Google’s changes to local search have been for the better. Constantly improving the user experience, Google has held onto its title as top search engine for local and nationwide searches. Among the many new changes, Google recently purchased Frommer’s, a website which offers travel guides with information and reviews about travel destinations. Since nearly 50% of travelers on vacation use a mobile device to find information, this purchase will have a large impact on the user experience.
Last year, Google lost access to Expedia’s travel information on Yelp and TripAdvisor. With the purchase of Zagat reviews, the search engine has integrated the new data into its review platform and replaced its lost review data from Yelp. The new addition from the Frommer’s purchase seems to be part of an effort to replace the lost TripAdvisor’s travel data. As said by a Google spokesperson, the Frommer’s team will be an addition to the Zagat team. So the teams will be working together to improve local search, especially for people on vacation.
This news arrived just before the new changes to Apple products. Could this be part of Google’s fight against Apple, which is adding Apple Maps as a new addition to local search on iPhones, iPads and iPods? Currently, Google Maps holds the crown as the top mobile app for local business searches, followed by Yahoo and MapQuest. It is also currently the default application for searching locally on Apple products, but Apple Maps is being released in September. Apple Maps will now be the default local search platform on Apple products. However, if Apple’s platform is not up to par with Google’s local search platform, this could cause many iPhone, iPad and iPod users to download the Google Maps app.
As search continues to evolve into a tool that is used daily by many, companies will continue to improve its functionality. Currently Google has the largest market share and their on-going upgrades will help to keep it that way. The newest acquisitions and changes to local search for travelers will have a large impact in the user’s decision of where to search.
Searching locally has grown over 200% in the last 5 years and is anticipated to keep growing steadily. It is a large source of local traffic for small businesses because many searchers take action as a result of their local search. For a small business marketing online, keeping up with local search news can keep you ahead of the competition. Staying diverse and keeping up to date with your local SEO efforts can ensure front page placement on the top of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.