Archives for October 2007

Leverage Local Search

SEO Link Development-Leverage Local Search

We have received a number of calls and emails recently regarding results that appear in Google’s Local Search.  Google does not announce changes in it search methods, but it appears that Local Search has changed recently.  In the past, traditional “brick and mortar” type business saw the most benefit from optimizing Local Search.

Local Search Explained: Local Search was originally designed for consumers to find products, services and business in their own backyard.  The average consumer would type in “appliance repair” and Google would display local listings (based on your IP address) at the top of the page.  The data was mostly compiled from online Yellow-Page listings.  If you paid for the online listing in your phone directory, your business was automatically listed in Local Search.  As Google perfected Google Maps, these listings appeared next to a local map with a marker showing your location.

Recent Changes: I have noticed that searches that are obviously local are no longer automatically delivering Local Search results.  A Google search for “appliance repair” no longer automatically displays the Google Map with Local Search results.  Instead, you have to force Local Search by including a modifier like “appliance repair Denver” or “appliance repair 90210” I suspect that Google was losing zillions of advertising dollars by people clicking on Local Search instead of Paid Adwords placements and this is why they have changed the search model.

How to Leverage These Changes: List your business in Local Search following the guidelines and terms you and your SEO have developed.  Examples: Follow along here please – search “hotels” in Google, you get web results for all the big players in the travel market.  In the past, you used to get Local Search results listing “hotels” near your location.  Now search “breckenridge hotels” and you get a mixture of big travel players, well optimized websites.  Then search, “breckenridge colorado hotels” and Local Search pops its ugly head in the results at the top of the page.

Local Search and Your Business: If you are reading this, it is more likely that you rent condos or sell real estate.  The terms that trigger Local Search are most likely search terms you and your SEO are already working on.

What should you do?  Your business model can take advantage of this if you get creative.  The key is to tie your location to the most important search term for you business.  This can be difficult if your website is a pure online venture, but there are still ways to leverage Local Search.  There are provisions for businesses with multiple locations, so it may be worth it to add a mailing address in your target area if you are not actually located there – hint, hint.

Getting Started: Visit the Google hub for adding your business to Local Search – www.google.com/local/add

Account Creation Tips:

Business Name – make sure to include your business “type” in your name.  If your proper business name is “ABC Photography”, list it with your primary business target included in the name, “ABC Wedding Photography” for example.

Description – Get your key search term in the first sentence, make sure the text is original (not copy/paste) and use all 200 characters: Using a robust ad copy style description will deliver more conversion.

Categories – use as many as are applicable.

Photos – Add the maximum allowed, ten photos.  Name the photos with your business type, example denver-wedding.jpg, aspen-condo.jpg or baja-real-estate.jpg

Under Custom – If you look at the Custom page in the account creation process there is the ability to create custom categories.  This can be a rich source for adding more information for the search engines and consumers to consume.

Confirm – Make sure to use the phone confirmation method for faster results.

Coupons – There is the ability to add a coupon or discounts at the end of the account creation process, create one!  People use coupons and discounts so add “savings offers” in as many locations on the internet as you can find.  Websites like hotelcoupons.com and skicoupons.com get mammoth amounts of traffic.

Need Help with all of this?  Linking clients give Dave a call and he can walk you through the process.