Monday, October 12, 2009

The Google Local Business Center and Local Search

If you have been using Google regularly over the past few years, you've probably noticed how Google has started including Google Maps results for various search phrases. Depending on the phrase and the individual user's search history, Google determines if and where to include results from its local business center in the search results.

In general, if the search phrase is obviously local in nature such as "divorce lawyer san francisco, ca" Google will show the results from Google maps prominently. If the search phrase is more general, such as "divorce lawyer" or "divorce," the local results are pushed down or non-existent.

If your firm is not taking advantage of the free listings offered by Google, you should. Here are a couple of handy links to check out:
  • Google's Local Business Center User Guide
  • Getlisted.org. Enter in your firm name and your zip code and you'll see how your listings look at major search engines. The site also includes lots of tips and advice on how to get the most out of your listings.

With estimate that 40% of web searches are "local," local SEO is becoming more important and more complicated. While it's unlikely that submitting your firm to Google's local business center is going to be sufficient for your online marketing goals, it's a great way to get some additional free exposure for your firm.

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