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My First Mozinar-Local Search in 2013

Guilty StampFirst off yes this was my very first mozinar, my very first webinar in fact and yes my head is presently hung in shame – to say it’s overdue is a rather more polite way of putting it…still, better late than never so a big thank you to Mike Ramsay for his valuable and insightful, well, insights to local search in 2013. Here’s what I took from the session:

Background:
Panda, Penguin…Per-lease, pretty much everyone in the SEM world is sick of hearing about them now! Lets focus on a different update from last year, Venice. This algorithm (whose label is derived from Venice beach situated near Google’s offices FYI) better detects when search queries plugged into the Big-G are local ones. Released in February 2012 amidst a load of other, admittedly more major updates this one was swept under the radar somewhat. However, its re-emergence is no coincidence as over 50% of search is anticipated to be local in 2013/2014 making it more than just places. It’s now organic. The long and short therefore of this rambling explanation is that if you haven’t localized your site, do it. Now.

Localize Your Site With…Citations
Localizing your site doesn’t have to be a developers job just as “citation” doesn’t have to be such a complicated sounding word for something so simple, but hey we’re in SEO and we love complicating things ;) So make sure your citations are correct and updated. Speaking of complicating things, here’s an acronym to explain just what they are:
N
A
P
Those blissful twenty minutes mid-afternoon when you can enjoy a quick snooze…unfortunately not:
Name
Address
Phone Number
Not unlike the information you’d request from that guy you fancy down the gym…you know the one…big muscles, gorgeous, funny…urgh – focus! Citations are important, make sure you have them!

Localize Your Site With…Schema:
Schema code is no longer an unfamiliar term and it’s the way things are going in terms of telling Google just who, where and what you are locally. You can visit schema-creator.org to learn more and create your own schema for web pages. There’s also a great tool and explanation here; but basically it’s a piece of code that goes into the HTML of a web page to let the search engines know exactly what your page is about. There’s now (HURRAH) a WordPress plugin for Schema too for all the non-techies to implement schema code into their sites.

Whilst schema is the way forward, you can also add citations to localize your site using an hCard. In the mozinar we were told some sites use both or you can just use one or the other – it’s entirely up to you and just a different way in which identifying information is displayed.

Conclusion
The most important thing with your citations is to be consistent. Have the same information and details listed in the same way on your site, in directory entries, maps listings etc. The search engines like local, they want to help associate you with your local area, so help them and let them know just where you’re local to!

Next weeks blog will continue on with local search (there’s too much to cover for one post!) and will go through duplication, Matt Cutts’ take on this and link building (bleh). We’ll then move on to reviews, getting them, responding to them and monitoring them.

Happy New Year!

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