The importance of Local Search Aug 31, 2009 12:11 by John Sollars
In the US local search is becoming really important, and a lot of effort is being expended in getting business’s into the ‘10 pack’ of companies listed for a local area. This is a lot less important in the UK as many US states are the physical size of the entire UK. However Google is rolling it out more over here and it is important that you don’t miss out on any opportunity to promote your business.
First place to start is to go into your Google Account and update all the information that you can possibly update in ‘Local Search’. Google are giving a raft of different tools away that enable small business’s to manage their online profiles and this is one of those. If you have not used this before and to make sure that you are eligible to amend the business details at the address you register, Google may well ‘Postcard’ you. What this means is they will actually send you a ‘Postcard’ in the ‘Post’ (Snail Mail for us technocrats) with a validation code on it. This can take up to a couple of weeks to arrive, but as soon as you get it login to your account and validate the information. And that is all it takes – however if you are a late adopter then your competitors may well be hogging all the available listings in the area. This is when you need to optimise your listing.
Back to it then, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) makes the world go round!. The story we heard was that the Local Search results team run a different database and Algo to the main search results, but they are consolidated at the point of display to your search query. And that local search is easier to ‘manipulate’ than the main search because there are less people in there, so lets ‘manipulate’ to our advantage. David Mihm is one of the top experts in the field of local search and he maintains that a ‘Citation’ from a web directory that Google considers important will give your rankings a boost. He has written a decent list of UK local directories which you can read here http://www.davidmihm.com/blog/local-seo/uk-citations/ and I have to say that I have spent the morning updating and making sure that we are included in all of the directories listed. The list is a bit Londoncentric, but get in as many as you can anyway because Google will index the links and ‘ALL LINKS ARE GOOD LINKS’ – sorry didn’t mean to shout!.
I think given time, local search will become much more relevant over here than it is at the moment, Google have been running it in the US for about 18 months and what happens there will eventually come over here. Look at all of your Google tools and make sure that you are using them. My next post will be a list of things you should be using that Google currently give you free.
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