Google leads local searches, mobile gaining steam

Internet marketing is one of the most effective ways for a business to reach customers within its target area in the digital world, but a problem arises when considering the global reach of the web. However, strategizing for search engines in local search engine optimization can help businesses deliver messages to their desired customers. But which search engine is the best for local searches?

According to new data released by Chitika, Google received the highest volume of local searches when compared to search engines Bing and Yahoo. The ad network firm studied millions of online ad impressions during a seven-day stretch in late September, and to ensure the queries were local, it checked the searches against its database of local keywords and phrases like "Near me" and "In Boston."

Overall, it found 43 percent of total queries in Google - both desktop and mobile - had local intent. Both Bing and Yahoo had a local search volume of 25 percent.

The distinction was made even wider between Google and its competitors when figuring in mobile searching, which is often hyperlocal by nature as users who search on mobile are often near what they are searching for. Seventy-five percent of local Google queries are coming from mobile searches. Mobile searches on Yahoo only accounted for 17 percent of its local query volume, and Bing registered a paltry 7 percent.

The figures indicate local searches are now an increasingly large part of search engines queries, making the need for a local SEO strategy even more important in reaching local customers. Additionally, local searches are often high-value because of their ability to convert users, especially mobile searchers.

"Combined with Google's larger share of searches performed on the web (measured at over 75 percent this past month), this edge in local search makes the search giant's traffic a must have for local businesses, particularly on the first page of results for important keywords or phrases," Chitika said.

Even Google has spoken on the importance of local and mobile searching, and a company representative said that 50 percent of total mobile search is local - a 10 percent bump over just a year when local accounted for 40 percent of mobile search in 2011. Fifty-percent is an enormous number once the figures are put in perspective: Searches from smartphones and other mobile devices number in the tens of billions. It further underscores how important mobile and local SEO have become, and sets the stage for them to grow even more.