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According to a study released on Thursday, the number of internet users engaging in local search queries continues to grow.
According to the study conducted by comScore Networks, 63 percent of U.S. Internet users, or 109 million people, performed a local search online in July representing a 43-percent increase versus July of 2005.
Local Search Continues to Gain Momentum [ibtimes.com]
I agree with Roswal. I see roughly equal traffic from G maps and Y and msn Local. That is a pittance of local traffic.
Local traffic is primarily Google. It is a combination of local terms and business terms. While it is roughly 30-33% of all my traffic it is higher in the sense that I pick up a lot of irrelevant traffic for an irrelevant local location and my business terms (other states). But by far google dominates.
I'd say Google has up to four times the local queries of Yahoo and MSN combined.
A senior MSN employee stated that they measure their own search traffic at just 10% of Google in the UK. Our figures agree with that.
MSN also stated (publicly - quoting Neilsen - May 2006) that the removal of MSN search traffic from YSM would mean up to 38% of traffic would dissapear from YSM. This means they think the Yahoo network has around 16% of the search volume that Google enjoys in the UK.
It's difficult to verify Yahoo traffic as their PPC system is so poor for localised terms, additionally our test site that enjoys great Google and MSN traffic is nowhere on Yahoo.
Back onto the original point, Local Search IS gaining momentum in the UK but not through specific local initiatives from the search engines. People are just realising that better results can (sometimes) be found by specifying a location along with their search.
Here's one take-away that seems to solidify the sentiments you and I seem to share (I hope quoting is OK with the Mods):
"I believe that every business in this country should have a website. Period."
-- Paul Levine, General Manager, Yahoo Local
Personally, I haven't found any local product that can out perform a well performing custom website. My situation may be different than most since the specific location I'm dealing with isn't recognized as a local geo unless a zipcode or state is included in the query (it's a two word name that could mean other things). But in my case I get miniscule traffic from the Locals. Most traffic from GOOG, trailed by YAHOO.
I guess maybe it's worth doing subscription listings in the Locals for a while just for the tracking stats. Right now I can only see referals that hit my home page. Something to think about.
Here's comScore's actual press release for the report:
But, what if they're including stuff they shouldn't? For instance, "Boston's Pizza" is a chain restaurant in many states -- if a user searches for "Boston's Pizza" wanting to find their website, I'd guess they might be overcounting those queries as "local searches". Think of the many thousands of US city names, and you'll see that this accident could happen many times over.
If a user searches for the actor "Matt Dallas", or the singer, "Whitney Houston", I'd bet those queries are getting incorrectly counted by comScore as "local".
Does anyone know if they correct for this problem?
Likewise, there are cases where they could be undercounting. Do they have special community and neighborhood names identified as well? Ex: "Nob Hill Hotels", "Back Bay Restaurants", "Soho Art Galleries", "North End Clubs"
It'd be nice to see a few more details on how they perform the local designation.