September 29, 2006, 12:00 AM

Use of local search increases 43% year-over-year, comScore says

63% of U.S. Internet users performed a local search in July, up 43% from July 2005, according to comScore Networks Inc. Google sites and Yahoo sites captured the largest share—30% and 29%, respectively.

 

63% of U.S. Internet users performed a local search in July, a 43% increase from July 2005, according to comScore Networks Inc. ComScore defines local searches as those conducted by consumers on the local or directory sections of leading search sites and other searches identified as having local content.

Google sites and Yahoo sites captured the largest share of local searches in July (30% and 29%, respectively), comScore says. Microsoft sites accounted for 12% of local searches and the Time Warner Network for 7%.

“Local search is experiencing strong growth as more consumers adapt to the ‘always on’ nature of their broadband connection, which enables them to quickly find information on local businesses,” says Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix. “With approximately 849 million local searches conducted by Americans in July, local advertisers have a sizeable market that can be reached through leading search sites.”

The comScore study also found that performing a local search drives consumers to take action. During the second quarter, 47% of local searchers visited a local merchant as a result of their search. 41% made contact offline while 37% made contact online.

In addition, 41% of those conducting local searchers were searching for something in their home area, as opposed to searching for businesses in locales they intended to visit, comScore says. Of those searching in their home area, 59% said they were looking for a restaurant or entertainment venue, 52% were looking for a business phone number or address, and 41% were looking for information on a local service in their home area, including a car rental office, dry cleaner or lawyer.

 

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