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Local SEO Glossary: Every Term Explained

Local SEO is the process of 'optimizing' your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches. These searches happen on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Here is a glossary of related terms to Local SEO to serve as your reference.


A


Aggregator

An aggregator is a company that maintains and supplies the underlying business database for local search directories. The company gathers business information from various online and offline sources, such as phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerce membership rosters, and many others. Infogroup, Localeze, and Factual are examples of major data aggregators.

Other terms: data provider, data aggregator

Alt Text

The alt tag is inserted within the image tag in HTML and used to specify alternate text for an image. It is read aloud to users by screen reader software (for blind and visually-impaired people), and it is indexed by search engines.

Other terms: alt attribute

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text that links out to another web page. In SEO, using natural-sounding descriptive words relevant to the hyperlinked page’s content is best.

Apple Maps

Apple Maps is Apple’s mobile mapping application. It is the second most popular maps application among mobile users after Google Maps.


When conducting Local SEO, businesses should target Apple Maps alongside Bing Maps through Microsoft and Google Maps through Google Business Profile.

Attribute

In the context of a Google Business Profile, attributes are labels that can be added by business owners or the general public to highlight aspects of a business. Google can also pull them from review text and add them to a GBP. Authority

The combination of signals search engines uses to assess websites and webpages for ranking purposes.

B

Backlink

A backlink is a link created when one website links to another. Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO, it shows that this other website points to you as a valuable and relevant source. They represent a "vote of confidence."


While the value of backlinks varies, the number of backlinks to a website remains one of the most important factors in determining its page rank.

Other terms: incoming links, inbound links

Best Of The Web

Best Of The Web is the oldest, editor-curated local business directory for U.S. businesses. Business owners can create a listing for free. Best Of The Web verifies the listings by category.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, publishes reviews of the reliability of businesses in the U.S. and Canada with the mission to promote “marketplace trust.” BBB listings can act as a citation for local businesses.

Bing Places For Business

Bing's local business component, where users can create listings for their businesses. It’s suitable for businesses with storefronts, chains with multiple locations, or service providers without a physical store. Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO attempts to improve page rankings by employing tactics that violate search engine guidelines. Such tactics include keyword stuffing, cloaking, using paid links, doorway pages, schema spam, over-optimization, hidden text, bait and switch, and much more.

Brand A brand is a business and marketing concept that allows people to identify a specific company, product, or individual.

Bulk Upload

Bulk upload is creating multiple local business listings for multi-location business models on a given platform at the same time, typically using a spreadsheet or other form.

Business Description

A business description is a field on a local business listing that allows for a text description of a business. Rules about the types of content one can include in the business description field vary from platform to platform.

C


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 associated with a specific industry.


Centroid

In the local search industry, the centroid is a concept used to define a central point of geography or activity.


Wherever a user is physically located when they search for something local, Google’s results will be customized to display the businesses nearest to the user’s device. This may be referred to as “proximity to the point of search” or the “user-as-centroid phenomenon.”

Citation

A local citation is any online mention of the business’s name, address, phone number (NAP), and other core data. Structured citations can appear as formal local business listings on local business data platforms. Simple mentions of a company on a blog, news site, website, or other online publication are examples of unstructured citations. Some powerful citation sources are Google My Business, Apple Maps, Foursquare, Bing, and Yelp.

Citation Campaign

A Citation campaign is the marketing practice of auditing, cleaning up, and building citations for a local business on a variety of local business data platforms.

Claim

The claim is verifying one’s business information with a local search engine and taking ownership of the business listing on that search engine. This reduces the risk of hijacking by spammers or competitors. It often involves a PIN setup process with the search engine, platform, or app.

Click-Through Rate

The rate at which users click on an advertisement, link, or other search engine result. CTR is one of the metrics used to assess the success of online campaigns.

Other terms: incoming links, inbound links

Cluster

A cluster collects information about a specific business location from a search engine's data sources. When a search engine's attempt to create a cluster is too "aggressive," this results in merging distinct business listings in its index. There may be instances that the attempt to create a cluster is not strong enough, which results in multiple listings for the same business.


D


Data

In SEO, data is information related to traffic, impressions, page rank, and other relevant pieces of information. It usually refers to analytical data we use to determine who our visitors are and how they interact with our website.

Data Aggregator

The company gathers business information from various online and offline sources, such as phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerce membership rosters, and many others. Infogroup, Localeze, and Factual are examples of major data aggregators.

Other terms: data provider, aggregator


Directory

A list of websites that is usually divided into related categories or alphabetically. The directory is maintained by human editors. Inclusion in the directory may be free or paid, depending on the directory. Directory information is frequently assimilated by local search engines.

Duplicate Listing

A duplicate listing is having more than one listing on a given platform (like Google Business Profile) representing a single entity (a business). Some business models may be eligible for multiple listings. An intentional or accidental violation of this policy may result in penalties and ranking issues.

E


Editorial Summary

A business summary written by Google and displayed on some listings. Engagement Metrics

Methods to measure how users interact with web pages and content. Examples of engagement metrics include click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, time on page/site, new versus returning visitors, frequency, and recency and dwell time.

F


First-Party Reviews

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

Filter

Most commonly used in online marketing to describe parameters used by search engines to limit the prominence of certain types of data.

Findability

How easily can the content on a website be discovered internally (by users) and externally (by search engines)?

G


Geo Modifier

A geo modifier is the part of a search term that references a location. Examples of keywords with geographic modifiers would be “gas station near me” or “gas station Columbus, Ohio.”

Other terms: geographic modifier, location modifier, location qualifier

Geotagging

The process of adding geographic attributes to various media such as a website, image, video, SMS messages, QR code, or RSS feed. This helps search engines connect your content and the location of what it depicts.

Google Ads This is Google's foundational pay-per-click advertising program.

Other terms: AdWords (former name)

Google Analytics

A free web analytics program that can be used to track audience behavior, traffic acquisition sources, content performance, and much more. Google Analytics enables us to examine our data across platforms to understand our users' journey. Google Business Photos

Interior photography of local businesses taken by Google Trusted Photographers. This photography can be turned into a virtual tour to improve local business data.

Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows businesses to create a profile on Google that promotes business information such as an address, phone number, email, social media links, and more. Your profile will appear in Search and Maps, and you will be able to use it to post photos and updates to your business profile and see how customers interact with your business on Google.

Other terms: Google My Business (former name)

Google Business Profile API

The Google Business Profile API allows developers to create applications that interact directly with their business location information on the Business Profile server. It enables easier management of multiple locations, alerts for user updates, a streamlined verification process, and additional engagement features.

Google Business Profile Attributes

Google lets business owners identify specific services, features, and other qualities of their business that allow their listings to appear in relevant local searches. While many of these are contributed by Google users, business owners can add their own attributes.

Google Business Profile Categories

Choose the most relevant categories to your business so that your business will show up in relevant local search results. Only add the categories that match your business, as adding unrelated ones can cause ‘category confusion‘ and lead to a drop in rankings.

Google Business Profile Guidelines and Suspensions

Google has established guidelines that all businesses must follow when creating a Google Business Profile. Failure to comply with these may result in either a soft (temporary) or hard (permanent) suspension from the platform and may require the submission of a reinstatement request.

Google Business Profile Help

Business groups are a secure way to share location management with multiple users. Business groups function similarly to a shared folder for your locations, providing a simple way for coworkers to share access to a set of locations.


Google Business Profile Insights

A Google Business Profile tool that provides information on business profile views, searches, and actions from both organic and Google Ads. It includes metrics on search queries, direction requests, phone calls, and what a business is best known for.


Local SEO Glossary: Every Term Explained

Local SEO is the process of 'optimizing' your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches. These searches happen on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Here is a glossary of related terms to Local SEO to serve as your reference.


H


Head Term

A popular keyword with high search volume is usually difficult to rank for.

Other terms: Head Keyword, Short-Tail Keyword Hijacking

In the local SEO arena, the term hijacking typically relates to usurping control of a local business listing to edit its details with malicious intent.

Hyperlocal A website or web content that is extremely specific to a particular neighborhood, district, or area of a city.

I


Inbound Link

A link via code from another website into your own website. Google considers inbound links to be an indicator of high-quality content on your site, making them one of the most important elements in search engine optimization.

Other terms: incoming links, backlinks

Internal links

Any link from a page on your own website to another page on your own website. Using the right internal link strategy can help your SEO as you can control your website structure and give certain pages more importance by placing them higher in the hierarchy.

Insights

Branding of the analytics component of the Google Business dashboard.

IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)

The online version of a traditional Yellow Pages directory. Local search engines can crawl these pages for business information, which they can use to create clusters or associate citations with a business. Other terms: YP.com

J


Justifications

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


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

KPIs are quantifiable values used to measure the effectiveness of a marketing team’s SEO efforts and performance toward achieving a business goal.

L


Landing Page

The page that a searcher first encounters after clicking on a link. These pages are optimized for promotion and conversion and are usually connected to a marketing campaign. In SEO, each landing page can have different keywords and are optimized accordingly.

Local Algorithm

This algorithm is distinct from the search engines’ traditional organic algorithm. Local algorithm refers to the specific formula and the results returned by that formula used by search engines for ranking business listings’ relevance for a particular geographic area.

Local Citation

A Local Citation is any mention of a local business's company name, website address, physical address, or phone number. They have the potential to influence local search engine rankings as well as make it easier for users to find and discover businesses.

Local Finder

The complete list of local businesses appears when the “More places” link at the bottom of Google’s Local Pack is clicked. Local Keywords

Any keyword containing location-specific terms intended to generate results related to a geographic area.

Local Landing Page

A local landing page is the first page users see when clicking the link. It provides information about a specific store location or branch and may be optimized for that location. This is particularly important for multi-location business websites, which may have a separate local landing page for every business location.

Local Pack

The local pack is a prominent section in Google local search results that displays the highest-ranking local listings for your or the search location. For instance, if a user searched “fast food near me,” it would display three restaurants near the user’s current location. Ranking in the local pack can drive a lot of local traffic to your business.

Other terms: 3-pack, Local 3-pack / Google 3-pack / Google map pack

Local Search Intent

Local search intent is any query in which a search engine assumes the user is looking for a local result.

Local Search Ranking Factors

Local search ranking factors are the components that contribute to the rankings of a local business. These may change over time, but they focus on Google Business Profile, on-site SEO, reviews, and links.


Local SEO

Local SEO is search engine optimization that focuses on optimization for display by search engines when users enter local searches for its products or services. Example by including the name of a place or by adding the phrase “near me”.

Local Services Ads

These special packs are generated by Local Services, Google's paid lead generation program. These packs appear at the top of specific industries and cities' local search results.

Local Snack Pack

This style of local 3-pack appears for dining, hospitality, and entertainment. Results have a photo, no phone number, and no links to the website.

Location Prominence

A technical term used by Google in its local search patent to identify some of the criteria behind its local algorithm. Location prominence is analogous to PageRank in organic search.

Ludocid / Ludo CID

The Ludocid is a unique ID that Google assigns to a specific business location to identify it within its systems. It can be used within Google search URLs to return the Knowledge Panel for that particular business. It can also be used to view a specific business within Google Maps.

Other terms: CID

M


Manta

A local business directory with an international presence. Business owners can create free profiles at Manta.com MapQuest

An AOL mapping platform with significant early adoption due to its early online rollout.

A local business directory where business owners can create free business profiles.

Moz is a very popular SEO tool & community founded by Rand Fishkin. Moz offers SEO analysis tools, keyword ranking checks, audits, etc.

My Places

My Places is a Google application that enables users to organize content such as maps, ratings, and check-ins with unique importance.

MyMaps

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


N


Name Spam

Name spam is any manipulation of the business name in Google Business Profile, such as keyword stuffing.

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System)

A standardized taxonomy of business types upon which many search engines, IYPs, and data providers base their own category systems.

NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website)

NAP is the abbreviation for Name, Address, and Phone Number. Local search engines use NAP information found by crawling the web or received from data providers to assess the accuracy of the data in their own indexes. Consistent NAP information helps to improve search engine rankings and is beneficial to local customer acquisition.

Niche

A specific market or area of interest.

O


Off-listing / Off-page

Off-listing is the criteria that search engines use in their local algorithm that is not directly associated with a local business listing or with the website specified in that local listing.

Organic Search Results

Organic search results are listings in the SERPs that get displayed because the website listed employed good SEO practices instead of paying for it.

Other terms: Natural search results

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the “free traffic” you get when a visitor finds your website through Google searches. It is the opposite of paid traffic you get through advertising and what you try to influence by SEO.

P

Place IDs

Place IDs uniquely identify a place in the Google Places database and on Google Maps. They are available for most locations and businesses, and it is possible for the same place or location to have multiple different place IDs. Place IDs may change over time. Place Topics

Place topics is a feature in Google Maps that looks at data from customer reviews, and highlights relevant information to a searcher. Note that topics will only be created once there are sufficient customer reviews for the business.


Pointy from Google

Pointy is a Google Business Profile add-on that helps brick-and-mortar retailers list products online and appear in search engine results.

Prominence

Prominence is 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.


For prominence, the algorithm asks, “Which businesses are the most popular and the most well-regarded in their local market area?”

Proximity

Proximity is one of the three pillars of local search, along with relevance and prominence. These pillars drive Google’s local algorithm and help determine the local pack and rankings.


For proximity, the algorithm asks, “Is the business close enough to the searcher to be considered a good answer for this query?”


R

Rating

A numerical assessment, often on a scale of 1-5. Local search most frequently refers to consumers' star ratings of the quality of a business.

Relevance

Relevance is 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, the algorithm asks, “Does this business do or sell or have the attributes that the searcher is looking for?”

Reserve With Google

This is a Google Maps service that allows reservations and bookings of restaurants, tickets, and appointments. Review

A review is a customer’s text summary of their experience at a particular business. This can be left on search engines, apps, or websites and are often simultaneously assigned star ratings. Google-based reviews are believed to impact Google’s local rankings.

Review Gating

Review gating is soliciting feedback from a customer and then deciding whether to ask them for a Google review based on their response. This practice is strictly against Google’s review guidelines and may incur heavy penalties.

Review Management

Review management is the practice of generating, and responding to, customer reviews, either manually or with the help of software. Review Spam A review span is a fake customer text summary about a particular business. This can include making false positive or negative statements about a company to help or harm its reputation or rankings.

Reputation Management Reputation management determines and works toward how a business wishes to be perceived by its audiences. This includes—but is not limited to—online reviews, PR, and overall brand messaging.


S

Service Area Typically used to describe specific neighborhoods, towns, or cities served by the service-area business model, which includes businesses like plumbers, cleaners, or gardeners.

Service-Area Business A term frequently describes go-to-client businesses that travel to customers’ locations to render services, such as plumbers, electricians, and carpet cleaners. If a business doesn’t have permanent on-site signage, it’s not eligible as a shopfront and should be listed as a service-area business.

Small-to-Medium-Sized Business (SMB) Small businesses are usually defined as having less than $50 million in annual revenue and/or fewer than 100 employees. While medium businesses typically make more than $50 million but less than $1 billion in annual revenue and/or have between 100 and 999 employees. Spam Fighting Reporting businesses who are gaining an advantage by breaking Google’s policy guidelines. Common examples of this kind of spam are keyword stuffing in the GBP business name and creating multiple listings for a single business.

When creating your Google Business Profile, it’s important to use your legal, registered business name so that you can’t be accused of spamming.

Structured citation Business listing information is built into the structure of a pre-existing digital platform or database, usually a business directory.

Structured Data When added to your website’s HTML, structured data markup helps you point the search engine bot to elements that contain valuable information in determining the web page’s content. In 2011. Schema.org joined Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex to create a list of standard structured data they will support and display in their SERPs.

Other terms: Schema Structured Review A traditional review left on a major local search portal or IYP, accompanied by a numerical rating. Structured reviews may or may not be coded in schema or an h-review microformat but typically appear in a pattern that is easy for search engine spiders to read. This differs from an unstructured review, which may appear as a one-off reference on a blog or other hyperlocal website. See also: review, unstructured review, rating, hyperlocal.

T

Testimonials Unlike reviews left on third-party platforms, testimonials are typically customer sentiments published by a business on its own website.

Third-party Reviews User reviews are collected by third-party websites, such as Google, Facebook, and Tripadvisor, independent of the business.

TripAdvisor is a major review and citation source for restaurants and hotels on an international scale.

Trust An important but hard-to-quantify speculative ranking factor in both organic and local algorithms.

U


Unclaimed Listings Where a listing for your business already exists on a business directory, but you do not have control over it.

Unstructured Citation A non-directory listing of a business’ complete or partial contact information, for example, in an online news article, blog, best-of list, etc.

Unstructured Review A text summary of a customer experience on a website that is not a traditional directory of standardized review information alongside business listings. May not be accompanied by a numerical rating. Examples include newspaper or magazine articles, hyperlocal blogs, or social media profiles.

Urchin Tracking Module Urchin Tracking Module code is the code attached to URLs to enable the tracking of various actions. In local SEO, UTM codes are frequently used to track metrics surrounding Google Business Profile listings.

V

Velocity The rate at which a local listing or website gathers external references such as links, citations, reviews, or check-ins. Venice Update The Venice update to Google's algorithm, which happened in 2012, appeared to result in an increase in the number of local results being returned for generic queries, as well as altering the ratio of first page rankings given to distinct local businesses. Verified Listing Listing whose name, address, and phone number have been matched with the location on either Google Maps or Facebook Local. Verified Reviews Review from a customer that has made an online purchase from a business. Verified reviews provide a more trustworthy method for real customers to leave feedback on Google, and the option must be enabled from within the Merchant Center. Vicinity Update An unconfirmed Google update in 2021 appeared to focus on keywords in business titles and proximity.

Visibility A generic term is used to encompass a business's overall presence on the Internet.

Y

Yahoo! Local The local business listing center of Yahoo.com.


Yelp Founded in 2004, Yelp has become a dominant player in local business reviews. A publisher of crowd-sourced business reviews with over 100 million reviews worldwide.

YouTube Google's video-sharing platform is also the world's second-largest search engine. Local business owners can invest in creating video content that can be shared on YouTube as a social media strategy and form of advertising. YP.com The online version of a traditional Yellow Pages directory. Local search engines can crawl these pages for business information, which they can use to create clusters or associate citations with a business. Other terms: IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)

Z

Zagat Zagat is a restaurant rating service founded in 1979 and was acquired by Google in 2011. Following the acquisition, Google has used Zagat ratings in various ways.


Final Thoughts

The local SEO Glossary provided is an important tool to help you in optimizing your page. Local SEO is a critical part of your business growth strategy. Small business owners need to be familiar with local SEO because it can be very helpful in driving traffic and leads for their sites, websites, blogs, and even digital marketing efforts.


Creating a solid SEO strategy can be quite challenging in today's competitive market. It takes patience, time, and continuous skills upgrading to keep up with the trends.


Outsourcing your SEO requirements to a reputable company such as Wise Marketing Professionals enables you to get excellent services without additional manpower investment. An agency partner can provide numerous benefits, from lower overhead costs and the ability to quickly scale your digital marketing efforts to gaining access to the latest tools and industry expertise.


Set an appointment with Wise Marketing Professionals now. Let us discuss how we can help with your SEO strategy so that you can focus on growing your business.

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