Local Search

Search engine optimization has become harder by the day as Google change its ranking criteria. Local SEO managers are facing an especially tough time trying to figure out ways to get the biggest hits for their companies and clients.

It used to be a lot easier. Define the correct keywords is just one focus to get your website ranked high in the search engines. Now, you have to localize your efforts to the region you wish to target on. If you ask for the most important factors for local search ranking, it is going to be dependent on many things…

1. Business Address in City of Search. The first consideration when it comes to local search ranking is the address of the company. Having an address located in the city being searched largely affects local rankings. Google Places has become an intelligent inspector of addresses, and a business website will rank higher in a local search if the address provided in the city being searched.

2. Proper Business Categories. The category of business matters and it is important to categorize your business correctly so that it does not get listed in other unrelated searches. This is a very important factor! Use proper keywords in custom categories.

3. Keyword in Business Title.

However, if you would like to strengthen your ranking in Google, it will be fantastic if your business name includes your keyword. If you are in a bakery business, it will be good to include the word ‘bakery’ in your business name as it will help with your Google ranking. But then again, your business name is a very commercial choice which should not only take into consideration search engine ranking. It is necessary to ensure that the business name that you choose is one that will give you the creativity and flexibility to thrive.

4. Volume of Citations.

One of the most time-consuming but rewarding SEO methodology is having other sites mention your products & services, giving the site more credibility. Google relies heavily on such mentions and has gone a step further by determining whether the mentions are positive or negative remarks about a business. Apparently, Google decided to take into consideration businesses with good customer service and high customer satisfaction when it comes to ranking a business website. This means companies must find ways to improve on customer service so that the money they spend on SEO services will not go down the drain because of any bad mention from unhappy customers.

5. Complete Google Places Profile. Making sure your listings are claimed with complete information and verified is crucial. This will put your business on Google Map, and only valid companies will be able to do this. Google has a way to verify your business existence, by phone or by postcard. This is probably Google’s way to prevent spamming and false businesses from cheating the general public.

6. Consistent Business Info. Your business information should be consistent across the board. If there are mentions about your company on other sites, it should carry the same contact information as your own site instead of having different information which may seem, to Google, a spam and derogatory information about your business.

7. Reviews and Rating.

Again, Google reminds us about the quality of our business, especially in customer satisfaction, when it comes to ranking high in the search engine. Google Maps is not just a search engine, but a recommendation engine. It recommends the most interesting places to visit, the best restaurants to dine in and a lot of other businesses for the convenience of the public, especially for a tourist. For this simple reason, Google will wish to highlight the best venues on its map so that web users will trust the convenience that Google tries to deliver with its map function. Hence, it also checks on the credibility of the business and follows reviewers recommendations closely.

8. Quality of Incoming Links to Website. Incoming links are the important factors in SEO. Quality is always important than quantity. If inbound links are local in nature, they can have a positive effect on local rankings.

9. My Map.

Those who have a Google account and familiar with its customized “My Map” function will probably know that users may tag a particular business on the Google Map for a familiar and repetitive reference of the venue. It is probably out of your control, but it does help if more people are tagging your company location especially if you are in a retail business. There may also be other geotagging ways, such as some tours and travels sites that may include a map that can be indexed by Google. This is, again, Google’s interest in the public sentiments to consider a site for higher ranking in its search engine.

10. Other SEO Factors. While all the “new” Google search engine ranking criteria are useful to help a site rank higher in this search engine, one must never neglect some of the traditional SEO factors such as age of the Place page, age of the website domain and PR of the website. These factors still play vital importance to the ranking of a page.

Based on the 10 factors above, it is obvious that Google is putting pressure on businesses so that it may keep its customers coming back to the search engine. The shocking revelation that Facebook has become the King of the web may have triggered Google’s intention to further improve on its users’ experience. Such improvements will also be beneficial to the public, and to businesses who are playing fairly in the World Wide Web.

While advertisers take the trouble to use all types of analysis tools searching for the right keywords to ensure that their sites get a high ranking in Google, another customer-oriented product has been created to measure the number of Internet users based on geographical region. The idea came directly from a market leader in measuring the digital world, comScore, Inc.

The company which originated in Reston, Virginia, was founded in August 1999. Since then, its founders had thought of the idea of creating a huge consumer panel online to track online commerce. The company is not without some media exposure in the market, especially when the Internet published a report that showed comScore and Nielsen revealed the news about Google losing its favour to Facebook with users spending more time in Facebook surpassing Google since March 2010.

The public listed company with a NASDAQ code of SCOR, expanded its services to Malaysia for the first time in October 2010. Such segmentation services give advertisers, publishers and agencies the demographic which is valuable for branding and product positioning purposes.

An August 2010 study revealed that the Central region of Peninsular Malaysia, including Selangor, capital city Kuala Lumpur and Negeri Sembilan have the most Internet users.

The study also revealed the usage habit of the different states in Malaysia. Sabah users are more likely to visit a travel site and Sarawak users are biased towards gambling sites. Peninsular Malaysia Internet users utilize the Internet for news, but all areas use the Internet for social networking.

Being a country with users spending a lot of time on Facebook, this revelation is not surprising at all. According to the Global Market Monitor Report by eMarketer.com, Malaysia sits among the top ten countries with the highest growth of Facebook usage in the world, together with the US, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, Italy, India, Mexico, Spain and Argentina.

What is the significance to the statistics provided by comScore about the Internet usage in Malaysia?

The results may be a tell-tale of how many users are on the Internet based on the different states, but did not seem to compare it with the total population in the different states, and neither did it tell how many people do have access to a computer and the Internet.

The study also excludes visitation from public computers such as those at the Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs. It is also possible that the statistics excluded tabloid devices such as the iPhone or Galaxy.

Is this a reliable statistics that will trigger the interests of experienced corporations, enough for them to table a budget to purchase such a report?

Seems unlikely so, because ultimately companies will be looking at more than just how many Internet users are there to reduce their odds for wrong positioning. Ultimately, comScore will need to give more information to companies if they wish to commercialize their research findings.

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Are you still paying thousand of dollars each year to yellow pages or business directory? Do you want to get your business to the Google top 10 search results fast? Here’s a tip that could potentially get you listed in Google’s top listings overnight. Do you realize Google Maps are showing up in the search […]

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