Wanna know how to dominate Google search results for your local market? Here’s the formula to local SEO success:
(Core Phrase + Metro Area) + (IP address) = Rankings
One of the recent phenomena’s within Google’s algorithm has been the introduction of “IP address / location awareness”. What this means is, Google is now accounting for the physical location of the person who’s making a query (searching in Google). You can see this taking place in searches from both fixed computer locations (i.e. the desktop computer in your office), and of course on mobile devices.
So if I’m standing in mid-town Atlanta, for example, and I type the phrase “dui attorney” into my Google search app on my iPhone, the search results I get will emphasize law firms and attorneys who are near my location (mid-town Atlanta) AND who specialize in DUI law.
However, if I’m standing in the middle of downtown Chicago and I search the exact same phrase “dui attorney”, I’m going to get a complete different set of search results. This time I’m going to see DUI lawyers and law firms who are nearby in downtown Chicago.
Again, this “location aware” principle holds true whether I’m searching from a desktop computer or from a mobile phone. The only change is that on a mobile phone, the emphasis will be on local map search results (the A – G section that highlights map locations). Whereas on a desktop computer or laptop, I may see normal search results (up to 4 I believe) appear above the local map search results.
First, what is an IP address?
It’s possible that I’ve already lost some people in this discussion based on the fact that you have absolutely no idea what I mean by “IP address” location.
So let me quickly explain what an IP address is, and why it’s important.
The internet is nothing more than a massive network of computers and servers that are connected to one another – right? Basically, the web (or Internet) as a whole consists of networked computers that are open to, and willing to, share data and information.
In order for one computer to share information and data with another computer, it must first know that the computer or device (such as a smartphone or an iPad) exists. For example, in order for you to check Facebook on your iPhone and see your most recently updated news feed, Facebook servers has to know that your iPhone exists in order to push the update to it.
The way servers (such as Facebook’s mainframe server) and computers know that other computers and devices exist is through an IP address. When something has an IP address, it is telling the world that “I exist, and I’m available to be connected to…”!
You may have heard recently about the hot topic of “the internet of things…” Well, the internet of things is possible because we are learning how to give IP addresses to things like cars, lamps, shoes, packages, etc… and again, when something has an IP address, it is now able to be connect to other computers and devices, and also be connected to.
And one of the main variables that can be derived from an IP address is the exact location of that IP address.
You see this playing out in grand fashion with the iPhone app “Find My iPhone”, or with apps like Google Maps that can only work when your location services are enabled. Basically, enabling location services is you turning on the location variable within your iPhone’s IP address.
And as you can see, when Google knows the IP address of the person who’s searching, it’s able to custom tailor the search results based on your exact location.
How to take advantage of Google’s “IP location aware algorithm” for your local business
It’s important to understand that when someone searches for something in Google, an algorithm goes to work instantly to identify the highest quality pages to present for that particular query (or searched keyword phrase).
But in order for Google to have websites and web pages to chose from to display in the search results, it has to first crawl and index literally billions of pages across the spectrum of the internet.
And then, when someone enters a particular keyword phrase into the search bar, Google will then access this massive data base of previously indexed pages to see which ones best match the keyword phrase that was just searched.
Now factor in the consideration of the “IP address location” of the person who just made the search in Google, and you begin to see a formula for local SEO success – a formula for building website’s and web pages that can rank quickly for a wide range of products and services that you offer as a local business.
How to build web pages that tailor to the “IP location aware” algorithm
Now that you know the secret to local SEO success resides in knowing that Google accounts for the IP address location of the person searching, we can start building landing pages for your local business that can compete in the search results.
#1: Include [product or service + metro area] in your title tag.
Using the “dui attorney” search phrase I used before, if I’m a DUI law firm in Atlanta, then I’m going to want to build web pages that include the word “atlanta” and “dui lawyer”. For example, my page title might look like this:
Atlanta DUI Lawyer – Call Bobby Holland Today For the Best DUI Legal Services in Atlanta
*** note, please do not call me for DUI services, I was just writing this as an example page title :-)
The important thing to remember here is that by building out a page that is targeting the metro Atlanta area, and targeting the topic of DUI, you are now sending signals to Google that your page is highly relevant for the keyword phrase “dui attorney”. And when someone from Atlanta searches this phrase, and Google sees their IP address is located in Atlanta, Google will search specifically for Atlanta related “dui attorney” pages.
You need to build out the relevancy of the page by including the metro area, along with the product or service, directly in the title of the page and then also throughout the rest of the content of the page.
#2: Include [product or service + metro area] in your description tag.
Just like you included “Atlanta DUI Lawyer” in the title tag of your page, I recommend you also include it again in the description tag of your page. Including the metro area + product or service in the meta tags (both title and description), will help to reinforce the legitimacy of that this page being targeted toward a particular product or service within that metro area.
#3: Use Geo Tags in your meta data
Finally, you can really drill down the accuracy and relevancy of your geographic location by implementing geo / position tags witin the meta data of your website.
A really great tool that I use is the Geo Tag Generator that creates the HTML code for you to place into the header of your web pages. This meta data will accompany all of the other meta data within your web pages, and help to reinforce the relevancy of your pages for your targeted metro areas.
Again, using the example above that I’m a DUI attorney in Atlanta, I’d want to geo meta tags for Atlanta. And using the geo tag generator tool, I simply enter “atlanta, georgia” into the tool bar > it creates by geo targeted meta data > and I’d then add the following code to my web page:
<meta name=”geo.region” content=”US-GA” />
<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Marietta” />
<meta name=”geo.position” content=”33.952602;-84.549933″ />
<meta name=”ICBM” content=”33.952602, -84.549933″ />
If you’ve followed the steps above in building out highly relevant web pages that target your exact metro areas, and you are also including high quality content within your web pages, then your pages will be able to compete for the search results that your prospective customers are searching for your specific metro areas.