It is estimated that 30-40% of all searches are made with local intent, so it is extremely important to understand what a "local search" is and how it works. Any search done locally is any search that is aimed at finding something with a particular geographic area. For example, "restaurant in midtown Atlanta". A search done locally is also defined as seeking information online that will absolutely lead to an offline transaction, such as, "" ATM Atlanta. "
A search that is done locally impacts almost every business. For some brick-and-mortar business, all searches are local. They only draw customers from within a specific area. Some examples of these types of businesses are salons / barbers, dry cleaners, laundromats, bakeries, and sandwich shops. The idea is that if someone is searching for these types of products or services, they will more than likely purchase them nearby. Some types of businesses are location-specific, but people searching for them are most likely elsewhere. Potential customers may not be in their particular area, they may be in the future. Examples of these types of businesses are car rental agencies, campgrounds, convention centers, ski resorts, and cruise lines. Some businesses draw business from both nearby and far away. Examples of these types of businesses are mortgage companies, moving companies, regional hospitals, financial advisors, and consultants.
Google will use in a variety of ways. If Google is definitely certain that the person searching is looking for a local business, but is not certain which business is most relative to the searcher, it will display a few local results at the top of the lists with phone numbers and links to more information on Google Maps. If Google is sure that the searcher is looking for a business in a specific location, it will display 10 local results with phone numbers and direct links to websites. The businesses that are most well-optimized for query will rank above the others. Some seekers go directly to Google Maps to search for their query. Google Map displays local business results and a map with pinpointed locations.
However, it should be noted that not all searches for businesses are done through search engines. Some people carry their offline search carries over to the web, such as the yellow pages. Other searchers use websites such as Craigslist, Insider Pages, Kudzu, or Citysearch to find data about local businesses. Searchers may also search using a vertical or topical directory, directly relating to their search terms, such as a particular product or company website.