In our previous post we began looking at how search engine optimisation has evolved over recent years to where we are today – seeing the ascendency of Local Search. Some UK business owners believe that having a Google Places page is the be all and end all of local search – unfortunately life is not that simple!
New Factors That Affect Local Search Results
Google Places as we discussed in our previous post greatly affects Organic (non paid) search results. There are usually seven Google Places results (A-G) displayed on page one of the Google results and it goes without saying that businesses in position ‘A’ will be more likely to be clicked on than those further down the list.
We therefore need to consider those factors that affect “Places” rank with the same level of importance as we would the ‘traditional’ SEO factors, i.e. website size, quality of web content and number / variety of links.
Here are the factors that most SEO experts, including us, agree most likely determine your ranking on Google Places:
- Location – Since the rank of a business’ place page is largely determined by it’s proximity to the IP address of the person searching or the geographic term they used, it is no surprise that the address of the business (most importantly, the town or city in the address) is a big determining factor.
- Citations – Google logs how often a business is mentioned across the entire world wide web. Each time the name of a business together with its address or (local) phone number is mentioned, Google takes note and applies a certain value to each one dependent upon the ‘credibility’ or standing of the site where the citation has been made. Each citation strengthens a company’s Google Places result and raises their ranking.
- Reviews – Google is looking for customer reviews of a business in a wide variety of directory type websites. Genuine positive reviews by real people will greatly enhance the credibility of a company’s reputation. A few of the directory sites that we would recommend for consideration includes:
- Google Places
- Yahoo Local
- Trip Advisor (Hotels / Guest Houses)
- Bing Local
- Thompson Local
These are just a few of the major factors determining the “new age” local search and more are emerging on almost a daily basis.
Local search is not just about driving traffic to your website and sales lead generation – it also has a huge role to play in your Online Reputation Management strategy – but that is another subject altogether!
With all these changes affecting both the search results and the online reputation of companies, few small / medium sized businesses in the UK have the resources necessary to learning the dynamic and ever changing search engine optimisation landscape and to implement new search engine strategies to take full advantage of the opportunities provided. WSI IMS has a team of dedicated search engine professionals that can do this for you.
If you would like more information about our Local Search or Search Engine Optimisation services please leave a comment below or visit GB Web Marketing – Professional Internet Marketing Services for UK Businesses.