Local search become one of the Google’s main focuses on search algorithms, with the search engine launched Pigeon algorithm. This is because there were increasing demands for local information, so Google decide to improve their search system by adding local search algorithm for consumers and businesses. Users can easily notice this change when they searching for local information with the results are different.
To know how local search works, first type “coffee shops in Jakarta”, then Google will acknowledge that this is a local type of search. The results are much different from basic search, but for local search, the search engine result page is showing organic and local/map/places. The top part of result page is a list from Google Places of local 3 packs. The search engine will pick the most relevant businesses from user’s location and search query. The bottom part of the page is organic search result. What usually shown for basic search. To earn a spot in this type of search website owner need to use SEO practice.
For business or website owners, it’s important to understand and remember the difference between organic search and a place search. Because Google Place ranks businesses not the website, actually businesses don’t need an official website to appear in Google Place result. Beside local, map and place, Google also focuses on reviews when listing businesses. To get a place in organic search using SEO practice is much harder than getting a place in Google Place.
A usual problem for local businesses is that they’re could be in good position for organic ranking but not at local search. For example, when searching for “Shoes shop in Jakarta”, a website with address www.gezelle-shoes.com is showing in the organic search but the business doesn’t appear in local search. There are many reasons why this situation can happen.
For example, the business or store location is too far from user location, the business website doesn’t have NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number), The NAP data is different with what Google Place using, the data in Google Business is incomplete or in wrong category, the business doesn’t have enough ‘local citations’ including the business name & address. There are no business reviews, even though this doesn’t affect much but reviews could help to get higher spot. The business just registered in Google Place, this is because the process to include business to local search result is taking a little time. Using non-white hat SEO techniques is also a reason for this situation.
But getting a spot in local search only gives a little effect to organic search spot. Because these two searches have separate algorithm, although a top spot in organic search could help getting higher spot in local search. But when a business appears on local search result but not at organic, this is where SEO practice plays its role. Organic search requires website to generate quality backlinks, has great social shares, unique, regular and quality content and also has highly relevant pages.