Why local search is so important? 40% of queries have local intent. 5% use the city & state name; 2% use informal terms like neighborhoods; .5% use zip codes.
100 Million unique visitors per month search Yahoo with local intent…1/2 billion search Google monthly with local intent.
Local search algorithms drive mobile results (they already do with more sophisticated devices).
The old local search…10 Google links…traditional SEO.
1/2008: 10 pack appeared in Google. Default #1 (or #4) results for every keyword & city or state search. Certain searches (e.g. “bars”), Google will ask for local intent. Google is asking people to enter their zip code for non-specific searches and they show local results to signed in users by default. Danny Sullivan speculated that local algorithms will completely replace organic algorithms within a couple of years. Local results are driven by a completely different algorithm than the organic results.
Vocabulary: “10 Pack”, “3 Pack”, “Authoritative 1 Box”.
Yahoo search results: Mostly the same in Google but no 10-packs.
Local Search Ranking Factors Survey: An overall low level of agreement.
Top positive factors:
1) General importance of claiming local business listing
2) LBL address in city of search.
3) Proper categorization of LBL
4) Product / Service Keywords in LBL title
5) Proximity to Centroid.
6) Validation with Third-Party Providers. Citations can help you rank better in the local algorithms, do not necessarily include a link. Business name needs to be consistent. Citations: Web pages tab in their local listing is a good approximation. Get citations in directories, mine competitors citations, see what sites rank well for your search terms organically.
Also, hyperlocal blogging (the next big thing in local, high relevance, can also lead to links, use Twitter search to network with other tech-savvy local businesses.
“Cracking the code” (Mike Blumenthal): Key Findings: Distance to centroid really matters when very little other data exists. Citation total and business title were also significant predictive factors. Volume of reviews had marginal importance. TBD: Citation authority, traditional SEO techniques like anchor text and on-page factors.
Negative factors: Multiple LBL’s with same address, same phone or same business name. Negative customer reviews. Associating a 800 number with LBL. Listing multiple addresses on website. More confusing than spammy.
Future of Local Search: Google seems to be shifting. “On-listing” factors like proximity to centroid and keywords in business title seem to be diminishing in importance. Off-listing factors seem to matter more (Citations, UGC, Reviews). Less vulnerable to spam. Might not be a shift in the algorithm…data sets are becoming better.