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GOOGLE LOCAL SEARCH OPTIMIZATION

What is Google Local?

Google Local is another helpful tool created by Google to enable businesses to add their listing into the Google Maps search function. This means that when users are searching for local services, the listings will show up within the standard search results.

By registering with the local business ad’s users can find your address and phone number without needing to click through to your website.

ANATOMY OF A GOOGLE LOCAL SEARCH.

With this kind of first-page exposure for local listings, there is a reason they call it the Lucky 7. For any local search, the major search engines (e.g., Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local) all use their own "black box" algorithms to deliver results they determine are most-to-least relevant. From what I can tell, the 7-Pack algorithm is mostly based on the Maps algorithm, but also has a layer of Universal on top of it. From extensive research in local search optimization, I've found a handful of factors that influence rankings.

Ranking Factors: What Determines the Ranking Results in Local Search?

Back to my equation: Ranking = Location + Information + Corroboration + Input + X; X being defined as the consistent unknown and ever-evolving factor contributing to the unpredictability we see in results. The definition of X might as well be stored in the same vault as the Coca-Cola recipe. The other criteria of the local search equation are better understood.

1. Location: Distance from "Centroid" (the geographic center of the area searched.)

The closer your business is, the higher you rank -- well kind of. This factor has been reduced in weight recently as in many cases relevancy has been proven arbitrary to fixed geographic center points. However new geolocation tools based on user IP addresses and mobile apps delivering hyper-local results could have future implications on this location factor. At a minimum, claim your basic listing and make sure business name, address and telephone numbers are accurate and complete to take advantage of this location factor. Only a few days ago Google updated their Maps and Local Business Center to include expanded areas served and location settings - this being particularly important for service-orientated businesses targeting customers outside their established locale.

2. Information:

Listings containing more robust information and links rank higher in results (e.g., a website link, keyword-rich content, media, etc). Enhance your listing with keyword-rich content targeting the top keyword phrases prospective consumers may use to find you. Consider using variations of the most popular terms like "painters" and "painting". Listing "brands carried" is a good way to target popular keywords. Businesses with product/service keywords in their LBL title get an extra boost (some businesses actually change their name specifically for this reason). Run some tests using available in the (Google Local Business Center) to narrow down your keyword focus. Be sure to add media to your listing: a company logo and multiple store/product photos go a long way - video is a bonus. I also suggest supplementing your listing with as many "extras" as possible. One example would be adding a custom coupon, which is available on many IYP sites. Many of these "extras" may not directly influence ranking, however if they can successfully draw clicks/conversions they are certainly worth adding.

3. Collaboration: 

How many other local search engines or directories have your same listing published? Each time the information contained in your listing matches the NAP and description on other "relevant" sites, your listing gets a "citation" (award) -- the more citations you have, the higher your business ranks. This corroboration between relevant sites builds trust, and the trust factor is critical to high-ranking. Build out your LBL with enhanced content on at least one site, and use this as a template to manually distribute your information to as many relevant sites as possible (see my list of notable sites below). Remember, online local consumers are fragmented -- the use of robust, broad content distribution will maximize reach. .

4. "Objective" Consumer Input: 

How many consumer reviews/ratings or other sources of user input does your business have on "relevant" sites? How many are positive/negative? To maximize citations and achieve the highest possible ranking you need to get as much positive feedback as possible. Encourage your happy customers to go online and give you a positive review on multiple sites. Here are four easy tips on how to get more reviews. Be aware that Google favors citations differently across various industries so it is important to solicit reviews on sites specific to your vertical. The top three review sites for restaurants (based on Google citations as of today) are Citysearch, TripAdvisor and Zagat, while businesses in the service industry are benefiting mostly from Citysearch, InsiderPages and Kudzu. And yes, Google recognizes unique and non-unique URL's within the review section - so don't think you can get carried away with rating your own business.

Even after you have built out a robust business profile and painstakenly gone through the manual submission process, page one ranking is never a lock. Unlike more traditional local advertising methods (TV, radio, yellow pages), guaranteeing placement in local search is nearly impossible. Local search engines hold their proprietary search logic "close to the vest" so businesses cannot easily game the system. For the very same reason they also change the rules often. And just like us, their logic isn't perfect.

In short, local search engines are a prominent, and increasingly popular component of the local search landscape. And factors like regency, accuracy, "certificate of trust" and depth of content are the critical elements to supporting a business' image, increasing "findability" and generating qualified, ready-to-buy local customers.

Why use Google Local?

If you’re working hard on a search engine optimization campaign then you need to be checking as many boxes as possible to build up your brand online and increase online visibility. Google local is one more box to check, and being free there’s no reason not to use it.

Help users easily find your company with local SEO and reduce the number of clicks to find your contact details by allowing your company to be listed in Google Local. Many people use Google Maps to search for local services and view exactly where companies are located; if you haven’t registered with Google Local then you won’t show up in these search results and therefore could miss out on potential customers.

How to use Google Local?

First you need to register with Google if you haven’t already to create a Google account. Within your Google account there is an option to register for local business ad’s and once your details are entered and verified your ad will be up and running on Google local search results and Maps.

SEO CONSULTING KENYA are Google optimization specialists with experience optimizing websites and marketing websites across all areas of the internet. To get increased traffic and sales your website needs to rank well on search engine results pages. Search engine optimization is one of the most beneficial and effective forms of online marketing, providing long term results from advertising the website to relevant markets. Speak our SEO experts to find information about our strategic development plans, how we can take care of your online marketing and increase those traffic levels for you

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