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by Graeme Benge on 26th September 2012
Hi. I’m Graeme Benge, Digital Marketing Executive here at Koozai, and today I’m going to be talking to you about geo-rankings. In the past year or so it has become very clear that Google is looking to incorporate local elements into their search engine results to make the results better for specific searches. It’s quite hard being a search engine as you don’t always know what the searcher is particularly intending when they enter a search term.
You have the lazy searchers who just put in a keyword and hope for the best in terms of what search results you return. You have the helpful searcher that will give you the keyword plus a location, and then you might have the slightly awkward searcher who may well for instance be looking for a pizza restaurant in London but have actually executed their search in Southampton.
So as a result, it’s become a little bit more complicated for search engines to hit that particular goal of placing more relevant results to those types of searches. But they have been working hard behind the scenes to do this and make results even more relevant.
Linkdex recently published a study looking at 2000 keywords across 10 locations in the UK and found some quite interesting results. The first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that for a site that ranks number 1 in a particular location for a keyword, in 67% of the times they were ranked in a different position elsewhere in the country, and the variance of the position can be up to 4 places. So as a result, what that means is now there isn’t just one front page of Google to rank for a keyword. There are now countless pages.
So I think for me this throws up an opportunity for small and medium size businesses to really target their location or the places where they have strength and an audience to take on the big guys at their own game, because they can’t be all things to all men in all places.
In terms of where we would start, the first things I would look at would be Google Analytics and the audience demograph tab so that I can find out where a particular site’s concentration of visitors comes from. I would then cross reference that with research done by Google Insights for Search so that you get a broader picture of where searches for a particular keyword come from. That should then short list you locations to optimise your site for.
I’ll move now into look at on page adjustments. Here I would look at the basics; “keyword + location” and incorporating that where it fits and is natural in the content on page, and I would be mindful of regional variations to give that authenticity and obviously looking at the title tags and the headers as well.
I’d also look at using the schema markup for postal address there as well, and then once all those changes have taken place, make sure the XML sitemap has been updated if there are adjustments there to be made so that when Google indexes your site, you’ve given as much of a chance to your site to be flagged up as relevant for a particular search at a particular location as you can.
Next after that, I’d move off page. Here I would be looking at Google+. Google has made it plainly aware that Google+ at some point is going to have a heavy or a larger part in search engine rankings now, and Google+ local businesses would be a great place to get yourself set up with an optimised profile there.
I’d then look at regionalised service or professional business directories as well and incorporate a profile there, which is obviously help optimised back for your site but also your location as well. And then I would look at sites that perform very well in your area where you can build a relationship, such as local newspapers.
So those are my findings with regards to geo-rankings. For more information, please visit Koozai.com or the social profiles at the bottom of the screen. Thank you very much.