Study: Local search experiences rapid growth

Local search is quickly gobbling up market shares of the entire search engine industry. More and more, tech and search companies big and small are training their sights on local search marketing, with Google, Yelp, Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook all making significant strides in advancing their local search agenda.

Their moves are not without tangible reason. According to new research by YP.com, local search had a breakthrough year in 2012 and only looks to gain more steam during next year.

Mobile is king
YP said that users had made, on average, 350,000 more local searches per day through YP's Local Ad Network compared to 2011. The growth is particularly being driven by mobile, which YP now said accounts for 30 percent of all searches through its network, a 25 percent year-over-year increase. The number of local searches conducted through it's own mobile app saw even greater levels of growth, with searches through its app rising 161 percent compared to last year.

Part in parcel to mobile search growth is the increased number of searches conducting on mobile devices, but some are faring far better than others. For instance, iPhone searches grew 58 percent compared to last year, but the number of iPad and Android searches exploded for growth rates of 233 percent and 205 percent, respectively, showing just how important it is for local businesses to have a local SEO plan concentrated on mobile.

NYC 'Local Search Capital' searches for pharmacies, grocers
New York City claimed the prize for the city with the most local searches, as identified by YP, beating out Houston and Los Angeles in the process. Overall, states with the largest metropolitan populations had the highest local search volumes: California (No.1), Texas (No. 2), Florida (No. 3), New York (No. 4) and Illinois (No. 5).

However, other states performed well above expectations. Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma led the nation in per-capita local and mobile searches.

Restaurants held their place among the most locally searched establishments, with financial services and auto repair and services rounding out the top three. Yet, pharmacies and grocers saw the biggest year-over-year increases in local search volume with 144 percent and 102 percent, respectively. Utilities also saw an 88 percent gain from 2011.