I interviewed Cory Barbot, a Natural Search Specialist and resident expert on local search, at Apogee Search. He took some time to explain local search and how to use it to your advantage. Below are some of the highlights from our discussion:
Cory began by explaining that local search is basically a search engine within a search engine. Google displays refined search results using location in addition to the keywords. In Google, a map will be displayed along with company listings near that location.
According to Cory, Google’s Universal Search has made local search more important in search marketing. Universal Search is a version of Google search results that include a variety of different types of media among search results, not just text links to websites. This is now the primary display method that Google uses for its search results pages.
Local search results are determined by a different algorithm than natural results, but the algorithm’s variables are very similar to the natural search result algorithm. A key difference between the two is that local search considers citations, not just inbound links. Citations are references to a business that use addresses or phone numbers rather than a link. This can really help smaller businesses rank well within local search because they can often gain citations more easily than links.
Cory then offered some tips to help businesses optimize for local search.
- Incorporate the city within the title and meta tags. Search engines will use this to determine the cities to list the page under.
- Include the company address on each page of the website. This makes it easier for the search engines to see that a company matches a certain address.
- Submit to Google Local Business Center. You can submit your business’ information and Google will verify it. This can be done even of you do not have a website for your business.
These are great tips that any business can implement to improve their local search strategies.