An official announcement from Google the other day that geo-specific local results will become totally integrated into the main Google organic search algorithm means some serious changes for search people.
If your site doesn’t have a physical address in the location that people are searching from, you’ll probably no longer be able to rank for those queries.
Here’s a search I did for “baby stores in raleigh nc”
The part of the image that I grayed out is the section that was bellow the scoll for me viewing the results at a resolution of 1440×900.
On of the interesting things I noticed was that the very first result listed is for smartmomma’s location page – not the homepage. The homepage does eventually show up in the results, but it’s way down the page (last one in the image above).
This looks to be caused by a designer/developer who doesn’t fully understand search optimization and so his clients suffer. Your location should be included on every page of your website, and for best results, wrap it in an address tag.
So what should you do if you’re a local business?
- First, rejoice! Google has just given you a chance to compete with the massive national brands when people search for things locally.
- Make sure that your website is using the address tag on every page
- Become a better curator of your Google Places page (you’ve claimed it already right?)
- Encourage your best customers to leave feedback at your Google Places page, or any of the other review sites Google pulls info from to rank local results.
- Read David Mihm’s local search rankings article, reread it, and take it to heart.
If you are a business that has dozens or even hundreds of locations, it’s time to get a memo in the works explaining how important it now is to make sure each and every location is properly listed.