Local Search Changes for Better: Google & Bing Take Gamble

Google’s redesigned Maps for Mobile app has created quite a stir recently. The program changed the way that it serves users local ads. Individual cellular phone users are now expected to click-through ads more often. Phrases like “click to call” have really helped with the click-through rate. Phone users tend to do other things with their mobile devices than merely surf the Internet or run apps. They also use them to place calls and do many of the things that someone would do with a landline telephone. These updates reflect this fact. Cell phone users might very well be more likely to place calls to places of business. Small business owners might be attracted to advertising on the platform for that reason.

Social features are also becoming increasingly important with individuals who do regular web searches. Google+ has decided to go above and beyond the norm with this aspect of the service. Google Places for Business listing accounts are an excellent way for businesses to drive extra traffic to their sites. Local listing tabs now present on Google+ are apparently impacting search results.

While it doesn’t appear that traditional search engine optimization techniques will be obsolete any time soon, social media has a lot to do with increasing rankings. More importantly, local businesses can use Google+ to reach new clients in their own area. This is better than trying to reach out blindly across the Internet.

Traditional local search solutions have been provided by Yelp for some time now. Yelp has been in business since 2004. That beats out many of the social networking websites that users rely on today. Yelp has often featured a good deal of non-business locations in their results as well. These include places like parks, schools, museums and places of worship.

Google isn’t the only Internet service that’s changing the way that it serves customers data. Yelp has joined with Bing to offer results on the Microsoft Bing Local search page. This comes on the heels of many updates Bing introduced that were related to social networking. This also comes on the heels of Bing teaming up with the Encyclopedia Britannica. Microsoft’s search engine is now featuring results from one of the most trusted reference works right in their search listings. Nevertheless, Google beat Bing to the punch.

The Google Graph displays important information at a glance for users who search certain topics. While neither of these tools is particularly useful for local search aficionados, some small businesses might like them anyways. They both represent an attempt by search engines to become more authoritative. Considering the criticisms about local search reviews, one might imagine authority is a useful image to have.

Interestingly enough, some people are returning to a low-tech version of local search solutions. Anyone who wants to save money can check local bulletin boards. In many ways, these services are similar to Craigslist. While they might not update nearly as quickly, they perform the same sort of function. Free local concerts and clubs often post cards to these bulletin boards. While it might look like it would require an extra trip to visit them, bulletin boards can be found at post offices and stores. People check them while doing their day-to-day errands. Regardless of what happens with the search engine world, local searches are becoming more important.


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