Last year, I wrote, “Local Search Ain’t Perfect, So What” and I still agree that “you got to live with what you have.” Yes local search is not perfect but it is growing and developing.  Since that post, there have been a few articles on the subject that I want to pull together here.  [I have been working on this post on and off for some time-I am tired of looking at it, so I decided to go with what I had :)]

There are three articles, the first two articles I thought brought up some good points were:

1. The REAL Problem with Local Search by David Mihm in which David said,

“The Real Problem With Local Search Is That Search Engines And Local Listings Sites Aren’t Returning Results That Users Want To See. And a greater variety of PPC offerings and banner ads simply isn’t going to improve matters, because small businesses can’t afford online advertising on a permanent (or even semi-permanent) basis, anyway, on more than one or two sites.”

2. Why today local search fails – and how to fix it by Frank Fuchs. Frank feels the problem is that there is too much to choose from and an information overflow for the user.
The data and information presented on-line are not well organized to help customers to make good choices. I thought the comments and discussion in the comment section was just as informative as the article.

The final article and the one that I thought best summarized things was by Donna Bogatin, Local Advertising Online: SMEs Hold the Billion Dollar Keys, ILM ANALYSIS. Donna was tasked with the job of providing a wrap up on ILM conference from last fall.

“I agree and believe SMEs are the current big stumbling blocks, for three principal reasons: SME Adoption Rates, SME Control Issues and SME Market Confusion.”

Donna goes on to explain, what each of these are:
-most local businesses do no advertising whatsoever in any medium and will continue this way
-control (or lack of) of online reviews
-there is so many different options and “sales pitches” out there it is confusing

She summarizes it nicely saying, “The local ecosystem is an evolutionary one, hoping for revolutionary movements, nevertheless.”

I agree with her points and repeat what I have said before-it will be interesting to see how it all plays out but despite these flaws or problems, I think it still is important for small business to get involved in local search.