Google Turning into a Local Search Engine? (9:12)

Posted on by Abby Johnson |

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According to search legend Bruce Clay, “Two years from now, Google will be predominantly a local search engine.” Pretty powerful prediction, huh? In this segment, Clay explains why he believes this will, in fact, come true.

He has recently conducted a lot of research pertaining to local. From it, he has found that 30 percent of all retailers show some type of local aspect in search results. He has also noticed that the search results vary when the location is changed even when the query is not location-specific.

“Clearly, Google is using the geolocation of the searcher to bias the search results,” he said.

Although these factors are important in this shift toward local, money seems to be the biggest motivator. For example, there are only so many people who can bid on a national term such shoes. However, every local region can bid on the term. If users geotarget, their ROI will increase. As people make more money following this principle, they will be more apt to spend further money on their PPC campaign, which, of course, means Google would make more money.

For all these reasons, Clay emphasizes the importance of getting involved in local.

“You either play in the local space… or you’re not going to get clicks even if you’re #1,” he points out.

As this shift occurs, he believes that there will be a massive influx of sites. In addition, he thinks that people will try to deceive SEOs, create new forms of spam, and more. In terms of brands, Clay said that people that have had a large brand presence would now realize that their brand would not be very effective with all the new local sites competing for the same generic brand.

He also adds, “The only way Google can maintain relevancy and allow those sites on the Web is to emphasize local even more.”

Do you agree with Bruce Clay’s prediction about Google turning into a local search engine?

To learn more about Bruce Clay’s predictions, watch the full interview.

Posted in: Bruce Clay, Geolocation, Local Search, Paid Search, Predictions, PubCon Las Vegas 2010, Research, Search Engines, SEO
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