Question: “san francisco flowers”, “san francisco florist”. One brought up the Local business result, the other just brought up the lists of sites. Why? What made it different in result format?
Answer: At some level, there is just variation in the Google algorithm and the results displayed for any given search. These will differ based on your geographic area in particular (the area in which your IP address originates).
Try a simple search such as just the word ‘Pizza.’ Usually you will see Google Local results appear, and they will be tailored to your local area even if you do not enter a geographic term such as ‘Pizza San Francisco.’ Once you add a geographic term, that will override your IP address location – so if I enter ‘Pizza New York,’ even though I am in Fremont, CA, I will see Google Local results for ‘Pizza New York.’
Google Local results are thus a function of your IP address location and/or any geographic terms entered, with the latter more powerful than the former.
Secondly, comparing words such as ‘Florist’ vs. ‘Flower.’ Google Local is also heavily influenced by whether the exact terms exist in the business name that match the search query. If few, or no one, in San Francisco goes by ‘Flower’ vs. ‘Florist’ then you will see less or more results based on that match between the search query and the business name in Google Local (as listed by the merchant). The bottom line here is to always enter your SEARCH KEYWORD TERMS as your business name in Google Local even if they are not in your real name!
Third, you can use the ~ (tilda) to figure out if Google understands that Florist and Flowers are about the same thing. And, finally, there is just some randomization in the results that I actually think is ‘by design’ by Google!
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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