google local

Why Google+ Local is vital for offline businesses

A friend of mine recently set up a business as a sports massage therapist and asked if I could give him some tips on digital marketing.

Aside from setting up social profiles and optimising his website, I suggested that one of the most important things he could do was to setup a Google+ business page.

His is obviously a small business and one that only operates in his local area, so would benefit hugely from having a decent presence in local search results.

Having imparted these brilliant words of wisdom it then struck me that my knowledge of Google+ Local is a bit shaky.

So, in honour of my good friend this blog post explains the reasons why every business should be on Google+ Local, and gives some advice on how to setup a page…

What is local SEO and why do you need it?

Local SEO is becoming one of the essential components to every business and brand that wants long-term success across search engines.

This comes from our latest Search Engine Optimisation Best Practice Guide, an in-depth report that’s invaluable for anybody working in digital marketing, looking to appoint an SEO agency, or simply trying to secure better search engine rankings.

Recently I covered some of the basic skills that all SEO beginners need to know however I didn’t include information on ‘local SEO’.

Here I’ll be rectifying that with a brief guide to what local SEO means and how you can use it to drive online searchers to your offline business.

Yelp inks deal for Bing Local Search

When Google announced that it was acquiring Zagat, it looked problematic. After all, Zagat was a publisher struggling to stay relevant in the digital age and Google was the world’s biggest search engine. The potential conflicts the deal could create were huge.

One of the companies likely to have been most concerned with the acquisition was Yelp. Along with other popular user-generated reviews sites, it has arguably played a key role in Zagat’s woes. With Google behind it, would the Mountain View-based company push Zagat content at the expense of a company like Yelp, which it once reportedly looked to buy?

Sneaky ways to top Google’s local listings

You don’t have to be an SEO geek to have noticed that over the last six months or so, whenever you search for a phrase with a location in it, Google shows maps with local listings.

What you might not have realised is that these results are sorted and sequenced by a different and far more basic algorithm than the main search index.

Not surprisingly given the simplicity of these system and prevalence of the listings, some cheeky beggars have been using some ingenious ways of boosting their rankings on Google Maps.

Google gets more local & more mobile

google locationGoogle Places. That’s the new name of Google’s Local Business Center. The search giant has rolled out a host of new features for local advertisers, including a mobile dimension that could help push QR codes into the mainstream.