A local search listing appears on the first page of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for a search that includes a local search term. (Eg. See the image above for “Car Hire Cape Town”) These listings are very important to businesses where your physical location is important to your service offering.
To load your free listing onto these pages you require a Google Places page where you can load company information such as contact and address details, services, working hours, photos & videos, as well as pinpoint your businesses location on a Google map. You don’t even need a website to create a Google Places listing!
Your ranking within the local place page results is determined by the number of positive ratings for your page, and the relevance to the keyword searched. Your places page also comes with a dashboard to measure activity, actions and top search queries which is great for analysing the effectiveness of your listing and performing ongoing optimisation.
Image search is probably the most popular search vertical, and has been around on the Google SERPs for the longest. As in the example above optimised images appear within the search results and link through to an expanded image with the page that contains the image. Images in the SERPs are a great way of grabbing and holding a searchers attention over the standard results.
Image optimisation is very similar to optimising a web page. Your keywords should be loaded in the image filename, alt tag, the text around the image, and image link anchor text. Images should also be interesting enough to encourage users to share and link the content.
Your video search listing in Google’s search results generally appears in the lower part of the page with links to your YouTube videos as well as a thumbnail and basic video detail. Video optimisation can be done within the YouTube video information editor on your channel or profile. Be sure to include all your researched keywords into the video filename, title & description, as well as video tags. Try to also include the word “video” on the page with your embedded video, as well as the HTML surrounding the video as well. You can also create a XML video sitemap to ensure your videos get noticed by Google.
Videos also encourage interaction with your brand, and comments and social shares will certainly increase the visibility of your videos, so be sure to offer methods of easily sharing and embedding your video. Well produced videos are also an excellent method of quickly explaining your service offering or concept.
With Google+ on the scene social search is now becoming essential to maintaining an effective ranking in the SERPs. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ profiles are featuring often in the first page of results, as well as +1s from your Google+ friends.
In the screenshot above I’ve included an example of results received when you are logged into a Google+ profile. When logged in you also have the option of +1’ing a result, and also viewing your own and friends +1 and page view data. Pages that have been +1’d by you or your friends will obviously appear higher in the rankings, so offering social sharing options on all your content pages is becoming essential for content distribution, and link building.
Although there are several other search verticals available on Google (News, Shopping, Blogs) I feel the above are the most important Google search verticals. Please let us know in the if you feel differently, or feel free to add others in the comments section below.