviews posted on your business listings will give users more insight into how well your business is running. Not only can users read reviews from previous clients, they can read your response to those reviews – showing just how much small businesses care about their customers.

The end result

Ideally, if you have done everything right, your business should be thriving from an increase of users who are able to find a local business easier. Those users now know all the information about your business, how to get there, as well as trusting your business through pictures, videos and reviews.

If you have already tried to optimize your site with localized content, let us know how it is working out. What methods worked for your business? Or have you failed to see how it can help your business? The team members at Obu Interactive would love to know. When we’re not eating burgers, that is.

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