Searches that have a localized element are usually placed above other search results, but still below any relevant ads that may be shown. When looking at local search results, several differences between these results and "normal" search results will be apparent:
As with it's normal search results, Google wants it's local search results to be as useful as possible. Searches with a localized element generally mean that the person searching for something wants to be able to pick something up or visit somewhere local to them, and Google therefore give precedence to local businesses. Consider the motivation behind the following example searches that return local search results above other results:
In these examples, it is clear that the person searching is looking for local search results, and are going to be less interested in results for pizza parlors, accountants or coffee shops hundreds of miles away.
Even if you're not sure how it works, you will have heard of the term SEO, which encompasses all the methods used to ensure that your website ranks as highly as possible in search engines for specific search terms. SEO normally focuses on how highly your website ranks for these search term when anyone searches for them, both in your country's search results (e.g. in google.co.uk) and internationally (e.g. in google.com). Local SEO applies specifically to searches that have a localized nature, for example "pizza in maidenhead".
The information shown for each local search result is taken directly from that business's Google+ Local page. Local SEO therefore differs from conventional SEO in that it requires you to have a Google+ Local page for your business, and in that you need to optimize both your website and your Google+ Local page.
Local SEO is the best marketing method for small businesses that want to attract local customers, but have a limited budget or limited resources. Here's why:
There are two key factors in deciding whether it is worth investing in Local SEO for your business:
If your business has a physical location and Google shows local search results for your type of business in your area, you can almost immediately start attracting new customers to your business by engaging in Local SEO. One thing you can be sure of is that for every week that you are not actively engaging in Local SEO, you will be losing customers to your competitors.