Google's local Search Intent

by Wayne Smith

Understanding Search Intent

When a user enters a query in a search engine they have an intent of finding a kind of information. Modern search considers them to be of these four types:

Local Search Intent adds a "near me" entity

For Local Intent the search interrupt a local filter needs to be applied to the user intent. For a search's local search intent: "Pizza near me." Two pieces of information come together. The algorithm checks the entity "pizza," and:

The on-page content needs to be optimized for the entities

The entity information is created by:

Just placing the name, address and phone number, (NAP), may not be enough for search engines to unambiguously determine the business address. Web pages can and do have addresses on them which are not the business address for the web site. For local search intent, optimization is making the NAP verifiable.

Address Data verification

The NAP, (Name, Address, and Phone Number), needs to be present on the page. In addition the data needs to be verifiable, normally off-page.

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.