Why You Are Failing at Local Search

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In spending just the last day and a half with the team here at RevLocal, it’s become obvious to me why so many people fail at Local Search (if they’ve even tried it) is for one reason:

It’s obscenely time-consuming.

In addition to that, even if you spend the time figuring it out and then going to do all the manual work (and trust me, there’s a ton) – Google is constantly changing the rules, and therefore the landscape of who is getting found and why.

From your location to your reviews to your business name itself – there are so many factors that you can’t change or manipulate to be more attractive to El Goog – which is a big reason Google has structured its algorithm the way it has.

Linda Buquet on the Local Search Forum points out another wildcard:

“Google+ Local is buggy and extremely complicated to work with. PLUS there are tons of minefields to dodge that can cause you to be completely wiped off the face of Google or suspended – sometimes even if you are totally in compliance.”

Over lunch today, some of RevLocal’s clients here in Columbus came in to see a presentation on leveraging Google from Google themselves. There are several levers you can pull to impact the factors above.

To over-simplify just a little, the top three factors that the Search Engine uses to rank you are:

1. Location

At first, one might think there’s nothing that can be done here – but in reality, Google uses over 250 different business directories and databases to correlate your address information. If those addresses differ in any way (“W.” instead of “West” or “St.” instead of “Street” for example), that information will appear as a collision to Google and your listing will lose relevance.

2. Relevance

Does your business provide what the searcher is looking for? Google wants to do ONE THING for the searcher: Give the right answer. Are you the right answer to their question?

3. Prominence

What is the relative electronic prominence of your business compared to the other relevant businesses in the area? Where have you been mentioned in the press? What do your reviews look like? Do you have photos and videos where the Search Engine can easily find them and give you credit for them?

Their presentation was extremely enlightening for me and I thought I would share some of the nuggets they laid out. Feel free to share with me if you make some good use of them!

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