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Understanding Google Search for Local Business

Whenever you search for something on Google, it goes into the internet and a lot of things happen simultaneously behind the scenes. To us, it is like magic that just happens within a few milliseconds. But, it is not enough to consider it as a black box mystery whenever you are working on your local business website. You need to understand how exactly Google ranks a website and puts it on top of its search results and based on what. In this article, we are going to know the different types of search mechanisms that Google uses now to prepare a search result for a user. You will have an understanding of how Google search works for any local business. 

There was a time when putting some SEO optimized content and creating some valuable backlinks were enough to go on top of the search results. Google has become more sophisticated and intelligent that it itself identifies the value of a website and how relevant it is to whoever is searching for it. In Google, they use some very complex Machine Learning algorithms that are still a mystery even for some people who work there. We don’t need to go through all that, for now, we just need to know about the factor Google prioritizes so we can work on those.

Things Google Looks For While Preparing Search Results

Let’s say you are searching for a coffee shop. The moment you hit that search button, Google starts looking for any previous history of you searching for coffee shops. It also tries to find a relation between the searches you conducted a few moments ago before searching for coffee shops. Sometimes, the cookies help too.

Location is a very important factor in your search. It can get the location from your IP Address, the network that you are currently connected too, and most importantly, the true GPS data if it is turned on in your device.

That works as a fairly simple explanation of the search mechanism. Let’s dive deeper and try to have a more specific picture of what’s happening.

Different Types of Google Searches

Now that Google has all the information, it can work on it and try to determine what you are looking for. 

But first, what do you think about these two search terms “coffee shops” and “coffee makers”? How does Google differentiate these two keywords in terms of semantical meaning?

The first keyword represents a local category. If you are out somewhere and type coffee shop, it will try to give you some coffee shops based on your location. This is not applicable to the coffee maker as it is relatively more global than the other one. So, it is more likely to provide you with some blogs related to coffee makers. 

There are three categories of searches that your search may fit into. 

  1. Contextual Search
  2. Inferred Search
  3. Intent-Based Search

Contextual Search

This is a simple one. In this case, let’s assume you are in Jackson Heights and you search for “coffee shops in Jackson Heights”. Here, your actual location is identical to the location you’ve put into the search term. The search engine has a very clear understanding of what you are trying to find out. So, it goes ahead and gives you a bunch of coffee shops with maps and stuff. 

Inferred Search

Now you are in Los Angeles, and you are searching for “coffee shops in Jackson Heights”. How does that work? 

Now Google has to infer the fact that you are not in Jackson heights and prepare local search results for coffee shops in Jackson heights. The searching procedure changes just because your actual location contradicts your search term location. 

NOTE: The approach to ranking for contextual search is very different from the approach to ranking for inferred search. For local businesses, the first one is more valuable initially.

Intent-Based Search

This way Google assumes that people are less likely to put a location on the search term and hence, it starts guessing the intent behind a user’s search. So, if you search for “coffee shops” only, it will give you the best results based on the intent of your search. This is the most popular type of search nowadays as Google is trying to make it better as time goes by. The root keyword is all that matters here, and the intent will be determined from the rest of the demographics.

Part of building SEO strategies for your local business is also knowing how these searches work and what type of search you’re trying to rank your website for. Understanding Google Search for a local business will help you to build a foundation before actually starting to work on the different factors of Local SEO. And if you want to start working on SEO of your website, contact Infodrafts today!

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