What is Local Optimisation Guide
Google advise that over 90% of consumers search for local businesses online. Think about when an individual is searching for a business, their search terms are more likely to include a local placename e.g. plumbers/hotels/garages in devon and when the search results are returned Google Places may be displayed.
Google Places allows businesses to create a listing for these results for free. Once indexed it will be found by searches, maps and mobile search. If an individual searches for your business name and town or city, your Google place may be displayed. Certain business categories and key phrases can trigger a local search and depending how well your Google place ranks it may be shown here.
These “local results” or Google places can be shown at the top or to the side of search results and pinpoint specific businesses that rank highly with the search engine for the search term. These are not adverts but rather natural “local” rankings so if you have a local presence it is important to make sure your business can be found in these results.
The first step is to register for your business’s Google Place and once approved, then optimise your listing with content, relevant business details including your key categories and phrases. Maps, Video and Images if properly optimised will improve your Place’s ranking with Google.
Consider creating a custom map for that office so you can pinpoint the correct location and highlight any areas of interest if it is relevant for your business, such a cheaper parking or the best sandwich shop. Custom maps are indexed by search engines and if you include it on your Google Place as well as your website it aids the consistency of information specific to your business in that location.
Local Optimisation doesn’t start and end with creating a Google Place, instead a range of local optimisation & marketing tactics are required in order to strengthen your Google Place and it’s chance of ranking in a search. These include location based optimisation of their websites, directory entries, videos, images, review sites and maps.
As an example, a specific tactic that is important to maximise local search, is to build lots of references and links form local sites and business directories. Unlike in wider seo strategy where you would link to different pages with different link text with local optimisation it is actually important that your business name, address and phone number is displayed in the same format on every website and in every directory (yell.com), rather than sometimes the building name is not shown or the phone number is written in a different way. What address information is shown on your other social channels?
Local optimisation also requires specific pages of your website to be optimised for local keywords as well as your Google place page. The specific pages that are relevant for a local search, like a page about a London office should be optimised for that location using all the elements of the web page including the title, headings, body content, images, page description, keywords etc.