So how do you use Hyper Local Search to Find Higher Quality Customers and as a by-product rank better too?
Businesses that rank well on organic Google Search do two things VERY well.
1) They pay attention to the first page of results
2) They look at WHY the first page of results is structured as it is.
But you’re probably thinking:
“Meh, I haven’t got time for all that tech jargon nonsense…”
But here’s some info that is not only going to help but also going to beat the competition (if you implement it!) and give you an advantage with an increase in quality traffic.
So what’s the big news about hyper-local search?
Google has just increased the number of it’s centroids, sounds painful, what is a centroid? Here’s the science!
“In maths and physics, the centroid or geometric center of a plane figure is
the arithmetic mean (“average”) position of all the points in the shape.”
Centorids – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centroid
What the, what the?
OK, so applying this to Google Maps specifically, it means Google just increased the number of points on their maps that it uses for local search central positions.
Here’s an example: Take Woking (please, someone? anyone?) in the old system “Woking” had a single centroid and if you go to Google maps and search “Woking” you will see that Google plops a map marker down slap bang on top of Victoria Arch near the train station. If you zoom in you actually find that it’s bang on top of “Lindsay Fabrics” opposite Evans Cycles and outside the KFC HQ.
For Google THAT point is “Woking”, except Google has now added more “points” (centroids) for hyper local accuracy and thus given you a great chance to get found. In the image below I have simplified the concept, and centroids aren’t going to be perfectly circular (what towns, cities or locations are? Stonehenge maybe?) but the idea is that you have more weighting in the search results for your hyper-local ranking keywords if you target them.
You might be wondering
“Hey, Stu, I’m just a plumber how does all this crazy
centroid nonsense work in the real world?”
So you’re a plumber in Woking? Then you need to know how relevant you are for a search by a customer for “Woking Plumber”, how geographically close are you to that pin in the map? The closer you are the more relevant you are to the term “Woking Plumber”. That’s not the ONLY criteria but it is an important one.
[Edit – this is more relevant for “real world” businesses, but can still apply to online/digital businesses to a lesser degree]
Several factors matter for ranking in hyper-local results, such as:
- Proximity to the central point
- Google Business Reviews
- on page SEO
- other factors
These all count BUT one thing is guaranteed, if your customer lives in Woking and has a burst pipe they want a plumber local to, or servicing, Woking NOT someone in London or further afield. Therefore “Woking” is a VERY important part of the search. Just like if your are searching for a car, the make and model are VERY important search criteria.
But here’s the kicker: when you search on your mobile you are at a specific location searching for “restaurant Woking” you want a “local” restaurant and “local” suddenly takes on a whole new meaning, you don’t want a “local” restaurant to be 5 miles away, or even a mile away, you want it within a 10 minute walk (depends how hungry you are!).
“Local” is relative, and so Google have increased the number of “reference points” to use in local search precisely because mobile searches require very precise LOCAL search results. If I search for “Woking restaurant” and I’m in the town centre but search results are scattered out as far as Horsell, Maybury and Old Woking my opinion of Google Search goes down, and I am less likely to rely on it.
That’s something Google doesn’t want…
Which is why Google has improved local search, and thus “Woking” has a lot more hyper-local search places that Google will be using to refer to for ranking keywords.
This makes business sense for Google as they are slicing the paid for search pie finer and finer and their inventory of keywords to sell has significantly increased.
OK, so that’s the education for the “Why”, what’s the BIG opportunity for you as a business owner?
Over the years of doing lots and lots of keyword research I’ve noticed that Google’s keyword tool has always been shy about disclosing low cost, long-tail keywords with little competition. The benefit is Google sell higher cost keywords with the promise to the business owneer of more traffic.
Now: “MORE” may not necessarily mean “higher quality” and in the quest to convert visitors into customers “quality” counts every bit as (if not more) than “volume”. You need volume (a LOT of traffic) to show your business/website is popular, but you also need quality to show Google you are relevant to the search terms. Quality traffic is traffic that takes action, clicks links, watches videos, make phone calls, fill sin forms etc.
More volume + better quality = more relevant = better ranking.
With me so far?
Simply put: with the recent update you have a LOT more hyper-local, long-tail keyword search terms that will rank you for QUALITY traffic, but Google is not likely to tell you much about this OR what those local keyword search terms are. Finding out those hyper-local keywords is not going to be easy, Google ain’t gonna be sharing that info they want you to buy PPC ads not use organic search rankings for FREE!
So this gives local businesses like yours a lot of opportunities in local, geo business searches. Simply find all your local areas and think about the types of searches people are likely to make in those areas. So, for our plumber: are their lots of rental properties, or flats, or HMOs in a specific area? What is the profile of the type of customer in any specific area? Big houses are more likely to have more money for additional en-suites and updates to bathrooms, landlords will want emergency cover etc. So have a think about the hyper-local areas and if they are full of your customers what sort of goods and services are these people likely to want?
Let me share a Case Study:
I recently searched for “Emergency Plumber in St. Johns, Woking” (incognito search, from anonymous browser, using local Woking IP address)
Looking at that search I get the top ten organic results as follows
- My Builder
- woking-plumber.com (made with mrsite.com)
- rjplumbingndheating.co.uk (Fasthosts web builder)
Page 2 – 1st position
- sinesplumbingandheating.co.uk (built by i-promote.eu – who build plumbers websites)
Now, this is crazy: if you go to the Google Business listing it gets waaaay better.
Looking at the map box at the top, there’s only two listings.
Now: if you jump to the “maps” page there is actually only ONE listing but NOT A SINGLE map pin for ANY plumbers for that search. Google has generated their “pins” from external data on the websites (or directories).
Google defaults to the first plumber site (not directory) in the top ten search results WITH an address on their website. The only other business listed in the map box, Sines Plumbing are currently at position 11 (2nd page, first position) but you can see that it shows in the map box as it is also listing an address.
If Woking-Plumber.com added their address to the website (in a specific way) they’d get a default Map listing too and may even rank above the other sites in the map box or knock Sines website out of the map listing, possibly.
However it gets better, much better: if any one of those businesses claimed their Google Business listing and got Google reviews, then added a blog, and got it shared on social they’d probably rank at the top of the search! Beating out all the directories, and in all likelihood boosting their ranking for other hyper-local searches too.
It’s crazy that Hyper-local search results are wide open, and are currently being filled by directories.
Because Google doesn’t have sufficient reason to list other more specific company sites. No one is giving them a reason to, lots of the sites we visit barely have their address on the site, or have a partial address. Ranking for the hyper-local keywords would be quite simple, it only has 364K competing sites for this search term and many of these are random Rightmove pages or other slightly associated plumber/plumbing websites.
If you want to rank for hyper-local searches then do as follows:
1) Get Reviews – on your website, showing what jobs you did and specifically where.
2) Get Google Reviews – using a verified Google business listing and make it easy using singleclickreviews.com
3) Testimonials – sprinkled throughout your website, using geo-locations in the text
So what’s the conclusion?
Hyper-local search terms seem to be wide open at the moment for certain areas, specific sectors and businesses. As seen in the above example, eight slots are directories and the only actual plumber websites are not well optimised and none have blog or a good Social footprint. There has to be more than 8 plumbers in Woking, so why are they not ranking for hyper-local search terms? Because they simply haven’t given Google enough reasons to do so, change that and change your ranking, improve the volume of your traffic but more importantly improve the quality.
This is a simple process, and all you need is the correct listing on Google with the right content on your website to begin to smash the competition. Don’t get left behind…
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