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Local SEO Glossary: Every Term Explained

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Table of Contents
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    A

    Age

    Age is believed to have some impact on search engine rankings, as this denotes how trustworthy and reputable a business might be. The more established a company is, the more likely they are to rank in SERPs (and meet other essential ranking criteria).

    Aggregator

    An aggregator (also known as a “data aggregator“) is a company that maintains and supplies the underlying business database for local search directories, gathering and publishing related information in the form of links to other sites.

    The most powerful aggregators in the U.S. are Infogroup, Neustar, Acxiom, Foursquare and Factual. The companies compile business data from multiple offline and online sources, sourcing phone bills, business registrations records, chamber of commerce rosters, and so on to properly label companies on business directories and maps apps. 

    Algorithm

    An algorithm is a special formula used by search engines to rank web pages in order of importance or relevance for a particular keyword query. Search engines use algorithms and bot crawlers to assess on-page content and deliver said content in SERPs to users based on search criteria. 

    Analytics

    Analytics refers to any data tracking tool that measures user interactions on a domain, subdomain, sub folder, web page and more. The most common analytics software is Google Analytics, a free tool used by most digital marketers to track campaign progress and make informed marketing decisions. Google My Business is another free analytics tool that provides great insight into local search success and user behavior, tracking engagement on maps, phone calls, discovery and image searches, and more.

    Anchor Text

    Anchor text refers to the text contained in a web link. For instance, an internal or external link tied to a particular phrase. There are various types of anchor text from branded, keyword, partial match, phrase match, exact match, image, and more. Having a proper anchor text distribution in one’s backlink portfolio is essential for generating solid domain authority and sending trustworthy signals to search engines.

    Application Programming Interface (API)

    An API is connection between computer programs that allows applications to communicate with one another. APIs are powerful in Local SEO as they allow for the near immediate update of business information. APIs often use a core dashboard that acts as the homebase for business information.

    Audit

    A local SEO audit is a an analysis of a business’ online presence. Local SEO audits often measure how accurate a business’ information is online — showing missing, inaccurate, and correct information across all mentions of a business on directories.

    Use our free online presence check tool to determine how consistent your business information is online.

    Authority

    In SEO, authority (or “domain authority”) represents  the influential power of a domain, a website, a citation source, a review, or other entities. In general, this describes how much search engines trust your business as a relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy voice in your industry. Domain authority is directly associated with how well your website ranks online.

    Average Star Rating

    This is the rating that shows up next to your business listing on any directory that features customer reviews, such as Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp. The review score is calculated by dividing the sum of positive, neutral, and negative reviews. 

    B

    Best of the Web

    This is a major local business directory for U.S. businesses to create free online profiles and benefit from powerful citation references.

    Better Business Bureau (BBB)

    Founded in 1912, the BBB publishes reviews of the reliability of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. BBB listings can act as a citation for local businesses.

    Bing Places

    Bing Places is a free tool for businesses to appear in local searches on Bing, and Cortana voice search results. Similar to Google My Business, this is suitable for businesses with storefronts, chains with multiple locations, service providers, and even businesses without a physical storefront.

    Blog

    Blogs are a form of web-based publications that allow readers to interact directly with businesses. Most companies use blogs to provide an enhanced user experience for their audience, offering valuable suggestions and insights into industry-related questions. Blogs play an important role in search engine rankings, as these reflect how active a business is online and how authoritative they are in their niche. When used correctly, blogs can improve a domain’s digital authority, rank for more useful keywords, and generate solid link juice to a website’s “power pages”.

    Brick & Mortar

    In Local SEO, brick and mortar refers to businesses with a physical storefront. By contrast, a service area business is one that serves customers at remote locations (like a plumber, electrician, or housekeeping service) instead of within the walls of a physical business. Brick & Mortar is an important attribute to add to a Google My Business or Bing Places profile as this denotes where and how you conduct business, as well as how customers should contact you to enlist your services.

    Bulk Upload

    This typically refers to the act of creating multiple local business listings for multi-location business models at once, typically via a spreadsheet or other type of form, on a given platform.

    Business Description

    A business description is a field in most business directories where companies can include short and long descriptions of their business, core values, and core focus. The length of short and long description differs, so it’s important to address each. This summary is needed to reach profile completeness and gain the most traction of local citations.

    Business Title

    The name of a business—specifically the name of a business as registered at one of the major local search engines or online directories. Combined with physical address and phone number, the business title represents a third of a business’s necessary online identity.

    C

    Call Tracking Number

    A call tracking number is used to measure the success of specific marketing efforts, and to gauge the quality of leads and where they’re coming from. CallRail is a popular and powerful call tracking system that enables users to track phone calls to one central number using vanity phones numbers. For Local SEO, it’s imperative that businesses showcase the most relevant and accurate contact information to prevent customer confusion of misleading metrics. 

    CSS

    CSS is a type of website code which allows for easier page editing by designers and faster processing of HTML by search engines.

    Category

    A category is a term used to describe a system of industry classification. When creating local business listings, companies are prompted to categorize themselves as being associated with a specific industry.

    Although each search engine and data aggregator has its own taxonomy, many categories are based on the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS. The current Google My Business dashboard allows business owners to choose up to ten categories, all of which must stem from Google’s pre-chosen category choices. 

    Centroid

    This is a concept in the local search industry used to define a central point of geography or activity. A centroid is used to generate the most relevant results to a user’s search based on their location at the time of search. Also known as “proximity to the point of search” and “user-as-centroid phenomenon,” a centroid allows for hyper-relevant local search results per region and industry. 

    Check-In

    A check-in is a user-genrated signal in the form of a digital announcement that they’ve physically visited a place of business. Check-ins are the key component to many location-based business directories like Foursquare, Facebook, and Yelp, and are a vital metric for driving user engagement, relevance, and trust between customers and businesses. 

    Citation

    A citation is a complete or partial web-based reference to a business’ NAP (name, address, phone number). Structured citations can occur in the form of formal local business listings on local business data platforms, or can be of an unstructured nature, occurring as simple mentions of a business on a blog, news site, website, or other online publication in the anchor text. For more on local citations and directories, click here.

    Citation Campaign

    A citation campaign is the marketing practice of cleaning up citations for total business accuracy across the web, while building new citations in the form of business listing acquisition. Local SEO software, like Direction Local, use aggregators and APIs to streamline the process by automatically eliminating and suppressing duplicates while building new citations on other relevant websites. Without a tool like Direction Local, a citation campaign must be done manually through time-intensive checks and balances.

    City Landing Page

    A city landing page refers to a web page designed for geographic relevance. These often include regional keywords to be found in local search results and consistent of messaging that speaks to users in a particular area. City landing pages are most commonly used. by businesses with multiple locations to better assist customers on their shopping journey. These web pages can be cited as the primary web url in a business listing profile to direct users. to the most relevant source of information in regards to their local search. 

    Claim

    Claiming a citation is the act of verifying one’s business information with a local search engine and taking ownership of the business listing. This reduces the risk of hijacking by spammers or competitors, as well as having users accidently post inaccurate information. To claim a citation, a business owner or marketer typically needs to initiate a PIN setup process with the search engine, platform, or app.

    Click-through-rate (CTR)

    Click-through-rate is the rate at which users click through to your site from a search engine result, link, or advertisement. This is one metric used to measure the success of an online marketing campaign. From a local search perspective, a higher CTR on a business’ GMB profile (including clicks to call, maps clicks, and website clicks) can lead to increased rankings in Google’s 3-pack. 

    Cluster

    A cluster is a search engine’s collection of information about a particular business location from all of its data sources. In some cases, a search engine’s attempt to create a cluster is too “aggressive,” causing distinct business listings to merge in its index. In other cases, its attempts to create a cluster may not be strong enough, causing multiple listings to appear for the same business.

    Content Management System (CMS)

    A CMS is a complex stream of code that enables people with little to no web development experience to create and modify websites. Popular content management systems include WordPress, Shopify, Drupal, and Joomla. 

    Consistency

    Consistency is the holy grail of local search. Where content is king in driving authority through fundamental SEO, Consistency is King in the local search arena. Consistency reflects how accurate your business information is online. This is very important, considering businesses should only be citing the most accurate and relevant business information to prevent customer confusion and promote increased engagement. Direction Local’s network of APIs and aggregators ensure that your business information is consistent across all of your citations and regular runs automated data cleansing 

    Conversion

    A conversion is the metric used to measure how many users completed a specified action, such as a click to a website, a phone call or form fill, request for directions, purchase, or email sign up. Conversions can be broken into two values: micro and macro conversions. Micro conversions are steps that assist in moving customer to the final conversion item — the macro conversion: ie., a purchase of product of services. 

    Coupon

    A coupon in local SEO is any special offer made through an online listing, website or app. For instance, the coupon we offer in our BrightLocal replacement service and Yext replacement service for unsatisfied customers. 

    Crawl

    A crawl is the act of a search engine reading a page to learn the content and rank the page accordingly. 

    Customer Category

    A customer category is an old reference to customer-written categories, which Google Places for Business stopped accepting in April 2013. Today, business owners must select from a pre-set list of categories to describe/group their business in Google Places. There are other business indexes aside from Google that let business owners create custom categories to describe their business and what they offer.  

    Custom Field

    A custom field is a field in a local business listing used for added information not covered in pre-set fields. For example, brands carried, years in business, covid safety regulations, or the availability on-site and handicap friendly parking. 

    D

    Data Provider

    A data provider is a company that is contracted to supply local search engines with underlying business information. In the U.S., the major data providers are Factual, Infogroup, Localeze, and Acxiom. 

    Directory

    A directory is a website that lists businesses for a specific area, under a specific category, often in alphabetical order, but also by reputation. Directories provide business contact information (NAP) to potential customers while sending referral traffic to websites.

    Domain Name

    A domain name is a primary website address for a business or organization, for instance direction.com. Domain names are reserved and purchased by domain registrars, like GoDaddy. Longevity of a domain name is considered to be a ranking factor.

    Driving Directions

    It is considered that requests for driving directions on applications like Google Maps and Apple Maps are indicative of popularity and customer trust, and, therefore, related to increased rankings in SERPs.

    Duplicate Listing

    A duplicate listing is a problematic scenario where a business has multiple profiles on a single business listing. The conflicting information caused by duplicate listings sends misleading signals to search engines and customers, leading to a decrease in trust, rankings, and exposure. Steps must be taken to resolve duplicate listing issues, such as manual audits. However, the fastest and most effective means of cleansing duplicate listings is through a local citation tool, like Direction Local.

    F

    Facebook

    Facebook is a major social sharing platform and a great resource for local businesses to connect with their audience and improve their customer relationships. In local SEO, a Facebook business page can be used to improve a company’s online reputation, manage reviews, and improve SERP rankings for relevant searches. There is local seo software, like Direction Local, that will sync a company’s Facebook business page with their Google My Business and other directories to create a cohesive presence online.

    Factual

    Factual is one of the major data aggregators in the U.S., delivering organized business information to all major search engines to assist in delivering accurate and relevant local search results.

    Feed

    A feed is a structured, automated list of content or data produced and displayed by a website. Feeds were created to allow users to subscribe to website updates.

    Filter

    A filter is most commonly used in the online marketing arena to describe parameters for search engines to limit the prominence of certain types of data. For example, a review platform might filter to hide reviews of a low quality.

    First-Party Reviews

    First-party reviews are user reviews collected and displayed on your website with no input from the business owner. 

    Flash

    Flash is a type of website code which allows complex graphics and animations, but is difficult for search engines to read and comprehend. 

    G

    Geotagging

    Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification data to various media, such as website, image, video, RSS feed, QR codes and so on. Geotagging helps search engines establish connections between content, location, and search intent. 

    Geo Modifier

    A geo modifier, also known as a geographic modifier, location modifier, or location qualifier, is the part of search term referencing a location, such as “real estate agents Virginia.”

    Google Account

    An email address and password combination that has been registered with Google. A Google Account is required to claim a Google My Business listing and to use many other Google products.

    Google Adwords Express

    A paid advertising format offered by Google to local businesses, often in the form of PPC (pay-per-click).

    Google Business Photos

    These are interior and exterior photos of a local business used to enhance geo targeted searches and assist with user navigation to a physical storefront.

    Google Guaranteed

    This is a Local Service Ad label indicating that the business has passed the screening and qualification process for Google to back the work of the business. This only applies to “home services” businesses, including plumbing, locksmiths, electricians, and so on. 

    If a customer that booked service via a Local Services Ad is not satisfied with the quality of the work, Google might reimburse the customer up to the amount they paid for the service (with a lifetime cap per customer of $2,000 in the United States).

    Google Maps

    Google Maps is one of the most widely used location databases in the world. Their web mapping platform offers street maps, satellite imagery, 360 degree interactive panoramic views, and real-time traffic conditions. It also provides route planning for various forms of transit, such as by foot, car, bicycle and public transportation. Google Maps is crucial for local SEO visibility, as this displays businesses relevant to search queries along with additional information to help the customer make the most information decision.

    Google Messaging

    Google Messaging, in local search, is a function of the Google My Business dashboard, which enables business owners to text with their customers.

    Google My Business

    This is the current branding of Google’s local product that assists with local business visibility and conversions. Any business wanting to impact their local market needs a Google My Business profile to be as effective as possible.

    As of November 2021, Google My Business will be known as Google Business Profile.

    Google My Business Forum

    This is. asection. ofthe Google Advertiser Community dedicated to public questions related to Google My Business. The forum is moderated by Top Contributes to ensure the most accurate and relevant answers to user questions are provided.

    Google My Business Insights

    These are search metrics displayed in the Google My Business dashboard that shows recent activity on a location, including total actions taken by users such as, calls, requests for directions, and clicks to a website.

    Google My Business Q&A

    Perhaps one of the most powerful features of Google My Business, the Q&A feature allows business owners to answer customer queries and cover FAQs. This is a major asset for local ranking visibility as Google tends to favor business profiles that provide actionable information without sending users away from Google. 

    Anyone with a Google account can leave questions for the business through this section, and all Q&As are visible on the listing.

    Google My Business Verification

    This is the act of verifying a business profile in Google My Business. Most often, verification must be done via a postcard sent to a physical address, however, there are other methods business owners can take to verify their business.

    This is to make sure that only authorized repsentatives of a business can create and manage listings. 

    Google Posts

    Google Posts are a function of the Google My Business dashboard that enables business owners to post important updates, social media, and more to keep their audience engaged. 

    Google Trends

    Google Trends is a free online tool for marketers to assess customer trends and the popularity of targeted keywords. This can be used a supplementary keyword research tool.

    Go-To-Client

    This is an expression referring to businesses that must go to a client to perform work such as, a plumber, contractor, or electrician.

    H

    Head Keywords

    Head keywords are highly competitive, usually weakly targeted keywords with a high volume of monthly organic searches. These are most often one to two word phrases and broad in nature. 

    Header Tags

    Header tags are the bold headlines on a webpage that makeup the content hierarchy while teaching search engines what content is being displayed. These are most often known as H1, H2, H3, and so on. It’s best practice to include keywords in a web page heading structure to improve concentration around specific phrases, however, relative to other on-page SEO tactics this is thought to have lessened over the years. 

    Hijacking

    In the local SEO arena, the term highjacking typically relates to usurping control of a local business listing to edit its details with malicious intent. There are ways business owners can protect their listings from hijacking such as Google Authenticator. 

    Hotfrog

    Founded in 2006, HotFrog maintains an index of local businesses. Business owners can create a free business listing at HotFrog. 

    hReview

    A special kind of website code for marking up reviews. 

    Hyperlocal

    This is an adjective used to describe a website or web content that is extremely specific to a particular neighborhood, district or area of a city 

    HTML (HyperText Markup Language

    HTML is a type of website code that is easily ready and understood by search engines. HTML is one of the core coding languages SEOs use to help websites rank and track progress.

    I

    Inbound Link

    An inbound link is a link via code from another website to yours. Inbound links are a major component of the search engines’ organic ranking algorithms and are considered to be influential in Google’s local ranking algorithm. Inbound links are also a great means of improving a domain’s authority and increasing referral traffic from other websites. 

    Indexing

    Indexing is the act of submitted a web page to search engine crawlers so they can read and rank web pages to appear in organic search results..

    Infogroup

    Infogroup is one of the major data aggregators in the U.S. and a partner of Direction Local.

    Internal Anchor Text

    This is a string of text with an embedded link that leads to an internal page on your website.

    Internal Link

    An internal link is a link from on web page on your website to another. Internal links helps search engines understand content associations throughout a website in order to identify content clusters.

    IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)

    The online version of a traditional Yellow Pages directory. The local search engines frequently crawl these pages to find business information, then use it to form clusters or associate citations with a business.

    J

    Justifications

    In local SEO, a justification is an extra snippet of text that Google displays in the local pack, local finder, and in Google Maps to signal to searchers that a feature of the business specifically matches their perceived intent.

    K

    Keyword

    A keyword is a termed entered by search engines to find businesses or websites on search engines. There are various types of keywords such as, branded, non-branded, geo-specific and more. For more on how to go about your keyword research, click here.

    KML (Keyhole Markup Language)

    KML is the standardized geographic formatting of an address with corresponding latitude and longitude. A KML file refers to a set of one or more locations.

    L

    Local Backlinks

    Local backlinks are digital referrals from relevant and authoritative sites in the area. They drive qualified referral traffic to business websites and act as a badge of trust, which helps enhance one’s online reputation.

    Landing Page

    A landing page is the page a user first encounters when clicking through to a website from a search engine, social post, or advertisement. In local search, local landing pages are often created to show relevance in an area, and are often customized for a specific audience and purpose. It is best practice for multi-location businesses to have a service area landing page for each location. 

    Link Building

    Link building makes up one of the fundamental practices of SEO. It is the act of acquiring inbound links from other websites to improve domain authority. Quantity, quality, and velocity of backlinks are thought to have significant influence on local search rankings. Simultaneously, an SEO would create a powerful internal link portfolio to establish topic clusters that rank and convert. 

    Link Juice

    Link juice is the slang term for authority passed from one page to the other through backlinks. 

    Loadtime

    Load time is the speed in which a web page loads to a browser. A faster load time is ideal for conversion rate optimization and user experience. A slow load time will deter potential visitors from visiting your website. In short, website load time is a ranking factor, so all businesses should optimize their web pages for lightning fast load time on desktop and mobile.

    Local Algorithm / Local Results

    This algorithm is used by search engines for ranking business listings’ relevance for a particular geographic area. This algorithm is distinguished from Google’s core algorithm. 

    Localeze

    A primary data source of local business information for all major search engines

    Local Business Listing

    A generic term for a page on a search engine, directory, app, or IYP containing basic and enhanced business information for a local business. Google My Business is Google’s version of a local business listing.

    Local Business Schema

    Schema (or structured data) is a standardized format for providing information about a web page to help search engines display relevant results. Local business schema often includes hours of operation, department sections, reviews, reservation or appointment links, payment types, and more. This information enriches SERP displays to improve CTR.

    Local Keywords

    Any keyword containing a location-specific term with intent to generate results in a geographic area.

    Local Search Ranking Factors

    Local search ranking factors are the components that dictate how local business profiles and websites are positioned in SERPs.

    Local SEO

    Local SEO is a specialized online marketing discipline that increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographic keywords. A large component of a successful local SEO campaign is having a powerful citation builder and reputation management software in one’s toolkit; both of which reinforce geographic relevance and customer engagement.

    Location-Based Service (LBS)

    A location-based service is a form of geotagging that facilitates, or is facilitated, by social interaction. The primary function of LBS is a “check-in” by a customer at a physical storefront. Popular LBS are offered by Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, and more. 

    Location Prominence

    A technical term used by Google to identify important criteria behind its local search algorithm. Location prominence is analogous with PageRank.

    Long-tail Keywords

    Long-tail keywords represent more specific queries that users search. These are often lower in volume than broad keywords but represent specific search intent. 

    M

    Manta

    A local business directory with international reach where business owners can create free listings.

    Mapquest

    An AOL mapping platform with early adoption from its online rollout.

    MerchantCircle

    An online local business directory where business owners can create free profiles.

    Merge

    The accidental or intentional merging of business information from multiple locations into one.

    Meta Description

    A custom snippet of text that displays on search engine results pages to explaining the content on the corresponding web page and encourage user engagement. Well-written meta descriptions often include relecant keywords and are persuasive in nature.  

    Meta Keywords

    A list of keywords included in a tag near the top of the code for each webpage. Most search engines do not use the meta keywords tag to evaluate the relevance of a page due to spam usage. Therefore, these do not influence page ranking. 

    Meta Tags

    Hidden pieces of structure code at the top of each web page that can provide more information to search engines.

    Microformat

    A unique type of code that enables search engines to parse the content inside the code. Popular microformats include schema and hCard for address and contact information, or hReview for rating and customer sentiment information.

    MyMaps

    A free Google Maps product that allows registered users to save a particular physical locations and/or include a comment about each location. 

    MyPlaces

    A Google application that enables users to organize content such as maps, ratings, and check-ins that have unique importance to them. 

    N

    Name Spam

    Name spam refers to any manipulation to a business name in Google My Business. This practice is similar to keyword stuffing and is not recommended. 

    NAP

    NAP refers to a business’ name, address, and phone number. Combined, these make up the identity of businesses on local listing directories.

    Search engines use NAP information to provide relevant results for geographic searches. Consistent and accurate NAP information helps to improve local SEO rankings and is beneficial to the customer experience. Inconsistent NAP sends misleading signals to search engines and customers, which can result in a decrease in interest. To gauge how accurate your NAP is online, use our free online presence check tool

    NAICS

    A standardized taxonomy of business types upon which many search engines, IYPs, and data providers base their own category systems. For instance, Direction NAICS allows us to bid on government contracts (see website footer). 

    O

    Off-Listing / Off-Page

    Adjectives that describe the criteria search engines use in their local algorithm that are not associated with a business listing or with a website specified in a local listing. 

    On-page

    Refers to criteria that business owners and marketers control on their website so improve search engine rankings. 

    Organic Algorithm

    The mathematical formula traditionally used by search engines to rank websites in order of relevance, importance, and authority. 

    Outbound Link

    A link pointing from a page on your website to a web page on another website. This acts as a validation signal, showing search engines that you approve of the content you’re linking to. Although a webpage loses some link juice by linking out, search engines view outbound links to quality websites as a natural occurrence on the web.

    Owner Response

    Responding to a review as the owner of a business. Most of the top review platforms support owner responses as these are a vital part of reputation management

    P

    PageRank

    A term roughly correlated with the quality, relevance, and popularity of a page. This is also the equivalent of location prominence for local searches. 

    Panda

    First released in February 2011, Panda is an update to Google’s organic ranking algorithm, primarily targeting websites judged by Google to be of poor quality. There have been numerous updates since Panda was first rolled out, affecting many websites’ rankings.

    Penalty

    Any time of negative taken by a search engine that would negatively impact search rankings. These can be violations of published and unpublished policies. In local SEO, violation of any of the guidelines for representing your business on Google can result in a penalty. 

    Pending

    In local SEO, this is a status for a Google My Business profile awaiting verification. It is common for new listings to be marked at pending for a few weeks.

    Penguin

    An update to Google’s organic algorithm released in April 2012, primarily targeting link acquisition practices not approved by Google.

    Phone Number

    Combined with business name and physical address, the phone number represents a third of a business’s online identity.

    Phone Verification

    One of several methods for claiming a local business listing on a location data platform like Google or Bing. Postal and email verification are also common claiming options.

    Physical Address

    Combined with business name and phone number, this makes up a third of a business’ online identity. Showcasing a physical address in local data platforms, like Google My Business, can greatly increase foot traffic to a physical storefront. 

    Place Label

    Small graphic icons utilized in the Google Maps interface to indicate restaurants, retail shops, and other features. Local businesses must be selected by Google to be awarded a place label.

    Place Topics

    A feature in Google Maps that looks at data from customer reviews, and highlights relevant information to a searcher.

    PO Box

    A remote mailing address, the use of which can adversely affect your local search rankings. PO Boxes are expressly forbidden by the Guidelines for representing your business on Google. 

    Postcard Verification

    The most common method of verifying a Google My Business profile. Once a profile is created, Google will send a verification code by mail the address on file. The recipient will then submit their mail-in code online to confirm profile authenticity. 

    Product/Service Keywords

    Terms types into a search engine by users who are looking for products and services in a specific region. 

    Prominence

    One of the three pillars of local search, along with relevance and proximity. These pillars drive Google’s local algorithm and help determine the local pack and rankings.

    Proximity

    In local search, proximity defines the distance from a point search to the most relevant results nearby. Proximity may also describe the distance of a user to a business, of one business to another business in the same industry, or a business to the geographic center of a city.

    R

    Rating

    A numerical assessment, often on a scale of 1 to 5, which typically refers to review sentiments of users. 

    Relevance

    One of the three pillars of local search, along with prominence and proximity. These pillars drive Google’s local algorithm and help determine the local pack and rankings.

    For relevance, search engine algorithms ask, “Does this business do or sell or have the attributes that the searcher is looking for?”

    Review

    This is a text summary of a customers experience, and one of the the pillars of local search success. Reviews can be left on search engines, via location-based services, apps, or websites — and are often simultaneously assigned numerical ratings. In Google, review quantity, quality, and timeframe are all ranking factors. Follow these tips to learn how you can get more business by acquiring and responding to reviews.

    Review Attributes

    A Google reviews feature, where consumers are prompted to leave a ‘critical’ or a ‘positive’ quality rating, and offered pre-set buttons (such as “Good value” / “Not responsive”) to click.

    Review Management

    The practice of encouraging and responding to consumer reviews, either manually or with the help of software, like Direction Local.

    Review Spam

    Illegitimate sentiment published in the form of a review. This can include fictitious positive or negative statements made about a business for the purpose of helping or harming its reputation or rankings.

    Review Station

    Sometimes referred to as a review kiosk, a review station is a computer or other device set up for public use in a brick-and-mortar business for the purpose of encouraging on-site user reviews. Currently, Google does not permit reviews generated through reviews stations, and might potentially remove these.

    Rich Snippets

    This is a small amount of data from a markup that appears as a component of search engine result, such as star ratings, review authors, and so on.

    Robot

    An automated script created by a search engine to “read” webpages.

    S

    Service Area

    Typically used in a Google My Business profile to show the neighborhoods, cities, counties, and regions that a business offers their services. Plumbers, contractors, and landscapers are a few examples of the types of businesses that would benefit from a service area description.

    Service Area Business

    Usually used describe go-to-client businesses that travel to a customer’s location to provide their services, such as plumbers, technicians, and gardners. 

    Schema

    A type of markup recognized by search engines to display core business information and/or highlights in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Local business websites can utilize schema.org markup to display review ratings, product pricing, and more. 

    Sentiment Analysis

    The qualitative component of a customer review: i.e., Google’s analysis of reviews for quality of experience and key phrases, which it uses to display sentiments of a business on a business’ Google My Business profile.  

    Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

    A search engine web page that displays a list of results for a given search term, often including advertisements, business listings, knowledge panels, images, videos, news, or other media that best match the keyword search. 

    Small-To-Medium-Business (SMB)

    Small businesses usually have 100 or fewer employees and/or having less than $50 million in annual revenue. Whereas, medium businesses typically make more than $50 million in annual revenue, but less than $1billion, and/or have between 100 and 999 employees. 

    Structured Citation

    Business listing information built into the structure of a pre-existing digital platform or database, such as a business directory; often the name, address, and phone number of a business.

    Structured Review

    A traditional review left on a major local search portal or IYP and accompanied by a numerical rating. This differs from unstructured reviews which are often left in the comments section of a blog or a hyperlocal website. 

    T

    Testimonials

    Unlike traditional reviews left on a third-party website, testimonials are often published on a website by the business managing the site. Testimonials can be marked up with hReview or schema to improve the search engine’s understanding of testimonial content. 

    Third-Party Reviews

    Reviews collected by third party websites like Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook, which are independent of the business. 

    Three-Pack

    A term referring to Google’s top local search results for keyword phrases, displaying the three most relevant business.

    Trust

    An important but hard to quantify ranking factor. This is essentially a reflection of a business’s online reputation, which can be improved by ensuring a consistent NAP across directories, building citations and links from high-authority platforms, and generating positive reviews.

    U

    Unclaimed Listings

    Where a listing of your business already exists on a directory, but you do not have control over it. Situations when this can occur are if a user or rival business created a profile under your name. 

    Unstructured Citation

    A non-directory listing of a business’ complete or partial information, often on a “best-of” site, news articles, or blog. 

    Unstructured Review

    A text summary of a customer’s experience with a business that is not left on a trusted review directory, and instead published on digital newspaper article, magazine, or hyperlocal blog.

    User Behavior

    An online actions taken by a user. In local search this is most often a phone call, review, check-in, request for direction, or click through to a website. 

    V

    Velocity

    The speed at which a local listing gains traction in the SERPs by accumulating outside references in the form of citations, backlinks, reviews, or check-ins. Once Local SEO is started, a steady upward trajectory should be maintained to show search engines that a business is being proactive and lively, rather than manipulative. 

    Verify

    The process of confirming your online business listings. 

    Visibility

    The overall presence a business has established on the internet. In the realm of local search, businesses can improve search engine visibility by acquiring citations and reviews. 

    Y

    Yelp

    A publisher of crowd-sourced reviews about businesses. Yelp currently has 100 million users worldwide. 

    About The Author:

    Connor Wilkins

    Connor Wilkins

    Marketing Director