Local Search

Why don't SEO experts get lost? Because they always keep track of their Local Search!🗺🗺

Local search refers to search queries that specifically hope to find results within a geographic area, such as hotels, restaurants, or entertainment. It also refers to when someone searches online for a physical place to make an offline transaction, such as searching for an ATM near their location.

Businesses with physical locations or services rely on local SEO to appear within search results relevant to their target markets.

Some businesses need their search to be hyperlocal – these tend to be services where someone who lives in the area is more likely to shop at a location close to them, like supermarkets, laundromats, cafes, and the like. However, hotels, car rental agencies, resorts, and tourist-heavy attractions like theme parks or beaches will often see results from people who are not in the area yet but may be in the future. Franchise and chain locations are also subject to local SEO. No matter what, businesses with physical locations should be aware of and optimize for local search.

The terms local SEO and local business marketing are often seen used interchangeably with local search marketing. 

How Google views local search

Search engines are committed to serving up the most relevant results for any query that a user enters. Because of that, Google is constantly on the move to interpret local intent to put the right results in front of the right users. This is why the search engine often asks for the user’s location; doing so allows it to show the closest possible local search results.

Google defines a local business as a commercial entity that offers goods and services in person rather than entirely online. Service-area businesses without physical, brick-and-mortar buildings also qualify as local businesses, so long as their business transactions happen within their customers’ locations, such as a mobile screen repair service.

In optimizing for local search, most businesses aim to land in the Local Pack/Map Pack. Helping a business listing rank higher and appear more often in these local market results will ultimately drive more traffic to the physical location.

Optimizing for local search

The first step a business must take to start ranking in local searches is to read Google’s Guidelines to Representing Your Business on Google. With Google serving as the powerhouse of local search, it has created a significant foundation for how digital marketers think about local businesses in the modern era.

The guidelines outlined in Google’s document will detail how a business may and may not use the platform. A brand looking to have its location included in the Local Pack/Map Pack should ensure that its operating hours, address, phone number, and website are updated and accurate. 

Setting up a Google Business Profile enables businesses to upload photos, menus, service lists, and updates about sales and events. Businesses can also interact with their customers through direct messaging and manage two-way communications surrounding reviews. When a local customer is researching a business, having as much information upfront about it as possible will help them decide whether to visit it.

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