Google obviously understands the importance of it’s Local search as it continues to push out Local Search enhancements on an almost weekly basis.
This week, Google unveiled its newest Local enhancement – the “Nearby” filter.
Google’s Search Options became a permanent feature of the SERPs back in late 2009. The search options give users more control over their search results, allowing them to filter based on search verticals, date, previous search behaviour, and some experimental search views.
Nearby search allows users to refine results to those clearly defined as being within a set proximity of the user. From the launch post:
Starting today, we’ve added the ability to refine your searches with the “Nearby” tool in the Search Options panel. One of the really helpful things about this tool is that it works geographically — not just with keywords — so you don’t have to worry about adding “Minneapolis” to your query and missing webpages that only say “St. Paul” or “Twin Cities.”
Below you can see how the new feature appears in the Search Options panel.
While Google haven’t yet officially announced exactly how it determines the results under these searches, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to start optimizing for Local organic results.
To get started, these 3 steps are a good place to start:
- Ensure your address details are included across your website (footer or header). When including your address, make sure to cover off the suburb, major city, state etc. This will help to ensure you’re included no matter what filter the user includes.
- Google Local Business Listing is a must for your business. Google will naturally be using its local business database to help assign locator data to it’s natural index.
- Gather links from Local centric sources. Links from local groups, councils etc will help to identify your website as a key information source from a local area.
At this stage, the “nearby” filter is only available to users on the Google.com site, but it’s sure to roll out further over the coming months.