Google Local Search

by Gary on August 27, 2007

in Local Search

The local search feature of Google uses Google Maps to display the links and other details of local businesses. Previously the feature used to appear as a clickable link but recently Google made it an integral part of search results. The narrower is the search term, the better is the result. For instance, if you are listed under web designing services in Peterborough then your link will appear at the top along with a map of your area, in case someone looks for “web design services peterborough”.

Does Google local search help you as an online marketer?

It definitely does. Lots of people prefer to hire local service providers or buy from local vendors, but instead of scouring the streets they look for them on the Internet. It is so much easier to log on to Google and simply search for “web design services Peterborough” rather than flipping through the pages of a directory and then calling various designers in Peterborough. Your listing appears with the map of your area and a balloon graphic indicating your exact location, and if you have provided some photographs the searches can go through them too.

How do you appear in Google Local Search?

Getting listed in Google local search is not a crawler or a spider thing. You have to enter your business details on the Google Local Business Center page. After that Google will send you a confirmation or activation code by snail mail (so make sure you enter your address correctly). You have to log into your local business center section and enter the code there. Once it is verified, Google takes around 6 weeks to add your listing.

You can also appear on Google local search by signing up for Google AdWords and then creating a campaign specifically targeted towards your geographic area. Once you do that, your link appears only when people search for your service in that particular area.

Does Google Local Search Affect Your SEO?

In some way yes it does. Some SEO experts say that when the local ads or links appear along with the map they take up space of three links that could have appeared there. It means if the local ads/links show up then the last three links on the search results page are pushed to the second page, significantly affecting your exposure. But I don’t think it is a big problem if your business is not limited to your local market. The local links only appear when people are specifically searching within the locality, otherwise they don’t appear.

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