In the wake of respectable fourth-quarter earnings, specialized search company Local.com has relaunched its Web site to place more emphasis on content like traffic information and more detailed local business information.
"We've been working on this relaunch for nine months," said Jennifer Black, vice president of marketing at Local.com. "The challenge is keeping the search experience as clean as possible while providing new content that consumers have expressed interest in."
The site's new interface includes geotargeted home, search results and profile pages, and can be customized to feature geotargeted reviews, local weather and traffic reports and coupons.
In addition, the new home page incorporates technology that is expected to dramatically reduce page load times, and optimizes various content areas throughout the site.
The objective was to improve the consumer search experience, drive repeat usage to the site and continue to increase site traffic, according to Black. "The most important feature of the site is that it remains flexible so we can continue responding to user behavior," Black said.
Local.com maintains syndication agreements with search engines like Google and Yahoo, and it also partners with other directories like Superpages.com and Yelp to exchange information and customer reviews. The company partnered with Citysearch.com back in 2007. "We're partners with any company you might consider our competitor," said Black.
Businesses can pay to enhance their listings with more in-depth descriptions of products and services, as well as receive premium placement in Local.com's search function.
On a monthly basis, Local.com presently provides some 19 million consumers with search results for local businesses, products and services on its own domain, along with over 700 regional media sites.
Local.com ratings and reviews allow users to write ratings and reviews for any business listing that appears on the site. Users can enter comments, rate a business using a five-star rating system and view all of the reviews they have previously submitted. Ratings and reviews entered on the site appear on business listing profile pages, subject to a user validation process.
According to Jupiter Research, 77% of online shoppers use ratings and reviews when making a purchase, making it a significant source of information for both online consumers and local business owners.