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Week 6 Blog: SEO for local listings

As search engines try to custom tailor search results, location is an important factor. A user searching for “good French restaurants” might not specify the location but it can be assumed that they would prefer a restaurant 10 miles away than one 100 miles away, no matter how good that 100 mile away one is.

Google’s Local Carousel:

The local carousel rolled out in summer of 2013 for hotels and restaurants. Based off results from Local U and Ethical SEO Consulting, the carousel and map were the most popular for users to click compared to the first search result. This heat map demonstrates where users stayed:

The map result received 32% of of clicks followed by 17% of clicks going to the first carousel image and 11% of clicks on the first organic result (n=112 for the study).

Here are some tips to get on the carousel:

1. Fill out a Google+ Business page.

2. Increase the number of +1s, reviews and citations, on Google+ Business Page.  (citations are references to your business, even if there is no link to your site, all factors being equal, citations on more credible directories or sites are weighed more heavily in ranking algorithms)
3. Increase the number of +1s on URL
4. Claim your business on data aggregating sites such as Acxiom, Infogroup Express Update, Neustar Localeze, Factual etc.
5. Create/manage your listing on Yelp and Foursquare

In all of these, make sure your NAP ( Name, Address, Phone) number should all be text and be consistent among different sources.

The above take social media marketing, but there are some context/coding things to consider:
1. Have the location in the title
2. Have the location in the URL

Based on Moz data, factors relating to Google Places listings (keywords in titles and proximity of address to user location) 19.6% influence on search performance. Authority of the business domain, keywords and NAP had an almost equal influence at 18.8%. Third party sources had a 16% influence and reviews had a 10.3% influence. Read more here.

As local searches take up a larger percentage of the total searches, SEO for local listings will also become more important.


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