What is localized search?
Localized search refers to the ability to advertise using geo-location information, such as a business listing on Google Places (formerly Google Maps), or other geo-location based services.
Why is localized search important to a business?
According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches on Google are related to location. According to HitWise in December of 2009, the percentage of one word search queries people were typing into Google was 24.34%. This was also around the same time that Google rolled out a “more local” version of their algorithm, getting rid of the need for people to type in their location (i.e. lawyers vancouver). Instead, the new algorithm meant people could now type in “lawyers” and based on their IP address, Google would now provide localized search results of law firms in that IPs area. The localized search results are Google Places listings that contain all of the required information that Google needs in order to serve a Places listing that is relevant to an IP address.
What is the required information needed by Google for a Places Listing?
1. Claim your Places Listing. This gives you, the business owner, control over the information about the business within the Places listing and prevents incorrect business data from being added.
2. Category and Keywords. Ensure that the correct business category is selected within your listing, and that your company description includes the most relevant keyphrase for which you wish to rank for in Google.
3. Places Labels. These are a feature of Google Maps that show outside of the Places listing and within the actual Maps interface. These are determined algorithmically based on a large number of factors, however one of the factors Google discloses is the richness of the content associated with the business listing. You can improve the changes that your business listing will receive a Places label if you claim it in Google Places.
4. Keep your listing up-to-date. Because Google Places rankings are based on an algorithm that takes a wide range of factors into account, ensuring your listing is up to date as possible is one of the most effective ways to ensure the best possible ranking.
5. Yellow Pages. Ensure your business has a Yellow Pages listing. Google has stated in numerous blog posts and sources that it uses business data from Yellow Page directories to verify business information. If for any reason the information supplied within the Places listing is found to be less than trustworthy, this is what Google will rely upon for verification.
6. Reviews. One of the best practices Google recommends using when creating and optimizing a Google Places listing are reviews. Google uses reviews and feedback to improve search results. Encourage your customers to blog or provide a review about your business.
Why is localized search beneficial for Lawyers?
Besides referral and word-of-mouth business, the law firm business model is primarily localized. With 1 in 5 searches taking place in Google being relevant to a location, having an optimized Google Places listing with up-to-date business information will not only increase web rankings, it will make it easier for potential clients to find your firm online.
Contact 6S Marketing to find out more about how we can help you optimize your Google Places listing.