At the end of 2010, Google propelled local SEO to new heights by not only showing local results for search queries with a local modifier (e.g. [seo london]) but letting local results dominate such queries. Additionally, Google shows local results from Google Places by default, without users even adding a geographic signifier. So when you search for for [hotel] from London, you will be directed to hotels in London. This means that
there is a lot of opportunity, commotion and confusion in the SEO industry
and the webmaster community right now. Google seems to experiment a lot with these new local search results and it’s difficult to see a pattern sometimes.
Local SEO differs significantly from conventional organic SEO. First of all you have to register with Google by adding a Google Places profile, and then you have to get reviews aka citations from a set of trusted sites Google uses to rank local results. This is an almost completely new game and most people aren’t good at it yet. Furthermore, Google currently struggles to provide relevant results due to local business owners not yet wholly grasping what’s going on.
While I am not specialized in local SEO like others are, I try to keep up with the changes and read a lot about Google Places and local SEO, the result of which is that I have collected quite an impressive number of related bookmarks. Today I want to share these 36 must-read local SEO/Google Places resources from 2010/2011 with you. Take note that they are in most cases no older than one year, and that I have provided mobile and local SEO resources lists in the past as well. Consider this post to be a follow up.
While there are plenty of SEO tools out there local SEO are still rare. Nonetheless new tools have already appeared in 2011. At the same time, established services can be used for local SEO as well.
- Whitespark Local Citation Finder for Local SEO
- Local Search Toolkit | Your Local Search Headquarters
- Local Search Marketing using Foursquare | rYnoweb by Chuck Reynolds
- Mihmorandum | Local Search War Gets Hot: Facebook Joins Game | Local SEO
Google Places is the new brand of Google’s Local Business Center and Google Maps combined. It’s far more prominent in Google’s search results, either based on the query or on clicks on the menu.
- Making the Most Out of Google Places | StayOnSearch
- Google Places Ratings and How They Work
- Why Google Places Search Isn’t A Local SEO Killer Nevermore Search Marketing
- White Hat, Black Belt » Blog Archive » Google Places: Do’s and Don’ts For Your Business
- Google Places: Broken, Beta Or Just Flawed?
Sadly Google Analytics and other web analytics tools can’t by default determine which visitors came via Google Places results. There are ways to tag your local SEO campaigns though, and to track them in Google Analytics. You can also follow the Google Places stats itself.
- Tracking Traffic from Google Places in Google Analytics | SEOmoz
- How To Track Mobile Visitors In Google Analytics
Citations are the new links but, unlike links, they are really hard to get and very exclusive. Only a select few websites are used by Google for the Google Places ranking and thus you have to first identify them and then make sure real users go there and actually review your brick and mortar business. These citation-providing sites differ from country to country, so there are UK specific lists of citation sites.
- Creating a Citation Plan to Rank Higher In Google Local Listings | SiteVisibility
- 44 Local Link Building Queries for Citation Prospecting and Opportunity Analysis | Ontolo
- Local Search Ranking Factors | Local SEO Best Practices for Google, Bing, Yahoo
- Guest post: Top 10 local UK business directories compared & rated | Understanding Google Maps & Local Search
- Using Webcams as an Advanced Local SEO Citation
Within the embedding of local results right inside the organic search results, a strange mix of ranking signals has been taken into account. To rank in Google Places you have to combine the conventional SEO techniques with almost completely different methods of optimization.
- Geolocation of Tweets Affects the Rankings in Local Google | Shark SEO
- Does Including A Physical Address On Your Website Help Rankings?
- Google Maps Optimization: 10 Likely Elements of Google’s Algorithm
- Fueling Your Local SEO With Citations | Search Marketing Weekly
‘How To’ articles
Understanding local SEO and Google Places results is one thing, but the actual steps to be undertaken, the websites where you can get citations and how to improve your Google Places listing have to be known as well in order to optimise your local business listing.
- How to rank higher in Google Places / Local in the UK
- 5 Ways To Rank Better TODAY In The Localized SERPs | SEO.com
- 35 Local Link Opportunities You Missed | Seer Interactive SEO Blog
- 5 Ways to Optimize Google Places for Local & Mobile Search Marketing
- Local SEO Primer: How To Rank Higher In Google Place Search
- Learning Local SEO and Local Search Optimization | Work.com
- SEOmoz | One Dead Simple Tactic for Better Rankings in Google Local
Miscellaneous must-read resources
The recent changes in both display and reach of local results on Google have sparked a number of reactions in the SEO blogosphere. Most people agree that the new Google Places integration is a game changer. These postings explain the changes, show the ramifications and attempt to predict the future of local SEO.
- Local Search Marketing with David Mihm | Search Marketing Weekly
- Google Local SEO & The Future of Search | SEO Book.com
- Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Finding Places on the Web: Rich …
- New Integrated Google Local A Game Changer
- Why Local SEO is Harder Than SEOs Think
- Google Places SEO: Lessons Learned from Rank Correlation Data | SEOmoz
- New Statistics Illustrate Local Search Optimization’s Importance
- Mihmorandum | A New Kind of Local Search Result: The “O-Pack”? | Google
- Local SEO Experiment – Google’s Change Location | SEOmoz
- When Local SEO is not Local – The Regional Factor | Search Engine Journal