Google admits local favours in-town businesses

In a YouTube video posted on the 14th January 2011, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team admits that as a result of recent changes to the presentation of local results, businesses with a more central location will be more likely to generate top results through there locational relevance. What does this mean for your out-of-town business?

Out of Town Business

The following question was submitted from a concerned business owner no doubt struggling to identify ways to gain search presence since the local results have been integrated into the main search results on Google in December 2010.

“In a search environment where local is becoming increasingly important (and more full on the SERP), how can an out of town company compete with the local based (and locally housed) competition without lying to show up in these local results?”

No Way To Show Up As a Local Business

Matt admits that an out of town business does not have a way to show up as a local business, i.e. present a different location than that where the business is actually located. He does however explain that using the service area facility a business that provides services to clients in a defined area can achieve an in town result for the areas they can reasonably service from there location even if it’s not physically based in that service area.

Matt points out that Google does want the most local businesses to show up and that Google continues to ‘improve match quality and check the authenticity of businesses’ and therefore validate the information provided on ‘Google Places’.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Well, put bluntly it means that businesses that pay a premium for central locations will have an advantage in search over those in the suburbs from a search perspective. Of course this will increase the demand for central premises and add another dynamic to further polarise the commercial property market. Perhaps owners of in-town property who have seen demand fall due to large, highly serviced out of town retail and business parks may even see a reverse in that trend.

Advice and Support for Local Internet Marketing

Certainly choosing your business location for those products and services primarily sourced by search could be critical to the survival of new start ups.

Those home based or mobile businesses using serviced and virtual offices for their business address may need to consider location rather than convenience or best price for a solution to their requirements.

Reliance on advice and support from companies offering local internet marketing expertise such as e-mphasis may become essential for any consumer facing business to identify how best they can market their business on-line.

For more information see the video here.

Andrew Rayner is the Director and Founder of online marketing consultancy E-mphasis. Andrew’s expertise lies within the technological side of marketing, through utilising computers and the Internet to create the best office and business environments. He works closely with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), claiming that this is no ‘black art’ – it takes appropriate applied skill and knowledge. He is highly regarded as an expert in the field of natural SEO and is regularly invited to speak on the topic at conferences and events. Andrew and the team at E-mphasis have pioneered an innovative use of Google Maps and online business listings to create highly targeted Local Internet Marketing strategies. Local Internet Marketing is a hugely untapped area of marketing strategy and one which is now beginning to generate interest and excitement from major UK retail brands.