The evolution of local search engine optimisation services started a few years ago. After years of using vague search phrases people started to evolve and use more specific keywords. Especially location related keywords started to be very common among Google, Yahoo and Bing users. First came the odd local Google listing embedded in the SERPS and later came the full local Google map embedded into the search results. Google realised after years of experiments that people need directions and guidance in regards of where to go. The major search engine evolved, launching Google Maps and StreetView, the technology allowing users to walk down the street like it’s right in front of you. Google Places later turned into Google+ Local and regional businesses were added. Apart from the business name, address and unbiased reviews, not much additional information was provided. However, it’s very simple to take control of your Google+ Local listings and turn it into a lead generating machine. Because nothing is more powerful than focused Internet users that know exactly what they are looking.
The evolution of how people search in Google
People started to search very generic and initially often went to sites and directories to find stuff. Evolutionary processes and so does Google search behavior.
With millions of new websites launched every month, website diversity evolved and people became more specific. Instead of just searching for a ‘photographer’, they started searching for ‘wedding photographers’ and ‘portrait photographer’. Slightly more specific phrases with other words. After a while, smart and forward-looking search engine optimisers understood the importance of being specific. Instead of just portrait photographer, they might add ‘black and white portrait photographer’ or ‘Indian wedding photographer’ (example, if that is your speciality).
Now we have reached the next level of evolution in search engine optimisation; you need to add geographic location in addition to become really specific. Google queries can undeniably be very long, such as ‘documentary style wedding photographer in London’, but they are very specific and customers searching like this are often ready to buy. That’s what you want. The exceptions are smartphone and tablet users which don’t always have to add the location. Google still often understand what they are looking for, assuming they want a local service provider.
The evolution of presenting search results
Having the most evolved online maps system in the world it was natural for Google to implement this into normal search results when people are likely to appreciate it. By presenting map results you get a quick answer to your question and can decide whether you want to visit the local Google+ page (getting images and directions) or go directly to the website. With a map in front of you it’s easy to compare businesses around and you can quickly see how to get there and how it looks like (IF they have images and a virtual tour present).
So, how to get started with local search engine optimisation? What do you have to do in order to be found in the local search results?
Images, the missing link?
The search engine result pages (SERPS) have changed dramatically over the last few years and so has the search experience. A few years ago you were usually directed to a company website but after 2012 images started to play a bigger role. Even if you rank well in Google and don’t have any nice images of your premises, your business doesn’t look very inviting in the Google maps results.
Pretend a potential customer compares your restaurant with another one and you don’t have any nice images – where do you think they would go? This is not only true for restaurants; we’re confident many other businesses lose sales because of poor images on their Google+ page (example).
The latest evolution in search is the StreetView Inside – where users can experience StreetView in shops and premises around the world. It’s currently rolling out and companies like 360 Photographer Limited can help you to be found. Virtual tours for Google+ Local can only be taken by a Google trusted photographer. Virtual tours can now show up on your Google+ page and can be seen from Google search results and Google Maps.
After you have all the images and StreetView Inside, it’s time to focus on link building and getting more reviews from happy customers. Without those two essential elements you’re not likely to be found at the top of Google on the first page.
Part of local SEO can be done free
If you’re handy and have some time over you can add some good looking images yourself. You can also add a website to the Google+ listing and update the description text, while putting your business in specific Google map categories related to your business. Be found where it matters; what are you waiting for?
Get Local SEO Today!
Why even consider old fashioned search engine optimisation services? Talk with SEO Specialist Limited today about how your marketing methods can be updated to fit the 21st century. Call us at 0800 157 7736 (freephone) or 07778 526 210 (mobile), alternatively use the contact form and we’ll come back to you.