Over the last year, we have seen a lot of the focus put on Google, Bing and Yahoo local business pages. The engines have made great efforts to enhance this experience for the consumers and the businesses. At the same time, we have watched the IYPs use these very same search engines to drive traffic to their own offerings through extensive SEO and paid search initiatives.
The real question is how are consumers adopting to these changes? What resources are they using? When Google places local maps in the SERPS, is this drawing users away from the IYP ads? Certainly, it is driving the IYP organic listings down (which may account for the increase in paid ads I have observed). But, are consumers responding?
As we have managed the local listings programs for our clients for some years now, I can tell you that we have seen, both on the Google Places reports as well as in the site analytics, that these local business pages are driving consumer contacts.
With our next Local Search Study, 15miles is partnering with Localeze to research the continuing evolution of local search. I believe we will see a further decline in print yellow pages, a continued shift to the search engines’ local search and a general IYP stabilizing or declining slightly.
What trends to you expect to see in consumer use of local search?