Know Your Local Market to Corner the Market

Search engine optimization has always focused largely on providing accurate information. Google has recently started throwing something new into the equation. The search engine giant is now focusing largely on location. This factors in at the top of the list now in how Google is choosing what options to display to a searcher. You can use this tidbit of information to help you corner the market for your business – if you learn how to use this to your advantage.

Location, location, location

Just like real estate, Google is placing its emphasis on location, location, location. This is one factor that is helping businesses that aren’t even trying to rank higher rank higher. Google seems to think that people only want to deal with local companies. While this might be true for some searches, such as plumbers and service providers, it doesn’t ring true across all searches.

Some searches, such as one for sellers of goods that are based online, shouldn’t matter in terms of location. But, Google is still keeping the focus on location. Your proximity to a searcher’s Google location is what is going to matter here. You might wonder whether you can do anything about this.

Google’s focus on proximity to the searcher is likely a pull for more ad revenue. The search engine giant wants businesses to pay to come up on these searches. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy ads.

Helping your search engine result placement

When it comes to trying to improve how your business fares in these searches, you have to understand some of the basic concepts about searches. One of these is how searches are performed. A searcher can search for a geographically based term or for a generic term. A geographically based term, such as “Houston plumber,” tells Google that the searcher wants to find only plumbers in Houston. In this instance, Google isn’t going to perform a proximity-based search. Instead, it is going to perform a geo-based search because the searcher already said where they need to find a plumber.

The proximity factor comes into the picture when the searcher doesn’t include geographical information in the search. In this case, a person who searches “plumber” would come up with results based on how close a business is to where Google thinks the searcher is. Even businesses that don’t have websites would be included in these results. Google bases the results strictly on distance from the searcher to the business.

Proximity results are often smaller pools of results

Google basing the results on proximity means that searchers are sometimes presented with a much smaller pool of results. It isn’t known what the maximum distance is for Google to return results for these searches. If there are only one or two close options, Google will likely only show these. If there aren’t any close options, Google might cast a wider net for the searcher.

Even though you can’t manipulate a proximity search, you can boost your web presence so that you rank higher on the list not taking proximity into account. This means you could optimize your Houston plumbing site for people in the city. You could include specific geographical information that lets Google know you cater to people in the city of Houston and the surrounding areas so that your business is more likely to show up in search results, even when the searcher doesn’t include geographical information in the search. As you do this, your geographical search ranking is likely going to increase, so you are actually killing two birds with one stone.

Improving geographical location markers

Improving geographical location markers means more than just listing cities in a sentence. For example, “We are a plumbing company serving Harris County, Texas, including Houston, Pasadena, Spring, Clear Lake, Baytown and surrounding area.” isn’t going to do what you need it to do. Instead, you need to include more information about the areas. Touch on some local landmarks. Include information about the area. A plumber might include information about the rainy season so that they can use that information to encourage visitors to check their septic tanks before the start of the season. A gutter company could remind people that they need to have their gutters cleaned before the rainy months.

You should include as much local information on your website as possible. If you are a company that ships across the country, find out your largest markets or decide where you want your newer customers to come from. Focus on the geographical information for each place and give each place its own website. You might even need to grab a mailing address for each target location so that you can include those and let Google use that information. All of this provides you with more opportunities for Google to recognize your geographical reach and use that information for search engine placement.

Source: https://moz.com/blog/proximity-to-searcher-is-new-top-local-search-ranking-factor