One question that arises fairly often in local search is whether keywords or business names are more important. The answer is, it depends. Really, it depends on a number of factors.
Those factors include your local culture, your niche or industry or type of business, and how well you market yourself off line.
For instance, if you live in a large metropolitan area where there are several different types of pizza restaurants including mom and pops as well as large national chains, then someone may simply search for “pizza” plus their area code or neighborhood name. In that case, they’re looking for the closest pizza restaurant.
On the other hand, if they want to eat at a specific restaurant, then they may search for that restaurant by name.
If you live in a smaller area – say, a rural area where a particular pizza restaurant is popular and there is little or no competition, then most searchers may search for that pizza restaurant by name.
But what if someone is locked out of their vehicle? It hardly matters where. They need a locksmith and they need one fast. They are not likely to search for a locksmith by name, especially if they are traveling. They are likely to search for a locksmith in relation to their location and just see what comes up.
When it comes to local search, it works in much the same way as universal search, but with a few additional factors. Place pages play a role in that, business names play a small role in it, and location-based content on your website is likely to play a role as well.
The bottom line is, you need to know your area and your niche. Local search is a growing area and will likely become as sophisticated as universal search in the next couple of years.