If there was one web trend in 2010 that flew a little “under the radar” for a lot of business owners, it might have been local search. It’s not as exciting as the new wave of social media sites coming out, or as completely obvious as the rise of next-generation mobile devices, but make no mistake: local search is changing the way customers find businesses and vendors.

There are two very good reasons for this, and they both have important implications for your company. The first is that customers are pushing the trend. In one report, Google itself estimated that 20% of all searches run through its site feature a geographically-based keyword. That tells us that people are using the Internet more and more to find local businesses, and so they are looking to refine their searches to come up with more relevant results within their own communities.

The second thing you need to know is that search engines have been paying attention. In fact, Google and Bing have started incorporating locations into their results, regardless of the search terms entered. In other words, you get a slightly different set of results for nearly any search when you’re in San Diego than you do from a PC in Ottawa, even if you haven’t entered any geographic search terms.

These are big developments for businesses because they mean none of us can afford to ignore local search any longer. You need to have specific pages on your website that reference where you are in the world, give maps and directions, and offer other clues as to where buyers might find you on a map. After all, no one is going to find you doing a local search if Google spiders can’t figure out where local actually is.

Looking back, it seems obvious that local search was always going to become an important part of the marketing mix. What isn’t obvious, though, is which businesses are going to embrace it and succeed, and which ones are going to be left wishing they had paid more attention.

Need help getting your local search strategy together? Contact Effusion today for a free consultation.