Saturday, February 5, 2011

Google Delivers Local Users Local Content

I've been saying this for a while to my clients, the important of putting local relevancy into their Search Engine Optimisation efforts. From geo locator information using geo-tags behind the page within the metatags, for the location to their physical store location, supported with on-page SEO activities of ensure all location information is included on the contact page; street address, suburb, post code, and even embedding a Google Map on the page.

Google normally assumes that users are looking for and will want to be directed to local business content in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and tends to favour local results, based on IP address and/or search history. The algorithm component behind this is that a local result is likely to be a more relevant result.

Additional areas that website owners can consider to contribute to the overall local search penetration is supporting this with ensuring they select firstly a local TLD (Top Level Domain) such as using a .com.au extension for Australian websites.

Hosting of the website will also impact. If hosted locally there are several benefits, firstly in the lookup performed by search engines determining the hosting locality to support the intended distribution, and speed increases that are gained by reducing the number of hops for end users accessing the website hosted locally compared to in another state or country and so making each component call quicker in response for rendering the page to the end user computer. Another component to consider is even in the details registered for the domain name that can be sourced via a WHOIS lookup. I would suggest providing the local physical office address in the registration details to aid in supporting again this concept of local search reinforcement.

Tie all of this in with Google Places http://www.google.com.au/places/ a free online business listing. When potential customers search Maps for local information, they'll find your business: your address, hours of operation, even photos of your storefront or products. Now when consumers search within Google, and Google detects they are intending to search for location specific things Google will deliver a map with relevant locations within the SERPS where your business can appear.

www.SearchGroup.com.au generates a suitable and extensive Google Places listing for all businesses when they engage Search Group for Search Engine Optimisation services, along with all the many recommendations suggested above... and then a few more!