Google has changed the way they show search results containing local search queries. Local search queries usually contain a “product or service + city name” or are conducted from mobile devices. The algorithm now pulls even more information from your Google Places/Business listing and displays that information in the first 3 to 8 spots in the search results. Previously, you would have seen these results beside a Google map in the results but they have now moved the map to the top right hand corner and given the Google Places listing the top left position. This is bad for PPC advertisers because the #4 spot in the sponsored results used to be amazing for ROI . Below I will show you a few ways to optimize your local presence.
Example of local search:
Local Search Optimization in Canada
The great thing about optimizing for local search is that it is usually free and just involves a bit of work on your end. The problem with the Canadian local search market is that it is dominated by Yellow Pages. In the US you can sign up for Bing Local Business Center and Yahoo Local but here in Canada Bing, and Yahoo get there local feed from Yellow Pages. (FYI the Yellow Pages Group is the number one Canadian owned site for unique visits according to ComScore)
Sign up for local listings on:
- Google Places
- Yelp Business
- Yellow Pages
- Create a Facebook Page and bookmark the address in Facebook Places
- Local directories that are specific to your industry are also good but stay away from spammy sites
Pimp out the listings
- fill out as much info as possible
- add images and videos that help build trust
- add the correct categories and test out secondary categories
- note if your store is called “Steve’s” then your should add in a category keyword eg. “Steve’s Hardware” which will help the search engines place you in the correct category
- get clients and friends to review your listing of Google and Yelp
This is just phase one of local’s influence on search results, as people use their smart phones more it will be increasing more important to optimize for local. Social media metrics like reviews and “likes” on Facebook will also become huge factors in rankings. On the Pay Per Click side of things you can already incorporate reviews into your PPC ads, if you own a ecommerce site. More to come on optimizing for local paid search.
If you would like help with your local search optimization or paid local search let me know.