Have you seen the recent changes to Google’s search results?
They’re always making changes, but over the last year or so they’ve really been focusing on local businesses.
It seems that Google is feeling the pressure from its users to provide relevant local search results. The increase in smartphone use probably is part of the reason, but people are also using Google as a modern day directory to find things to do, places to eat and places to visit.
Check out this search results page:
If you’re looking for a burger in Minneapolis or in any other city you’re going to get a page that looks like this.
You’ll get the same type of thing if you’re looking for other local businesses. Anything from restaurants to markets to theaters and more are benefiting from the local search movement.
What Does This Mean For Local Businesses?
Local businesses have a lot to gain from the change in the way people are searching and the ways Google is changing the results.
The first things to do to your website are to include your address and phone number. Make it easy for people to find this information. You can start by putting it on your contact page, but if you have a lot of customers that want to visit your location it would make sense to put your address on the homepage or in the header or footer so it’s on every page.
Setup your Google Places and Google+ accounts. This will allow Google to verify your location so they can show it in the search results like you see above.
Those are the first steps to making sure your local business benefits from local SEO, but there is even more and this time it’s beneficial if you have a local business blog.
General Searches Are Now Local Searches
Business owners have came to Ghost Blog Writers before asking if it made sense for their local business to have a blog. Their concern makes sense because when we think of Google we think of it as being global.
For local businesses it doesn’t make sense to reach people in other countries. If you’re selling lunch in Minneapolis there is no reason to write a great blog post and have people in Australia read it. Although I guess they might visit someday and you’re doing something great by providing them with interesting and useful content.
But Google has been getting better at showing results based on where people are searching from on their computing devices like a smartphone or even computer.
As Google improves in this area you’ll start to see local businesses with blogs showing up for more general searches.
When you search for something like “Dog Food Tips” on Google you’ll begin seeing local results.
Google understands that if you’re searching for things like “Dog Food Tips” that you’re probably going to want to buy the dog food and you need a local store to do that unless you’re getting it delivered, which is another topic.
Even something like “Dog Care Tips” could bring up local vets that have blogs with posts that cover the “tips” people want to read about.
To prepare your business for the increase in local SEO you can start a blog for your local business. It’s an area that underutilized right now and if you start building your content and online reputation you’ll stand to gain traffic from more general terms in the future.
Image: Natalie Maynor