What is Google Local?
Google Local is the map you often see in Google search results when you are looking for a local business. See the image below. Google Local is also commonly call Google+ and Google Maps, but the correct term is "Google Local Search Results"
Why is Google Local so Important?
You don't even need to have a website to have a Google profile and show in Google Local search results. Google determined several years ago that 90%+ of people searching for products and services were looking for local providers. Google needed a way to help us better and more quickly understand who the local businesses are, so they created Google Local.
Google displays up to 10 Local Search listings before any Organic search listings, giving more value to local search vs organic search. You definantly want to be high ranking in Local Search Results.
How Can You Improve Local Search Ranking?
Everyone wants to know how to improve your ranking. Well, there are many factors and the excerpt from the article below gives the top factors. As website promotion professionals, we don't know how many factors there are, only when we do certian activity we get better results.
Here are some of the common activty that effect your ranking
- Make sure your Google Profile is complete. Google wants to direct the public to content rich profiles to better help them know if your company is right for them. Therefore you need to complete your profile to the fullest possible, which means physical address, phone, website address, photos of the outside of your business, inside, of you or key staff, hours of operation, videos, virtirual tour from Google Street View.
- Get your customers to post reviews. If you look at Local search results you will see a strong relationship between the number of reviews and how high the listing is in the search result.
- Post current reviews. If your last review was 5 years ago, your content has gotten stale. At Ameravant Website Design Studio, we have seen fresh content in websites peak within 7-30 days, stay there for 6-8 months then start to decline. Make sure you are always asking your customers to write reviews.
- Citation Management - Your physical address and contact information is called a "Citation". Citation Management is making sure your profile is consistant and complete across safe directory websites. There are about 190 general directors that are "safe" + many local trade organization directories. If you find yourself in an unsafe directory, that is only there to be a link farm back to your website, you may be demoted in Google Search Results. Once I had a client that hired a company to get them in directories, and they did, into many unsafe directories. They received an Email from Google telling them to remove the listings, but because they didn't own those websites they were not able to remove the listings. We had to purchase a new domain for them, and go through the proper Google steps to let Google know to forward the Domain Authority of their old domain to their new domain. Within a few days they were back in business getting leads from their website.
The content below is an excerpt from Search Engine Roundtable authored by Barry Schwartz
Critieria Google uses improves your Google Local, Google+ and Google Maps ranking
Here are all four criteria Google Staff listed:
- Relevance: How relevant is your business category/listing to the search phrase used by the user?
- Prominence: Traffic to your business listing. How established is the business online.
- Distance: How close the business is location from where the search is being made.
- Search history: In the past how many times has the listing been clicked on by users searching with the keyword.
He then lists more methods including making sure your listing is in the right category, make sure you share your listing URL because it increases clicks on your profile, get good reviews from happy customers and share new updates and photos. He also linked to this FAQ with even more ranking tips.
But the top four are relevance, prominence, distance and search history/clicks!
Update: Google actually changed what they posted in the help forum, it now reads, "Search history: The number of times it has been useful historically on the basis of relevance, prominence and distance."
If you are reading this article and interested in improving your Google Local Search, please follow this link to read about VisionTRACKER, an inexpensive way to improve your Local Search Ranking