December 10, 2008

Google pushes Local on UK search

by Brian Turner

Just noticed Google trying to push local search on Google UK SERPS:

I’ve read about Google pushing this before on Google.com, but only just seen this in action on Google UK.

While a number of businesses may serve local markets, this tends to only really apply to the smallest SME’s, with larger SME’s looking for a national or even international presence.

Of course, there are different ways you can try and target local results:

1. Dedicate local sections of your site with local contact information

Sounds like content spamming, but I’ve seen some companies set up dedicated sections of their site up in Welsh and Gaelic – how much further is it to go to add local contact details?

2. Use Google Maps

Even if you run a national or larger target business, it’s worth ensuring you’re listed on Google Maps. Google Maps is reported to have been susceptible to manipulation, but it’s probably not in your interest to spam in a long-term strategy,

3. Use a registered address

Something worth considering is to buy into mail-forwarding services, which will provide you with an address in a key location. This is especially useful for companies with a lot of remote working or else internet-based in the middle of nowhere, and allows them to register a presence in one or more conurbations for registration purposes. (Don’t have important mail sent there unless you know it’s a reliable long-term service, though!)

Specific location signals appear to include:

1. Contact details on website
2. WHOIS
3. Google Maps info
4. Yellow Pages location info
5. Any signal whatsoever that provides a location

The local search market is one that has loomed large for years but has yet to reach its potential, but Google seems very keen to push this, both via mobile devices on Android, as well as internet-based search.

While local search may be especially useful in a large and fragmented country such as the USA, I’m personally not convinced any success over there will translate well over here – Britain is smaller than many individual US states, so the issue of localisation isn’t necessarily so piqued.

However, the internet remains dominated by US companies driven by US thinking (for example, you need to SEO in US English not British English), so no doubt whether it works here or not, expect to see it pushed further onto us.

Simply make whatever preparations you need – it is coming.

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Story link: Google pushes Local on UK search

 

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