When I think of local search, I think of the old fashioned Yellow Pages Directory, but less turning of those thin pages that stick together and more of instant results. Many businesses feel that putting all of their marketing expenditure and effort into their website only will be enough to sell their products and services. They do know, however, that they are not the only Laundromat/butcher/toy store in the area, and this can prove problematic. Bigger brands that wish to sell their products and services to not only their own country but other continents will also face problems when approaching local listings of their business. Whether your business is big or small, local search will place you on the map, literally.
The key to local search is to stay competitive, think laterally and prioritise. Below are a few recourses on how to rank within local search in the countries you would like to target. These articles, written by industry experts, show how you can improve your local rankings.
Local Search Ranking Factors: the best and the worst
This popular survey recently conducted by David Mihm is a melting pot of ranking information and looks at the most significant ways in which you can rank in local search. The survey, completed by various industry experts in the USA and Europe, was conducted in order to give some enlightening feedback to the public about local search. Rated from “very important” to “can hurt your ranking” the survey is great for anyone who is confused by the concept of local search and wanting to learn about its importance (myself included).
Monica Wright offers 9 straightforward steps to approaching SEO for geographically specific areas. She feels that all of these suggestions are fairly easy to execute and will lead to positive results. Some of the suggestions include using a Country Code Top Level Domain as it is likely to be favoured in your desired target country. This will also benefit you if you wish to have your website translated into different languages for your target countries. Other tips include the avoidance of language mixing on your site and the inclusion of your address on your contact pages, maps and other related areas.
Ann Smarty, a regular Search Engine Journal contributor, gives us a short and sweet point form list on how to strengthen your country specific links. She explains the importance of these links in relation to Google’s understanding of your targeting aims. These tips are extremely beneficial for people who wish to target multiple countries with their business.
Google list tracking:
This informative article focuses on the importance of statistics and how tracking and monitoring your listings will benefit you in the long run as well as give you insight into your target market. In this article, Sam Murray gives an enlightening How To guide on tracking Google listings. Murray shares some tracking tips like how to place your local listing through a local business centre, the effect of vanity URL’s and the use of 301 redirects.
How to track your Google Local listing
Many of us are only now seeing the importance of local search and what it can do for your brand. My advice would be to take a moment and see your business from your target market’s point of view and make sure your local business listings are as easily accessible and approachable as possible.