Google and Geographic Search

This week Google is making it easier to include your geographical location when considering search requests.  On the left hand panel of the results page is a place to enter your location preference. This can adjust the search results ordering for certain businesses.

Right now, only a very few businesses will be affected on where they show up in Google’s search results. Here is what the one blogger says:

“As the screenshot below illustrates, Google sees the service helping consumers find products, like pizza restaurants that are close to them;  not irrelevant articles, pizza recipes or advertisements for major pizza companies who don’t operate nearby.”

(http://www.optimize-interactive-blog.com/?p=158)

And here is what Google’s blog has to say:

“As time has gone by, more and more locally relevant information has come online, whether it’s local business listings or a blog from your hometown. Meanwhile, Google has become much better at presenting this locally relevant content—so it felt like the right time to make this setting easier to find.”

http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/10/more-transparency-and-control-over.html

This feature is important for businesses with a local, location-specific clientele.   It could become much more important in the future for businesses with multiple location-specific clienteles (e.g. service businesses with brick and mortar locations). For these types of businesses, it will be critical for Google to be able to make use of the business location.

So as not to be unduly influenced by a single location, Jungle Torch currently employs a large number of geographically dispersed servers to report on SERP (search engine results page) positions for the major search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo (Bing and Yahoo results available soon).

So what should businesses do to take advantage of Google’s localization efforts? If your business is one that appeals to location-specific clienteles, then you should register under Google Places. Google Places is where you can register your business information. Registration is free. If your business is listed in commercial directories (like The Yellow Pages) then Google may already have some information. As expected, Google information collects basic information about your company suitable for web users: name, email info, business URL, business type, etc. However, it also collects information that is useful for your local clientele: hours of operation and storefront photos. Google suggests that you also enter additional details, such as if parking is available and what brands of merchandise you carry.

While Google’s changes this week affect only a small number of businesses, this is undoubtedly a trend that will continue to improve the relevancy of search results.

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