The importance of local search in your marketing plan

Local search is a huge opportunity for any business that operates physical locations. In the US alone, there are over 10 billion unique searches done each month. Of those searches:

20% of queries have local intent (1)

  • 5% use the city and/or state name (2)
  • 2% use informal terms, like neighborhoods (2)
  • 0.5% use zip codes (2)

Based on the above data, that can be over 2 billion unique local searches per month.  The demand is there.

The local marketing ecosystem: is a great resource to learn more about local search. They compiled this graph to show the real complexity of the local search landscape.

Managing your data:

Managing your locations can be very time consuming when you have many locations. I’m currently wrestling with over 1,600 locations and we constantly find wrong information, incomplete profiles, already claimed listings,  and my favorite: duplicate data.  The biggest hurdle to overcome is finding the master source of your data (name, address, phone number, etc…). With large organizations, that data can live in various systems that may or may not talk to each other. In our organization we have a myriad of data feeds that synch up information into a central system that them serves as our single source.

Dealing with duplicate data:

With so many data providers out there, the data can be a mess. Depending on which provider you use, there are some sites that don’t use that providers feed and get their data from some other place.  Dealing with the clean up is an ongoing project that can turn into a full time job.  The best approach we have found so far is to loop in our field operations teams to look at the data and let us know when they see duplicates or incorrect information.

Picking a Provider:

In the U.S., there are three primary sources of data for all the major search engines: Infogroup, Acxiom, and Localeze. Another provider that is using technology to solve the local search data feed opportunity is Yext. Yext builds relationships with the local sites and pays a fee to them to ensure data integrity and quick updates. Whomever you choose to be your provider, ask the tough questions about turnaround times, duplication and incomplete profiles.


1 – (source: Comscore / Google)     2 – (source: Ian White)     3 – (source: Performics)