Local Search Engine - Google now displays local search results
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Local Search Engine - Google now displays local search results

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Recently, Google made changes to how it displays search results according to users' locations. The way it does this is by looking at your IP address, and then it displays the "local results" in a map group about half way down the page.

For example, if you search for "restaurant", the first few results will be normal organic results, followed by a group of map results closest to your area as determined by your IP address, and finally, further organic results.

Local Search Engine However, it is crucial that business owners, who want their websites to display in the local results, optimise their websites correctly and utilise appropriate directory listings in order to achieve "local status".

In large cities such as Sydney, the chances of a restaurant being shown which is located close to your suburb is unlikely at this stage, even though Google has the capability to detect where in the city you are through its geo-location software. Rather, it will display a regional result (Sydney businesses if you are in the Sydney area, as opposed to perhaps Goulburn or Melbourne).

The above change has another effect on search results.

Because there may be an extra 12 or so lines in the local search engine results, including up to 10 actual local listings, around half the organic search results will be pushed down. Some of these entries which previously appeared "above the fold", will now be relegated to "below the fold" (depending on the screen resolution of the viewer).

Google is trying to position itself as a local search engine by displaying the most appropriate search results for users in a particular location or region. This is good for users, but not good for websites that are not correctly optimised to take advantage of the local search.

Once again, this shows how important effective search engine optimisation is to even the smallest of business websites, as well as practical and knowledgeable optimisation advice.

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