By this I am really referring to Google Places. In truth Local Search simply means that, for certain, searches and search conditions Google will return natural SERPS bases on the geographical location of the searcher.
So for instance a searcher sat in Seattle typing in “ Take away Pizzas” will find that he/she will get results from the local area. No point in offering a Seattle searcher takeaway pizzas in New York. So Google logic will detect the location, understand the search is a local one and offer the required results.
Similarly if someone types in “take away Pizzas New York” will get a list of pizza places in New York no matter where they are located.
These are both variations of a local search
In this context I am still referring to the natural search results however within those results you may have some additional results. These are Google places.
Google places are the bricks and mortar businesses that can be registered with google. If they register their actual address, telephone number etc. then they can appear in these additional results.
They benefit because these results do not compete with the natural search results.
They do however compete with each other. Imagine 50 plumbers in one area. They can’t all get in the handful of Google places results that may be displayed in the SERPs.
So there must be a way of measuring their popularity. This is done in a similar way as backlinks for the standard results as we discussed earlier.
However in this case they use citations. Citations are mentions of your business on other sites. There are lots of business directories etc. that can hold your address and telephone number etc. and these will all count as votes for that site.
You can read more about Google Places (now Google Places For Business) at