By now everyone hopefully has noticed that Google is working hard to give geographical relevancy to search results. This is done through the local search listings that now appear at the top of the search results, along with a map, when a searcher enters a search phrase that includes a geographical descripter, most usually the name of a city or municipality.
These local listings are a tremendous tool for both searcher and website owner. Here is how to use this feature for your website:
Focus Your Efforts:
- on links and presence on local search engines and directories
- on building geographical data on your website
Step 1: Get Listed
- Submit your site to Google Local Listings, Yahoo and Bing. All use a similar approach.
- Enter all informaton they ask for including images, hours, etc. Make sure you use the map to plot your business, moving the marker if Google gets it wrong on their map.
- Submit to any regional directories, yelp.com, superpages.com and yellowpages.com. There are more directories out there so look around. This isn’t just for links, Google and the other search engines keep tabs on these sites and it seems they may use it as a geographical relevancy check on their own rankings.
Step 2: Get Help
Once on the local listings, get your friends and customers to provide reviews directly from those results. More reviews equals greater strength in the local listings when they come up.
Step 3: Optimize Your Site
- Put your company’s physical address in the footer of your site (address, phone number and postal code)
- Use your geographical tag in the title of the index page of your site as well as ensure that you mention your location in a few headers and in the content of your pages.
- Make sure your contact page displays all address and phone information.
- Use the embed function of Google Maps to embed your location on your contact page. This is a great tool allowing searchers to find easy directions to your location.