Google is Encouraging Us to Build the Local Web

Some recent changes to the Local Search algo has led me to believe Google is trying to encourage us to enrichen the local web. Do that well and they will reward you with better rankings in Google Maps and that coveted 7 pack.

What is the local web? Any location based information that can be added to a map. Geo-tagged photos, videos and webcams, geo-tagged Wikipedia articles, Google My Maps, and KML mapping files are the additional layers of location based information that Google wants to see users creating so as to build a richer local experience online.

User reviews were one of the first, and heaviest, spammed factors of local business listings in an attempt to improve rankings in the 7 pack. They are far too easy to fake and game so it seems Google may have turned the dial down on that part of the algorithm. In turn they seem to have turned up the dial on the user content factors (my maps, kml files, geo-tagged images), to the point that My Maps are now beginning to get aggressively spammed in some industries.

How to Build a Rich Local Web Around Your Business?

Build some My Maps and KML files of your business location, as well create Maps of other businesses in your immediate area. Maybe there is a great coffee shop on the corner – map it. Or a couple great restaurants within a couple blocks of your location – map them. Your accountant might be located a few blocks away, or your favorite laundromat, book store, auto repair guy, sports field, whatever. Combining these locations into your maps may make your maps more authoritative, as well as make your user account more authoritative so that your My Maps have a little more weight behind them than just one single stand alone map in your account. While you’re at it leave some reviews at those places, again to build your authority.

Take photographs and videos of stuff in and around your location. Add those images to Fickr and-or Panaramio and include geo-tags of the location. Add videos to Youtube and include geo-location information. Get creative so that these things might be useful or entertaining for users, not simply there for that fact of trying to satisfy Google with more junk that might help you rank. Instead of leaving a user scratching their heads on why the heck this photo or video is even there, make it useful in some way to build trust and show value.

This appears to be the direction Google is headed with maps and local search. By turning up the dials on that part of the local ranking algorithm it seems Google is encouraging, perhaps incentivising, the creation of more rich local content.

Posted in Topic : Google Maps

8 Comments to “Google is Encouraging Us to Build the Local Web”

It would be great to see Google also expand the support for microformats to help product and service search results express more relevance.
This is great advice. I would love to see more rich media content on the businesses search results, as well as the ones that I publish.
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