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Unified Google Local Search For Businesses
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Local search allows users to submit geographically limited queries against a database of local businesses. The local search queries target the business or product as well as the related location. For example, if you search for Mexican restaurants, the search engine targets Mexican restaurants and data about restaurants located near to the user’s location. Many Local search engines thrive based on the sponsorships from small businesses wanting to show up in search results. A large number of search engines offer local search for free, including Google.
Google Local Search for Businesses
Google Local started in 2004. Google attempted to capitalize on people searching for everyday products and services such as restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. The service provided listings of local businesses, operating hours and directions. Later, Google combined Local Search with Google Maps. Google again changed the name of the service in 2009 to Google Places. Most businesses appear in Google Local search results without taking any action. You need to claim your listing, if you want your business to show up at the top of search results.
Things to Improve Your Presence
There are many things that a business owner can do to improve his or her position in the search results. Include anchor text with local phrases and terms to describe your industry, business and business category. Add multiple terms, phrases, keywords and descriptions to your web site content. Provide a feature to allow customers to generate reviews about your business. Improve the quality of the site with relevant materials and descriptions about the products and services offered. All these steps help search engine algorithms to determine and assign a higher rank while rendering the search results.
Ranking of Local Results with Google
The Google Local search results displayed by Google Maps depends on distance, relevance and prominence. Google’s search algorithm combines all these factors to provide the best results. Google Maps could assign a store farther from your location with a higher rank if the product you are looking for is available at that store. Relevance determines the best match between a certain listing and the product or service someone is looking for. Businesses need to describe their products and services accurately to be considered relevant. Distance is a function of the location where the user is located while initiating the search. Google shows results based on available data about the user’s location and potential matches. Prominence is about how popular your business is. Google finds this information from articles, blogs, reviews and various other sources about your business. Google Maps is free and the search algorithm is optimized based on these 3 factors.
Google My Business and Local Search
Google My Business is Google’s platform for businesses to manage their online presence. It provides a dashboard to maintain business information, use Google+ pages, research customer engagement and check Analytics data. Local businesses also benefit from Google My Business. Google My Business helps local businesses to have their presence on Google. Google utilizes the information about the business to include the business in local search results. You can also see customer reviews, and gain insights about your customers.
Adding a Local Business to Google
You need a physical address, and adhere to Google’s guidelines to add your local business to Google. You can create a local Google+ page to promote your local business in a particular location. Businesses such as plumbers, hotels, grocery shops, gas stations and cars washes are eligible. You can create a local page by visiting Google My Business. Login using your Google account and choose a category from either storefront business or service area business. Enter the name of your business and choose the full name from the dropdown displayed. If it’s not listed, you can add the details about your business. You will need to verify your business information using a verification code sent by Google. Google sends the verification code either by a post card or by phone. Once verified, your business is ready to appear in Google Local Search for businesses.
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