Twenty percent of all search queries handled by Google have local intent. This means that one-in-five Google searches mention a town, city or regional name.
We examine the UK’s local search ecosystem in 2013 and discuss what your business should be doing to get found.
Local Search Engine Optimisation
Google automatically tailors the results of a search based on your geographic location, but optimising your business for specific local search terms is a great way to capture relevant traffic.
When you enter certain search phrases, Google recognises you’re looking for something specific to a particular area and displays local results near the top of page one. Take a look at the following results for the phrase “Good Indian Restaurants in South London”.
After a paid advert and the three organic results that review places to eat, are a series of local listings for individual restaurants.
These local search results are completely independent of organic ranking performance. In fact, Zaika, Veeraswamy or Shezan don’t show up anywhere in the first ten natural search results pages for this term. Yet, thanks their local search performance, they’re appearing at the top of page one and they haven’t paid a penny to get there.
This highlights the growing importance of local search, but how can your business utilise it?
The Local Search Ecosystem
Google and other search engines look at a number of sources to find information about local businesses. The relationships between all of the directories, databases and networks that influence local search are complex, as they feed information to one another.
Understanding the most important players within this ecosystem can help you improve your company’s search engine visibility.
You can register with many of these data services to help Google find you. In the UK, the most important data providers are Google Map Maker and the Local Data Company. It’s also important to register accurate and up-to-date information with 118 Information, BT Business Directory, Factual Data Service, Yelp, Qype, TomTom GPS and Trip Advisor.
Google also crawl governmental organisations like Companies House and Royal Mail, which collect data about company locations independently. Getting into their databases is a more complex process.
Other Important Local Search Factors
Having a healthy citation portfolio with the right databases is only part of optimising your business for local search. You also need an attractive, technically sound website with engaging, up-to-date content and a strong Google+ Local page, among many other factors.
If you’re interested in increasing local search traffic to your company’s website, get in touch with our team of SEO experts today.