Google Turns Up Dial on Local Search

Suspicions that Google has been tweaking its algorithm to deliver more local search results – even for generic searches – was confirmed this week on the Official Google Blog.

As a result, Google searchers will now find Goggle Maps “10-packs” or an abbreviated “3-pack” more regularly in their results. For searches that don’t include a location, Google will estimate a location based on the searcher’s IP address.

As expected, this has generated some interesting dialogue around what it all means.

From my point of view, the business of connecting consumers to people, places and businesses in specific geographic areas is only getting bigger and bigger. And while it may be perceived to compete with Internet Yellow Pages, I think Google’s move actually opens up some interesting opportunities for the Yellow Pages industry.

First of all, the tweaks will provide more instances for Internet Yellow Pages listings to show up in organic search results. We’ve already seen data this year demonstrating that more local search = more Internet Yellow Pages traffic.

Second, the growing competition to appear on that first page of results means that small businesses are going to need help staying top-of-mind. To put it more plainly: without help, small businesses will struggle to be found.

The technology fueling this marketplace is moving so fast that small businesses need a trusted advisor to help them keep pace. We now have mobile, voice, print, social, and online options all competing for local search. With thousands of feet on the street supporting small businesses across America, Yellow Pages publishers and CMRs are best suited to do that.

By helping our clients navigate this increasingly fragmented market, we are providing the last mile of connection between consumers and small businesses.

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