A new study from BrightLocal found that local businesses are being squeezed out of organic search results for many high volume “money” search phrases. However local businesses can get a greater share of voice for long-tail and geo-modified terms.
The study looked at the search results for the three main search engines in the USA to provide a clear picture of whether it is local pack results (the sample of local results that often appear in search results) or [traditional web based] organic results that offer the best opportunity for local businesses to gain visibility in search.
In Brief –
They conducted 500+ searches for generic phrases (e.g., plumber, dentist, attorney), service phrases (e.g., radiator repair, teeth whitening, divorce lawyer) and long tail phrases (e.g., emergency 24hr plumber, private cosmetic dentist, top DUI attorney). They also analyzed the differences with and without a location included in the search (e.g. “radiator repair” vs “radiator repair dallas”).
The study found that it has gotten harder for local businesses to get high placements in search results for many of the “money” terms. It’s the larger web sites that get the lion’s share of organic placements. We have been seeing this trend more with Google local search results since the Pigeon update a year ago that ties local results to more traditional ranking signals (We can’t be positive this is cause and effect but it would seem likely as larger websites usually have stronger traditional ranking signals)
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