Local Search is important – some recent research from Yahoo indicated that over 40% of all searches are for local services – ‘dentist kent’, ‘solicitor northwest’, ‘manchester air conditioning’ etc, etc.
One point to be aware of in this is that even if your services are national or international – you still want to capture individuals who put these geo variables into their search phrases because there are so many of them.
This post will show you what to do to optimise for local search, including having visibilty on the Google map.
Here’s an example…
You can see from this that the search for ‘data cabling liverpool’ has delivered www.interconnect-ns.co.uk as number one.
(The ‘map based results’ come before of course – more about this later when I’ll tell you how to get on this list also.)
The other thing to note about this is that a more specific search leads to more qualified traffic. If someone types is ‘data cabling liverpool’ what is he interested in? Exactly, he’s declared his intent and when he lands at your site he’s a pretty well qualified opportunity to take advantage off.
So, here’s what to do…
Decide on a specific geo term you want to capture – kent, manchester, cheshire – along with your root phrase. Lets say you offer acupuncture services in york then the term to capture is ‘acupuncture york’. Put this in your homepage ‘title tag’. (make it the first two words in the tag and remember no more than 10 words in total)
Make sure you then repeat this phrase a couple of times in the text on your homepage and voila! The next time the spider visits (give it a couple of weeks) you’ll get a great google ranking.
Whether you are number one of course will depend on the level of competition, but most will be in the top 5 results
Google Maps – Local Business Centre
Now, let’s get back to the map based results. I think its speaks for itself that its a great advangtage to be in this listing. Its also free courtesy of google. All you need to do is register at Google Maps – Local Business Centre:-
You should see what’s below, then just follow the instructions:-
Once you are in people can click on your snippet, see where you are and get directions using all the Google Maps/Google Earth functionality.
One bit of advice to optimise you listing and maximise the chances of being in the number one position. When filling in your decription, position the keyphrase (eg ‘acupuncture York’) right at the beginning of the text you enter.
So, here’s a summary of what to do…
1. Register with Google local – either as above or directly at :–
Be as comprehensive as you with can the information you provide. Google will contact you for verification purposes.
2. Ensure the geo location you are targeting (eg Kent) is included in the homepage and contact us page
3. As 2. but include the geo location in the description and keywords metatags also.
4. Ensure your full address details are included on the homepage, contact us page and other pages that discuss local products/services. (you could include this information in a ‘footer’ on other pages).
It also helps if your phone number (with area code) is on your homepage.
5. Ensure the text within these pages also includes the phrase you wish to capture – eg ‘Garden Nurseries Kent’– at least a couple of times
6. What will really drive you into a prominent position, as well as in the maps position, will be if you can add some local inbound links eg yell, other local directories, chamber of commerce, local business associations, touchlocal.com , thelocalweb.net, scoot, Thomson Local, craiglist uk etc.
7. Where possible ensure the anchor text from these links includes the target phrase.