Trying to get a handle on exactly what makes local search results tick, especially Google's search results, is akin to looking for Bigfoot atop a unicorn. No one outside of Google really knows how their algorithm functions and they ain't talkin'. That leaves the rest of us to spend a lot of time testing and refining, and devising tools and processes aimed at getting the best search rankings possible. Those tools and processes are in a continuous state of flux.
How to Thrive in Local Search
Success in local search is partly the product of careful search engine optimization of owned web properties and partly the careful management and nurturing of your most important social channels. SEO broadly refers to the process of getting your website, and other properties in your control, ranked higher by the search engine algorithms, with a primary emphasis on Google, the 800-pound gorilla on the digital playing field. As nearly all search engines sell sponsored ad space, it’s important to note that the local search results we're after are the placements you get for free. Accomplishing this is a multidimensional undertaking.
Search Engine Optimization and Keyword Research
The goal of search engine optimization is to ensure that your website appeals to search engine crawlers, or “bots.” The search engine bots will “crawl” your site and take note of its content, categorizing it in a way that will allow it to show up in the appropriate SERPs (search engine results pages) when certain keywords are entered into a local search browser.
Search engine optimization is achieved through a wide variety of methods. Most webmasters and SEO professionals will focus on proper keyword research, clarity in the setup of your website's headers, tags, file names and descriptions, as well as external backlinking, internal cross linking, and quality content creation.
While each search engine uses its own algorithm for determining the ranking of every page that is indexed, it is possible to increase your rankings by making your site informative and visible via both on-page and off-page techniques. Sites that are designed with ease-of-use and quality information in mind tend to do better than those built sloppily and without a solid plan.
Local Search Strategies Demand Caution
The good old days of planting hundreds of cheap backlinks to a website and watching it soar to the top of the search listings are long since past. These same techniques, which worked so well for so long, can cause your website to be seriously penalized, even completely delisted, by the search engine algorithms if deployed today. Google, Yahoo, Bing and others all have clearly defined terms of service which outline which kinds of “optimization” are acceptable and which are not. Tactics and strategies have had to evolve in order to avoid crossing those clearly delineated lines. Social Media Toolworks will never knowingly employ strategies that may endanger your website, violate any known terms of service, or tarnish your company's brand or public image in any way.
|“I've worked with website managers and social media companies before, but never understood the power of the electronic world until David Perkins came into the fold. Dave is a hands-on, roll up the shirt sleeves workforce that takes control of the situation and does whatever it takes to make it happen. He is meticulous, thorough, incredibly smart, and a super nice guy, to boot. There's no one like him out there, and even though I'm a bit reluctant to share him, honor compels me to give him my utmost recommendation. Give Dave twenty minutes of your time, and you will instantly see what I mean.”|
|Robert Mandell , The Mandell Law Firm|