Compete has published some interesting traffic data on the growth of what it’s calling the “Local Search category.” The full inventory of sites in the category was not exposed. Compete says that overall in June there were 103.5 million unique visitors to the collection of sites, representing an increase of 27% compared with a year ago.
Using comScore’s total US Internet audience numbers (roughly 212 million users), the uniques amount to just under half the total US Internet population. Here’s additional traffic data from the release:
Among the “yellow” websites and subdomains in Compete’s category, each with more than a million unique visitors, were Yellowpages.com (27M UVs), Yellowbook.com (7.4M UVs), Yellow.com (4.9M UVs), Yellowpages.lycos.com (3M UVs), Yellowise.com (2.6M UVs), Magicyellow.com (1.6M UVs) and Yellowmoxie.com (1.3M UVs).
With nearly 8.1 million fewer UVs than Yellowpages.com, Yahoo! subdomain Local.yahoo.com had 18.9M UVs — a 4.61 percent rise for the month and a 53.92 percent increase over June 2010. Other leading sites in the category were Local.com (17.5M UVs, +15.13 percent M-O-M, 34.13 percent Y-O-Y), Whitepages.com (16.9M UVs, +3.97 percent M-O-M, +22.03 percent Y-O-Y) and Yelp.com (1.8M UVs, +7.48 percent M-O-M, +74.46 percent Y-O-Y).
Compete also enlisted mobile analytics firm Ground Truth to release mobile traffic comparisons for many of the same sites:
There’s no mention of Google in the discussion of the data (I’ve asked for more context). However by my estimates Google sees more than 2 billion local queries in the US on a monthly basis. A majority of the company’s users have at one time or another conducted local searches.
The whole question of what constitutes a “local search” is highly problematic. For years comScore has relied on a very conservative methodology to measure only explicit local queries. However when you look at the conclusion of the search behavior — transactions in offline stores — the discussion of “local search” broadens out considerably.