Joe Meloni

A report from YP, the new Yellow Pages search ad network, found that local search has become increasingly common, and certain industries are seeing spikes in activity. The company measured more than 563 million search queries and 11 billion ad impressions on its network in the first quarter of 2012. Among its findings were growth in local searches in the wedding, family service and pharmacy verticals, while restaurants and financial services were the top performers overall.

For marketers looking to turn increased search activity into increased website traffic, leads and conversions, content marketing with SEO is a strong method. The beauty of web marketing is it helps businesses of all sizes appeal to prospects, whether they’re local or shopping on the other side of the nation. Creating website content for audiences near and far can help drive traffic and pique the interest of any website visitor.

With restaurants ranking No. 1 overall in terms of most searched categories, it shows that many searches are looking to discover information for short-term conversions, which is good for some businesses. Moreover, Brafton recently cited data from an xAD study that found 37 percent of consumers who use mobile search conduct some secondary action when they land on a web page, whether it’s clicking through to the site calling the business.

For the financial services and real estate industries, the goal of search marketing campaigns will be little different than restaurants‘ search objectives. While creating website content that helps drive a strong search ranking is critical, companies in these verticals may be after desirable ends beyond booking a reservation or calling. Content marketing can help fuel a number of marketing goals as it helps companies establish themselves as thought leaders within their industries.

Other industries that YP found are gaining popularity in search are beauty services, legal services and building contractors. Each of these industries can see site traffic and conversions increase when they develop website content that focuses on both search ranking and converting search traffic through building a brand’s authority.

With both desktop and mobile search growing, and algorithms changing to place a focus on local content, the potential for companies to drive conversions from all audiences follows suit. Citing data from a BIA/Kelsey study, Brafton recently reported that mobile search queries will top 30 billion in 2012.