Google Local SEO Tips

by on 19/11/10 at 3:59 pm

Google Local SEO TipsIn case you’ve been hibernating, Google’s Local Search Update has arrived big time and it’s freaking people out! Fear not, I think it’s a good thing for Local SEO’s and business owners. This latest round of updates presents some great opportunities for Local SEO’s and I wanted to highlight these recent events and also share a few Google Local SEO Tips that you might find useful.

Since the announcement of Google Instant back on September 8, the re-brand of its Local Business Center to Google Places and the roll out of the new Local Search algorithms in October there’s been a lot of talk online hinting that this is the “Death of SEO” or “SEO is now irrelevant” and I couldn’t disagree more.

Sure it’s been difficult this past month to keep up with all the developments in our industry, even for Local SEO experts. But I believe these changes are a step forward in search and will increase the value of SEO after the dust settles.

Google Local SEO Advice:

At Pubcon, Matt Cutts had some tips for SEOs and suggested that they “do not chase the algorithms but instead chase the users”.

Well, what the hell does that mean? you say.

It means that look at where Google is going towards the future as a business model. Google understands what users want from a search engine and also understand the great value, community and “advertising revenue” that social media provides. They are simply “listening” to more of what is happening on the web which is a good thing for Local Search Rankings and SEO.

Matt had some interesting suggestions for SEO’s about these latest changes in search and how Google is heading in new directions at his address at Pubcon, here’s a very rough low-fi clip.

Some of the key information I found interesting and useful to SEOs and local business owners:

  • Google reduced the number of hacked sites showing up in Google’s search results by 90%
  • Matt said that users are more likely to click on the first link in an article as opposed to a link at the bottom of an article. He advised put your most important links at the top of the article
  • Google will be looking at why exact domain matches rank so well (which they kind of do, but I’ve seen the contrary. I believe it depends on the quality of your SEO efforts such as quality content, images, video and social media interaction)
  • Google is reportedly building a paid link algorithm or tool that blocks the link value from paid links on a page and lets the other not paid links pass link juice.
  • Caffeine Update: Is basically a continuous update of everyones index. Google will crawl a page from your website and instantly index it (lately within 7-8 hours).
  • Google Instant: Google is now trying to suggest answers that you might want.  If you type in “s” you’re most likely searching for “southwest airlines” so Google will show that to you. Power users hate it because they know exactly what they’re searching for and it becomes a pain in the arse. (Local SEO Tip: If you haven’t already, you need to start looking at Google’s auto suggest and Instant search results and start building pages optimized for those suggestions).
  • Google Instant Preview: This basically lets you see a preview of a page so you can decide which result to click on. You click on the magnify glass and it will show you a visual snippet of the webpage and it highlights specific snippets of text within that page that Google determines relevant for that keyword. (I’m still trying to figure out snippets, leave a comment if you have any insight?)
  • Geo-Targeted Search Options:  The “Change Location” feature is an interesting addition for Local SEO’s. You can do queries as if you were in Seattle when you’re really in Chicago but does not affect local search results when you use a Geo-specific keyword in your search query like “Chicago”.

Here’s my Top 10 Google Local SEO Tips:

1. Local Phone Number In Places Page (non-800)
2. Quantity of Inbound Links
3. Positive Reviews (with keywords in review title and body)
4. Selecting Related Categories in Places Page
5. Local Address On Every Page of Your Site
6. Embedding a Google Map on your Contact Us Page
7. Include Coupons in Places and Update Regularly
8. Geo-Tagged Videos and Photos in Places
9. Location and Product/Service Keywords in Title, Description, Category in Places
10. Local Phone Number On Every Page Of Website

If you have other ranking factors, SEO tips or insights leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

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