How Local Search Works

by Stephen Hultquist on August 18, 2010

Yesterday, I typed “dentist” in my browser sitting in my office just outside Boulder, Colorado. When I did, I saw this just above the fold:

Local search results for "dentist"

These are local search results: Dentists that Google thinks are near me based on my computer’s IP address.

Every time someone searches for products or services, Google looks to see if there are local providers of them. If so, you’ll see a list of those providers (from 1 to 7, typically) along with a map of their locations. You can specify a particular geography in your search, such as this one for an Internet Marketing coach near Boulder, Colorado:

Example of a local search using geography

This is how many people are searching for your products and services today. They don’t want to wait, and they want to know how to find you now.

Working on your local search now will pay dividends over the long run, too. Those who are working on their local profiles, building them right the first time, and maintaining them as the search engines make changes are going to see their location on those search engines remain a powerful marketing tool.

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