Where To Start With Local Search

How to take advantage of local search traffic and dominate local SERPS

If you’re a new business not sure where to begin with local search, or a longer standing company whose site isn’t generating the internet traffic you’d hoped for, not all is lost. We know how hard it can be to get noticed in competitive markets, which is why we at DirectoryBug are here to give you the tools and resources needed to make your business stand out. There are several simple techniques and changes you can make to encourage a healthy growth in web traffic and increase your presence online and DirectoryBug is here to help you take steps in the right direction to gain the customer attention you deserve.

Advice for business owners looking to become more visible on search engine results pages

Gaining visibility on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is something that every business or brand website can take advantage of. Why? Because it’s dead simple and we’re going to show you how to do it.Increase Local Search Traffic

The aim is to rank for search terms that trigger local specific results and eventually dominate the front page of results with your business or brand; therefore increasing your brand visibility, overall traffic and ultimately sales. This is done by creating multiple high quality online business profiles that are optimized for those search terms. This does not necessarily mean search terms that result in blended local results or a 7 pack with map listings – These are the most common but there are other searches that display results specific to a users location or city searched. G+ Local (Google Places) listings aren’t essential but are highly beneficial, and of course favored for local specific searches performed on Google (A popular search engine you may have heard of before).

Understanding local specific results

So, let’s say the main keyword you are trying to rank your site for is ‘Locksmith Phoenix’. When searching for your keyword in Google with your location set to USA, or any city other than Phoenix, your site comes up as the #2 result on the page. But when you search for “Locksmith” with your location set to Phoenix, the site displays as #8 on Google’s Search Engine Results Page. What gives?

Phoenix, when entered in the search bar as with “Locksmith Phoenix”, is serving as a local identifier and showing local specific results. Searching “Locksmith” with your location set to Phoenix often pulls up the same results, but is calculated differently with the algorithm, so results can be different.

Google’s algorithm recognizes that “Locksmith” is something people generally want locally. When your location is set to Phoenix AZ, it is clear that you are searching for local services in Phoenix AZ. For this, the algorithm relies more on local algorithm factors such as citations, or business listings, and signals from local authority type sites, such as Yelp!, Yellow Pages, and MerchantCircle etc.

When your location is set to USA or any other city, it is not quite as clear – for example you could be looking for a locksmith named “The Phoenix” in NYC, so the algorithm relies a little more on other general SEO ranking factors and not as much on the local aspects.

You may notice similar differences when searching “Locksmith” or “Locksmith Phoenix” with your location set to Phoenix AZ. Both bring up local specific search results but are factored differently.

At DirectoryBug, our general rule of thumb is set the location to Phoenix AZ and just search for “Locksmith” – Use that to track rankings and if you rank for that usually everything else will fall into place.

Let’s dig a little deeper…

As the internet evolves, so does its search traffic and in turn search engine results change. If local specific results are available, meaning they have been indexed, and those indexed pages are relevant, meaning they are optimized for the search terms, then the pages will be displayed in a SERP. Over time you can influence what search terms display local specific search results along with the results displayed by providing or creating optimized indexed pages.

Let’s look at the search term “SEO Company”, for example. When using Google, your location has a direct effect on the results generated. If your location is New York, then New York SEO companies are going to show up on your results page. If you then perform a search using the name of one of those displayed New York SEO companies, you will notice they have many online business listings based in NY. Those listings are helping them rank for searches performed by users in NY.

Now if you set your location to San Francisco you will notice the same thing – San Francisco based companies with online business listings. You may also notice a Yelp page ranking in the top results. This is a big thing to look for. If a page on a site is already ranking for a search term it is fairly easy to rank a different page on that same site for that search term. Much of this is done by creating quality optimized business profiles on those sites that are already ranking for your search terms.

If you want to rank and increase traffic and sales, you should take advantage of listing your business on websites such as Yelp! and FourSquare. Listing websites such as these host a large influx of traffic and are trusted sources – if your page ranks on them, you’re already developing rapport with potential customers, as the site you’re advertising your business on is seen as an authority in the market. With a search performed on search engines including local terms, you’ll notice quickly that there are generally several online business listing websites displayed for that query’s results.

If current ranking businesses can do it, you can do it. It’s less complex than it might at first seem. Many pages that are already ranking on a business listing site may not contain updated information, are only partially filled out, or do not contain optimized information, which can be used to your advantage. As the market evolves, so do the demands of the customer – pitch to those demands and your page will rank. Irrelevant and outdated information will do anything but help promote your page. Simple.

Following these methods should put you on the path to a steady growth in your ranking, which will command the attention your business deserves. We will be updating here with more guides on understanding local search marketing and using it to your advantage. If there are any additional topics you’d like to be covered, let us know. Like DirectoryBug on Facebook, and we’ll keep you posted.