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Local search engine optimization is one of Google’s most pressing priorities, and they are constantly tweaking their ranking algorithms in this area. Google employs a lot of people whose job is to forecast what its users are looking for, and the clear answer is people want results that are close to them. The rise of mobile devices has only fueled this desire, as people on the go want to know what businesses are close to them, and what they offer. It’s no surprise, then, that Google has several tools in its arsenal to help out area businesses, though they only work if a company takes advantage of them.

Why is local search engine optimization so important?

Google is getting better all the time at returning targeted results to search queries. Now, any query with a location or inquiry into a certain type of business produces nearby results. For example, if a user types in “Houston restaurants” or “New York car dealerships,” Google will analyze the user’s location and use it to produce a set of results that are close by. Any business owner knows just how powerful that can be if their company is the one getting the spotlight. But getting there doesn’t happen by chance. The businesses that are featured in Google’s targeted results have developed SEO practices and a social media presence.

Although Google is developing new tools and reworking its current ones all the time, it has settled on what is known as the Google carousel and Google local search pack. The carousel runs along the top of the results page and looks like a slideshow of business names, a photo for each entry, and their average Google review. It’s designed to demand immediate attention, so any business that lands in it will achieve better click-through rates and increased traffic. The local search pack refers to targeted results that either head or follow Google’s organic rankings. In addition to receiving prime Google real estate, the businesses that are displayed in the pack are tied to a Google map that runs alongside the entries.

How can a company ensure its local search engine optimization is well tuned?

If a company wants to come up in targeted queries, it will need to place its marketing focus on the area. A talented SEO firm can help a business narrow its focus, specifically aiding in:

  • Citation correction and management. Nothing will sink a company’s relevancy faster than inaccurate contact information or address, and discrepancies between different citations. This means keeping up with dozens of citations and ensuring they contain the company’s most current name, telephone number and address.
  • Content marketing that is area-focused. Creating interesting and relevant content is a widely accepted way to improve a site’s ranking. By adapting this content to address certain areas, Google will take notice.
  • Crafting social media and soliciting reviews. Both social media and customer reviews give a company a chance to connect with customers near them, and this will facilitate the company’s other attempts to build a presence in a certain area.

As always, though, online marketing is a complicated concept and every business has different needs. An experienced SEO firm can help uncover those needs and ensure they are fulfilled.

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