Google recently announced a list of 40 search quality changes and there is an important one that relates to local search results and how they will be showing results for local searches from now on. They called it ‘venice’ and it involves showing you specific business results for a keyword rather than just general information.
For example I live in Luton and when I type in “Estate Agents” without using my location it brings up all the local estate agents in Luton if a blog/website has optimised themselves in that way, so as long as you have the words “Estate Agents in Luton” in your title text and in some of your content your site will show up in the results.
Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal. Source : Official Google Search Blog
What that means in plain English is someone searching will receive organic search results based on their location (and assuming they have their location turned on and set to their local area) rather than give them general results about estate agents.
What makes it VERY important to pay attention to is the fact that right now these results are appearing ABOVE the Google local business places page. So up come everyone who is optimised for the keyword and then come the places results.
You may be writing blog posts that will help you rank for this new way to search by including your expertise and area in a blog post as well as on the main areas of your site. If you haven’t here are a few examples for you - I have written blog titles that are structured like this…
“Richmond personal trainer Jane Smith explains how to use a TRX system”
“Are you searching for a personal trainer in Richmond?” (always worth writing a blog post along those lines)
“Need a cab firm in Wembley to take you to Heathrow Airport?”
These types of blog posts are focused less on providing information about how you help and more on selling your business directly and there is nothing wrong with writing the occassional blog post like this as long as it isn’t often. I have mentioned the 80 / 20% rule before – focusing on 20% of what you write being self-promotion gives you some room to write blog posts that will fit in with the ‘venice’ local search results update.
The search engines are the ‘middle man’ – they are the link between what you write and what someone is searching for in a local area so make it easy for them to connect you to the person searching by adding blog posts which focus specifically on your local area and/or your expertise so whether someone types in….
“Electrican in Islington” or “Electrician” and they are sat at a computer in Islington you give yourself the best possible chance to show up in the search results.
UK LOCAL SEARCH NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
It is a new change so isn’t 100% accurate all the time. I did a search for a car mechanic and received information on a magazine and the usual wikipedia information that shows up in searches but even they appeared above the Google Places pages which came next. So there is an opportunity for a few savvy local business owners to optimise their blog so they can show up above the pages.
Generally in the UK local search results are not always 100% accurate, which is why getting your business blog ready now for when they are will pay off in the long run. A clear example is searching for a personal trainer in Clapham bought up Google Places pages for personal trainers in Bedfordshire. At first I thought this was because I live in Luton and it showed up that way but my client from his location in Central London did a search and the results were the same. However, the results AFTER those incorrect ones were all based in Clapham, which is why having your own business blog wins again over just relying on free tools like your Places page.
If you are looking to start a business blog take a look at our platform. We work with UK business owners and provide all the local search optimisation they need to be found within their local area and for their expertise. You can call me (Diane) on 020 8424 4339 or click here to complete the enquiry form and I will call you back.