It’s been said that Google sees every local business as a pizza place.
What is meant by that statement is that Google doesn’t distinguish much between types of businesses in its local algorithm. You could have a car wash, a carpet cleaner, and an arcade on the same street, and Google would basically treat them the same. Since a carpet cleaner comes to your house, there might not be as much of a need to show “directions” to their business, as an example.
Since pizza places are brick and mortar businesses with a single goal, it doesn’t make much sense in a marketer’s eyes, but that’s the way it is at this point, and it’s important to know this as you deal with the search engine optimization of your business. Even within local SEO, there are three main ways that Google sees your business, which can affect your placement.
Desktop vs Mobile
There have been multiple studies that show how much the algorithm can fluctuate depending upon the device used for the search. You need to carefully craft your site to match what users have come to expect. It’s a given that your site should be mobile friendly either way, but the messaging and marketing efforts can be honed depending upon your industry. If you actually ran a pizza place, you would need to optimize for a specific location, and make sure you are found in the “map pack”, so that potential customers can find your business and eat there, contact you, or allow orders over the phone.
Google wants to show users the most pertinent information possible. They’re getting much better at determining search intent, which is to say, geographical nuances are especially apparent. The map section used to be what determined proximity and ranked businesses as such. Now, however, the local search algorithm and the organic algorithm have been somewhat baked together. You now have custom results in both sections, and it may dynamically change from one locality to another.
In short, Google lumps your business into the same group as most other businesses, for better or for worse. From a marketing perspective, what counts is how you differentiate yourself from your competitors, and knowing how search engines see your business is essential to doing just that. Here’s a local SEO guide to get you started with optimizing your local business.