Google’s local search algorithm uses some parameters to deliver effective search results to users. The intention is to indicate relevant establishments that are really close to the researcher or within the requested geographical limitation.
Positioning a business on the web is important for it to stand out from the competition. This is not new, but it is important to understand that there are two ways to do this: matching organic searches and optimizing for ranking by Google’s local search algorithm.
The second option has a direct impact on the way small and midsize businesses, and even franchised networks, can be found in a simple search , since is natural for users to use Google to find out if there’s a certain establishment nearby .
In this content, we will delve further into the subject of local searches. You will read the post divided according to the following topics:
- What is local SEO and how important is it to local searches?
- How did mobile influence the rise in local searches?
- Which businesses benefit from local searches?
- What factors are considered by the local search algorithm?
- How to improve ranking against local search algorithms?
Check it out below!
What is local SEO and how important is it to local searches?
There are several motivations that lead a user to open a search engine to find something of interest. Often the intention is to know if there is an establishment nearby, either to have more information about it or to go there .
A good example is when we’re traveling, as we often use Google to find a type of store or service. In these cases, we searched for terms like:
- “vegan food in Vila Mariana SP”;
- “pub in Botafogo RJ”;
- “pizza place in New York”.
There is also another type of search – this is more focused on finding an establishment within a short radius . It is usually used when you are on the street or intend to pursue a business not far from where you are:
- “hospitals near me”;
- “pharmacies in 1 km”;
- “supermarkets on this street”.
In all of these cases, Google directs the search to the local search algorithm , ie the idea is to make the user can find a nearby establishment.
The identification of this intention is guided precisely by the search for terms such as “near me”, as well as the use of specifications such as neighborhood and city names, and other words that indicate proximity.
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One of Google’s main search engine results delivery parameters is business location, since understands that your interest is in the region you are in . It’s simple: If you’re in Rio de Janeiro and searching for ATMs, it is natural for Google to indicate the ones closest to where you are.
The algorithms are prepared to give relevant answers, so the natural understanding is that, if you don’t specify locations, your search is done in the region you are in . Because of this, when positioning a business on the web, it is essential to associate its information with the local search algorithm.
This is where local SEO is really important to these businesses. Search engine optimization should be done by trying to send the right signals to them. That is, you need to specify where your business is and what type of solution it delivers to the public, whether it’s a service or a product.
The results achieved
Understanding the local search algorithm and meeting its standards is a smart strategy when positioning a business on the web. It’s important to start with a simple reflection: If Google prioritizes location when it comes to showing results, that’s because understands that this is what users are looking for .
The way is natural for companies that understand the importance of local search, as they will prepare their content so that it is easier to find in a Google search. The tendency is for them to rise in the rankings SEO site, which is different from what is designed for common searches.
How did mobile influence the rise in local searches?
The local search algorithm was directly impacted by the increasing number of searches made with the user’s location. So when you search on Google for the keywords you use, there is also data about where that person is currently.
This usually happens in computer searches, but the big difference in recent years has been the advancement of mobile technology. After all, is much more common for smartphones to send this location information , which makes all the difference to the local search algorithm.
Naturally, he will detect where a person is at that moment and then better rank the businesses that are close to him. According to Google, one third of mobile searches are related to location .
This scenario is simple to understand: A person is on the street and needs to find a certain establishment near him. Naturally, she’ll use her smartphone to do the search, and then, at this point, the business that knew how to work with local SEO stands out.
No wonder we can find in a Google search some numbers like:
- 50% of people who searched for their place on their smartphone went to the establishment that same day;
- 18% of local mobile searches lead to one sale in one day;
- 50% of users who search local businesses on smartphones look for data such as a business address.
Which businesses benefit from local searches?
As much as local searches are really very useful, not every business can benefit from this possibility. It must first be understood that online businesses, such as e-commerces , have no interest in positioning in this way .
After all, if they can be found in organic searches, there is no need to enter contact or address information. By contrast, the local search algorithm can be a great ally for companies that are in physical establishments and that receive customers.
On the other hand, service providers and retailers, for example, are the categories that can benefit from good placement using local SEO optimization . Next, get a better understanding of the most common business types in this strategy!
Independent offices or lawyers can greatly benefit from being found through local search. The point is that is really in demand for research for this category , since these professionals provide services that may be urgent.
In emergency situations, such as a car accident or an arrest, the lawyer needs to be called in quickly. If the person does not have a fixed contact, they will surely do a Google search for an office or professional who can attend at that time.
Hospitals and Medical Clinics
Clinics and hospitals also fall into this category because of urgency. Emergency care is fundamental in many situations and it is not always possible to move to a distant location.
Thus, a Google search helps you locate the closest place you need care at that time.
User receives basic information, such as address and telephone contact. He can automatically call to find out about health insurance plans, for example.
This convenience can be quite a difference for clinics and hospitals that make good use of local SEO.
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Maintenance and Mechanics
Did your car break down? Do you need a plumber? These are other services that also need to be urgent and depend on professionals or establishments close to the researcher.
As with clinics and hospitals, a quick search connects the facility and who needs the service.
Restaurants and Supermarkets
If you are traveling, you are certainly exploring the city and do not want to waste time looking for supermarkets or even a restaurant to rest and have lunch.
In big cities there are establishments everywhere, but the ideal one is to find the nearest one!
Search may be more specific, such as “vegan restaurants near me” or broader, such as “best restaurants in Brooklyn.”
In this more personalized search, comes out the business that knew how to position its characteristics well in local SEO optimization.
What factors are considered by the local search algorithm?
Several factors are analyzed when Google receives a search entry. The more a site meets these parameters, the more likely it is to rank better. In this case, it appears among the first results.
The same is true for local searches, but specifically, there are 3 key positioning factors in the search result: proximity, prominence, and relevance .
Next, better understand how they are considered on-site and why they impact on-site SEO ranking
Proximity is the primary factor of consideration of the local search algorithm. Google wants to indicate which businesses are closest, after all, many searches are done with the business type name followed by “near me”.
To do this, Google uses the information that the smartphone can transmit to it, provided the user has enabled location. Thus, the algorithm will show as a result local businesses that are within what the search requires.
The keywords and geographic position of the mobile device are considered. As for location, it is detected through the geolocation of the smartphone and the zip code detected from this information.
Google needs to understand which businesses are featured, so we can recommend them to the user. This is a way of maximizing search results and ensuring the delivery of information that will be really useful to those who use the tool.
To measure this highlight, Google uses 3 main parameters:
- visits – If a lot of people go to the place, that’s a good sign that it’s relevant;
- comments – the more comments, the more prominent the company, even if they are not so positive;
- Quotes – If the place is mentioned often, it is also an indication that it is an establishment that stands out in its category.
The idea at this point is to list companies that really have relevance to user search.
If you want to find a pharmacy near where you are, for example, a supermarket would not be the best indication that Google could give.
This is a parameter that the local search algorithm inherits from the common SEO requirements. It works to basically ensure that if you search for “X” you’ll find “X” instead of “Y”.
How to improve ranking against local search algorithms?
Want some good tips to make your business more visible to the local search algorithm? Here’s how you can position it effectively and rank high.
Make basic optimizations
Basic optimizations are the SEO standard: headers, Friendly URLs , meta description and whatever else is among these optimization parameters. Starting there is critical, as local SEO also requires these adjustments.
Register your business on Google My Business
Google also uses the Google My Business database to list relevant local businesses.
In your registration you can enter a wide range of data that will also be used in other applications, such as Waze.
Register in all directories
There are other directories and applications that locate local businesses. The more of them your business is, the bigger the trail it will leave on the web, which impacts rankings. Therefore, register your business in directories such as:
- Bing Places;
- Yahoo Local;
- Google Maps.
Use strategic keywords
The keywords are the basis of prominent SEO, which doesn’t change when it comes to catching the local search algorithm.
In this case, the ideal terms are always related to your business segment and also to location (neighborhood, city, etc.).
Create separate and specific pages
If you have a business network, it is important to have separate records for each one. This ensures the user finds the one closest to them, so targeting is required.
Create content with local pointing
Content Marketing is central to any web positioning strategy.
In a blog , you can create content that brings this very specific local targeting, which will help when ranking pages. Some examples of content are:
- “The 10 Best Vegan Restaurants in Downtown Sao Paulo”;
- “Learn how to choose a supermarket in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro”;
- “What a law firm needs to offer in downtown Belo Horizonte”.
A local business can stand out and attract more and more interest if you know how the local search algorithm works. Following the tips we present is critical to generating more sales and increasing popularity and movement in your establishment.
If you want to learn even more about local SEO, download our free ebook!