Google's local Search Intent

by Wayne Smith

How Local Search Intent Works

For a search's local search intent: "Pizza near me." Two pieces of information come together, An entity for the keyword learned from the internet, and the user's local intention.

The entity information is created by natural language processing of the internet, schema, and Google My Business. Specifically schema and Google MY Business present the information unambiguously that a local brick-and-mortar business exists that has the entity, (or is "pizza hut near me"), in question.

The "near me," informs Google of the user intent for the search. The algorithm checks the entity "pizza," and if the entity has local businesses presents a map. If a knowledge panel exists may also present the knowledge panel. The knowledge panel may have additional information about the entity such as nutrition value. Few entities exist with their own knowledge panel, "parks near me," does not have a knowledge panel.

Personalized Search Intent - Learned Local Search Intent

If you have tried a search on a different system, you may have noticed you get a different set of results; Personalized search results look at what an algorithm has learned from the search session and prior search history. One may use near me often on their smartphone and the personalized results tend to include local search results.

Smartphone Search Intent Algorithm

... User learnable considerations: Does the user use his phone mostly to find local search results? Does the user prefer pages with an audio option on their smartphone? ... However, audio is not a factor at this time for mobile search, or that is to say, I've yet to discover how to teach Google an intent to get the audio version option to be promoted on the results pages.

Local Search Intent Algorithm

The algorithm for local search is part pre-(natural language processing) and part learned or gained knowledge from both websites and user interactions from search. A list of entities that support local search intent exists as the options in a Google My Business for types of services; The list is added to by schema and user interactions.

Web-Design Considerations for Local Search Intent

The address must appear on the page; Name Address and Phone are considered trust factors and in some cases should be above the fold; However, the information does not automatically need to be above the fold, it just needs to exist on the page. An embedded map can be useful for SEO.

Coding Considerations for Local Search Intent

When Google My Business has not been used. As other addresses beyond the address of the business can exist, schema can be used to unambiguously provide the business address.

SEO considerations

Both on and off-page SEO effects being in the top three slots in map results. The NAP, (Name Address, and Phone number), need to be promoted on trustworthy sites. An embedded map can be used as a free link.

Additional local keywords can be created by information on a site but for those to become viable users need to indicate an search intent for local results and other sites need to also exist using the local keyword.