Are Optimizing for Local Search?
Typical local search queries include such things as a street address, city name or postal code. Examples of local searches include “New Zealand hotels”, “Boston dentists”, and “Italy Car Rental”. Local search engine optimization advertising can be highly effective because it allows ads to be targeted very precisely by location. Local search is a new version of waning traditional off-line local advertising, such as newspaper ads, yellow pages and local radio or cable spots.
Old Versus New Media, Rivals or Pals?
Keep in mind that traditional media are actively pushing their own versions of local search. Yellow Page directory listings, for example, can actually help your Google Local ranking position. So while search and traditional media seem like arch rivals, they are in some ways directly connected. And having a listing in vertical directories such as lawyers.com, your local chamber of commerce and business directories can help your overall local search presence since these get indexed by, and are trust signals to, Google of your professional presence.
How Do Reviews Impact Local Search Engine Optimization?
Reviews of your local business, like what you see on Yelp and elsewhere, can contribute to local search engine optimization. Reviews are topically related text on a trusted site, with a link to the website, and that passes positive energy to the search bots. They also can drive business by the fact that people may see them and click on them when surfing the local sites or see them listed in search results. So anytime an offline ad comes with an online component, it increases its value significantly, partly due to the backlink and partly to exposure.
Get In On the Ground Floor
There is currently a war going on in the field of local search engine optimization. Local advertising revenues are expected to reach $144.9 billion in 2014 according to BIA/Kelsey. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Foursquare, Yelp, Ask.com and Apple all have offerings for local search advertising. Pundits estimate from 40%-60% of searches have a local intent. And with mobile tech continuing to boom, local search remains very powerful and critical to many businesses.
Start With Google Local
While getting listed in a variety of local directories and services is important, Deeper Clicks suggests starting with Google Local. Getting listed and ranking well in Google Local is easy, and definitely worth the small amount of effort it takes. Google is a great source for local business information and local search is hot, especially given how many people search for things on the road via mobile phone. Local listings appear at the top of Google sandwiched between the top paid ads and the main organic results.
Note: The Google Local Business Center (Google LBC) is now called Google Places. You’re not going to be on the Google maps that come up when you search for local services unless you register with Google Places. This is not the same as having your website indexed. You have to register your business with Google Places, which is a separate process for having your website appear in the “main” results.
Image: SWARM GALLERY OAKLAND