One of four primary data sources of local business data for all major search engines in the United States. See also:Infogroup, Localeze, Factual
Google’s pay-per-click advertising program. See also: PPC (pay-per-click)
As it relates to domains, web pages, local business listings, reviews, citations, and other local SEO factors, age is believed to have some influence on search engine rankings.
A company that maintains and supplies the underlying business database for local search directories. The most important U.S. aggregators are Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual. These companies compile data about businesses from multiple online and offline sources including phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerce membership rosters, and many other sources. An aggregator is also known as a “data aggregator” or “data provider.” See also: IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)
A special formula used by search engines to rank webpages in order of importance or relevance for a particular keyword search. See also: crawl, spider, local algorithm / local results, organic algorithm / organic results, universal algorithm / universal results
Amazon Home Services
Amazon’s lead generation program via which is acts as a middleman between service-oriented businesses, like handymen, and homeowners who need to hire a contractor.
Any tool or program that tracks user behavior, such as traffic to a website, duration of visits, and conversions. Google Analytics is a popular product. Within the Google My Business dashboard, the latest iteration of analytics data is called Insights.
The text contained in a web link. Descriptive words in link text can be used to improve the relevancy of the page to which the link points. For instance, “Minneapolis plumber” is more descriptive than “click here.”
A prominent user review website. An important citation source for many businesses, especially home services. See also: citation, review
Apple’s mobile mapping application.
In local SEO, the term “audit” if often used to describe a thorough analysis of an aspect of a company’s marketing. This could include a citation audit, a content audit, or a competitive audit.
An historic term for a single Google Places listing displayed by a large map embedded in a traditional search result page. In the past, considered the “holy grail” of local search optimization, but not as common today. See also: universal algorithm / universal results, OneBox, Google Places
A general term used to describe the influential power of a domain, a website, a citation source, a review, or other entities. Search engines are said to view some resources as being more authoritative than others, meaning that authoritative sources have an enhanced ability to influence rankings.
Best Of The Web
A major local business directory for U.S. businesses. Business owners can create a listing for free. See also:citation
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. See also: citation
Bing Places for Business
Bing’s local business component. Users can create listings for their businesses.
blended search / blended results
An historic term for search engine results that combine both organic factors See also: universal algorithm / universal results
A form of web-based publication that allows readers to interact with the publisher via commenting. One of the most popular blog platforms is WordPress. A blog can be a component of a website or act on its own as a complete website. See also: social media (SM)
In the local search arena, the term brick-and-mortar is used to indicate a business model operating within a physical building. Examples of brick-and-mortar business models include dental clinics, restaurants, and retail shops. 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. Different rules have historically governed these two types of business models in the local search arena.
A technical flaw in a digital medium. In local search, bugs may arise on major local business platforms like Google My Business. It is then up to the affected platform to resolve the bug.
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. For example, a business might bulk upload 1,000 of its locations to Google My Business all at once, instead of manually creating 1,000 individual listings one-at-a-time.
Sometimes simply called “description.” Describes a field provided for a text description of a business on a local business listing. Length and rules about the types of content one can include in the business description field vary from platform to platform.
The name of a business—specifically the name of a business as registered at one of the major local search engines or online Yellow Pages directories. Combined with physical address and phone number, the business title represents a third of a business’s online identity See also: phone number, physical address, NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website)
call tracking number
A phone number used to measure the success of specific marketing efforts and to determine the source of leads. For local businesses, call tracking numbers must be implemented carefully to ensure they don’t cloud the clarity of the company’s basic business data, thereby harming its ability to rank well. Good solutions for safe call tracking now exist. See also: NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website)
CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)
A type of website code which allows for easier page editing by designers and faster processing of HTML by search engines.
A term used to describe a system of industry classification. In creating local business listings, companies are prompted to categorize themselves as being associated with a specific industry (e.g. dentist, HVAC, Italian restaurant). 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. Proper category choices are essential to Google’s local rankings. See also: custom category, NAICS (North American Industry Classification System)
A concept in the local search industry used to define a central point of geography or activity. Understanding of the centroid has evolved significantly over the years as Google’s weighting of specific ranking factors has changed. The centroid was initially defined as the geographic center of a city, with ranking benefits being perceived for businesses physically located near that point on the map. The concept of the centroid then broadened to include the concept of “industry centroids” as a ranking factor, as it was perceived that there could be one centroid located in a city’s auto dealer row and another centroid in an area hosting multiple medical centers. At present, the most common understanding of the centroid is that it has been transformed into a descriptor of human users. Wherever a user is physically located at the time 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”.
A digital announcement of a customer’s presence at a specific physical location, often a business. Check-ins are the key component of many location-based services including Foursquare, Facebook, and Yelp. Check-ins can be used as a vehicle for both tracking customers and rewarding them with special offers.
A complete or partial web-based reference to a business’s name, address, phone number and other core data. 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. For a complete understanding of the role of citations in local SEO, read Local Listings and SEO. See also: directory, IYP (Internet Yellow Pages), unstructured citation
The marketing practice of auditing, cleaning up, and building citations for a local business on a variety of local business data platforms. The fundamental impacts of proper citation management have led to the development of citation management software products that reduce manual work while minimizing error. See also: citation, service area business
city landing page
Most commonly refers to page on a website providing information about a specific location of a business, most typically in the multi-location business scenario. Also called “location landing pages”, city landing pages can be useful in helping a local business achieve search engine visibility in multiple cities, while also offering content that has been carefully customized to a specific geographic audience. City landing pages may also be used by service area businesses, like plumbers or house painters, to showcase their work in a variety of cities where they offer services, despite lacking a physical location there. See also: landing page
The act of verifying one’s business information with a local search engine and taking ownership of the business listing at that search engine. Reduces risk of hijacking by spammers or competitors. Often involves a PIN setup process with the search engine, platform, or app.
click-through rate (CTR)
The rate at which users click on an advertisement, link, or other search engine result. CTR is one metric used for measuring the success of online campaigns. In the case of local businesses, it’s hypothesized that specific types of clicks on Google My Business listings can positively impact rank. These would include clicks-to-call, clicks-to-website, and clicks-for-driving-directions.
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.
CMS (content management system)
A complex platform of computer code that allows a website to be easily edited or managed by someone with no knowledge of computer code. Popular content management systems include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. See also: site architecture, HTML (HyperText Markup Language), WYSIWYG
Publishing identical core business details across the web. In particular, the consistency with which local business NAP information is published influences search engines’ trust in the validity and accuracy of this data. The publication of consistent business information also safeguards against consumer misdirection and customer loss. See also: NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website)
The process of convincing a website visitor to call, email, or visit a business offline—i.e., convert to a customer, or the process of successfully bring a potential customer to and through the point of a transaction. See also: landing page
In local SEO, a special offer made to customers via online listings, website or apps.
The act of a search engine reading a page. See also: spider, algorithm
As of April 2, 2013, the Google Places for Business dashboard ceased to accept custom-written categories. Business owners must select pre-set categories only. Other local business indexes, however, may still allow the business owner to custom-create categories that describe what their business is. See also: category
A field in a local business listing set aside for adding information not covered by the standard fields, for example, brands carried, years in business, or the availability of on-site parking.
A company with an explicit contract to supply local search engines with underlying business information. In the U.S., the major data providers are Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual. See also: aggregator, IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)
Any website which lists business names and contact information in an organized fashion, typically in alphabetical order or by business type. Directory information is frequently assimilated by the local search engines. See also:IYP (Internet Yellow Pages), citation
The web address or homepage of a particular business or organization. Examples: JoesPlumbing.com, PortlandDentists.com, etc. Domain names are reserved and purchased from domain name registrars. See also:WHOIS, URL (uniform resource locator)
It is speculated that requests for driving directions on applications like Google Maps count as user behavior, and may indicate the popularity of a local business and thus, have some effect on rankings. See also: user behavior
A problematic scenario in which more than one listing exists on a given platform for a single entity. In particular, Google allows only one listing per location, and intentional or accidental violation of this policy can lead to penalties and ranking issues. Steps must be taken to resolve duplicate listing issues. Automated solutions like Moz Local can help you discover and permanently close duplicate listings. See also: Guidelines for representing your business on Google
A major social sharing platform. Local businesses can create a Facebook business page, complete with location and contact information, and utilize this profile to interact with customers and potential customers. See also:social media (SM), Twitter, Facebook Local Search
One of four primary data sources of local business data for all major search engines. See also: Acxiom, Infogroup, Localeze
A structured, automated list of content or data produced by a website. Feeds were created in order to allow users to subscribe to website updates. See also: RSS (really simple syndication), XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
Most commonly used in the online marketing arena to describe parameters used by search engines to limit the prominence of certain types of data. For example, a review platform might hide reviews deemed to be of low quality, or search engine results might filter out web pages associated with undesirable link acquisition patterns. See also: penalty
A type of website code which allows for complex graphics and animations, but is difficult for search engines to read and understand. In 2017, Adobe announced that by 2020, it would no longer support or distribute Flash. See also: CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
An adjective describing a piece of text content or other media content tagged with geographic attributes.
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. See also: PPC (pay-per-click)
Google Business Photos
Interior photography of local businesses taken by Google Trusted Photographers. This photography can be turned into a virtual tour intended to enhance local business data.
Google Home Service Ads (HSA)
Google’s gradual rollout of a paid lead generation program in which Google acts as a middleman between Internet users and service-oriented businesses.
An historical term for a former Google application that allowed users to enhance Google Maps by adding and editing mapping information. Google MapMaker was closed down in 2017. See also: Regional Expert Reviewer (RER)
Google’s proprietary mapping service.
In local search, a function of the Google My Business dashboard which enables business owners to text message with their customers.
Google My Business
The current branding of Google’s local product.
Google My Business Forum
A section of the Google Advertiser Community dedicated to public questions and answers related to Google My Business. The forum is moderated by volunteer Top Contributors and is frequently visited by Google staff. See also: Google My Business Top Contributors
Google My Business Forum Top Contributors
Commonly referred to as TCs, Google My Business Forum Top Contributors are volunteer participants who provide assistance to forum users. TCs have direct contact with Google staff and can sometimes escalate issues toward resolution. See also: Google My Business Forum
An historic term for a program that allowed local businesses to promote daily deal specials to purchasing customers. Google Offers was closed down in 2014.
An historical term. For many years the brand name of Google’s local product, now named Google My Business. See also: claim, Place page, LBL (local business listing)
Google’s social network, launched on June 28, 2011. Pronounced and sometimes written as “Google Plus.” Formerly integrated with Google’s local product, Google+ and the product currently known as Google My Business were formally separated by Google in 2015. Google+ can still be used by local businesses as a social platform.
An historic term first used in 2012 as the branding of Google’s local product, now known as Google My Business.
A function of the Google My Business dashboard enabling a business owner to instantly post micro-blog-style content to their Knowledge Panel.
Google Questions and Answers
A function allowing local businesses to post FAQs to their Google My Business dashboard generating a display of this information on a limited number of platforms. Also allows the public to ask questions directly of the business and receive answers.
Guidelines for Representing Your Business on Google
These guidelines describe Google’s rules and policies for businesses seeking inclusion in Google’s local index. Violation of any element of the guidelines can result in penalties, including removal from the index.
A tool that enables users to monitor consumer trends and the popularity of targeted keywords. Can be a useful supplementary keyword research tool for local SEO campaigns.
A business, such as a plumbing or house painting company, that serves clients at their own locations, rather than at the business’s location. See also: service area/service radius business, brick-and-mortar
An early form of microformatting code See also: microformat
Very competitive, usually weakly targeted keywords with a high number of searches. Usually either one word, or two word phrases, such as “lawyers,” “Portland dentists,” etc. See also: keyword, long-tail keywords
The bold headlines on a webpage. Also known as H1, H2, H3, or Hx tags. It’s a best practice to include keywords in the overall language of these tags, though their power relative to other on-page SEO elements is believed to have lessened significantly over the years.
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. Listing highjacking has led to legal prosecution.
Founded in 2006, HotFrog maintains an index of local businesses. Business owners can create a free business listing at HotFrog. See also: citation
A special kind of website code for marking up reviews. See also: microformat, hCard
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)
A type of website code which is easily read and understood by search engines. HTML is the original programming language used on the Internet. See also: CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), Flash
A link via code from another website into your own website. 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 as well. See also: anchor text, link juice
One of four primary data sources of local business data for all major search engines. See also: Acxiom, Localeze, Factual
Branding of the analytics component of the Google My Business dashboard. See also: analytics
internal anchor text
Anchor text on a link from a page on your own website to another page on your site. See also: anchor text, link juice, on-page, site architecture, outbound link
A link from a page on your own website to another page on your own website. See also: anchor text, link juice, on-page, site architecture, outbound link
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. See also: citation, structured citation, directory, cluster, data provider
A term entered by searchers to find businesses or websites on a search engine. Keyword See also: long-tail keywords, short-tail keywords
KML (Keyhole Markup Language)
Standardized geographic formatting of an address with corresponding latitude and longitude information. A KML file refers to a set of one or more locations coded in this format. See also: Webmaster Central
The page that a searcher first encounters when clicking through from a search engine result or online advertising. In local search, local landing pages (a.k.a city landing pages or location landing pages) seek to deliver a fully customized experience to a particular user, such as a customer in Boston vs. a customer in Dallas. It is a best practice to build a unique and powerful landing page for each location of a multi-location business. See also:conversion, local algorithm / local results, PPC (pay-per-click)
The online marketing practice of acquiring inbound links to a given web page. Google’s organic algorithm relies heavily on links as an indication of relevance. Quantity, quality, and velocity of links are thought to have significant influence on local search rankings. See also: link juice, inbound link, internal link, outbound link, SEO (search engine optimization), velocity
Slang for the organic ranking potential passed from one page to another via a link. See also: organic algorithm / organic results, anchor text, inbound link, internal link, outbound link
The speed at which any web page loads onto a user’s browser. It is speculated that loadtime may have meaningful influence on organic search engine rankings and, to some extent, on local search engine rankings.
local algorithm / local results
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. This algorithm is distinct from the search engines’ traditional organic algorithm. See also: algorithm, organic algorithm / organic results
One of four primary data sources of local business data for all major search engines. See also: Acxiom, Factual, Infogroup
LBC (Local Business Center)
An historic term once used as the branding of Google’s Local product. The Google LBC was rebranded as Google Places in April 2010 and then rebranded again as Google+ Local in May 2012, only to be rebranded again as Google My Business in 2014. See also: Google+ Local
LBL (local business listing)
Generic term for a page on a search engine, IYP, or directory containing basic and enhanced business information for a local business. Google’s version of a local business listing is now known as a Google My Business listing. See also: Google+ Local, IYP (Internet Yellow Pages), directory
local search ranking factors
1) The components that contribute to the rankings of a local business. 2) Created by David Mihm, Local Search Ranking Factors is an annual survey of expert local SEOs. From the survey, an annual report is generated identifying factors deemed to play a major role in local search engine rankings.
local SEO (local search engine optimization)
Specialized online marketing that increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically-related keywords. A large component of local SEO is ranking well in the local algorithms. It is also important to rank well in the organic results for local keywords. See also: SEO (search engine optimization), local algorithm / local results, organic algorithm / organic results
A local search marketing seminar with events in numerous U.S. cities. Speakers include recognized experts in the field of local SEO.
LBS (location-based service)
A form of geotagging that facilitates or is facilitated by social interaction. The key action of a location-based service is a check-in. Popular location-based services are offered by Twitter, Foursquare, and Yelp. See also:check-in
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. See also: PageRank, local algorithm / local results
Low-volume, highly targeted, less competitive phrases used by searchers to find businesses or websites at a search engine. Examples include “portland oregon dentists for root canal infection” or “cheapest teenage driver car insurance waco tx.”
A local business directory with an international presence. Business owners can create free profiles at Manta.com. See also: citation
maps algorithm / maps results
See local algorithm / local results.
An AOL mapping platform with significant early adoption due to its early online rollout. See also: citation
A local business directory where business owners can create free business profiles. See also: citation
1) The accidental merging of the details of two distinct business listings. 2) The intentional merging of duplicate business listings so that only a single listing exists on a given platform. See also: cluster, LBL (local business listing)
A handcrafted snippet of text that can be included in a tag near the top of the code for each webpage. This text sometimes appears beneath your title tag in organic search results if it matches one or more of the keywords for which the user has searched. Well-written meta descriptions usually include keywords and persuade searchers to click through. See also: title tag, meta keywords, organic algorithm / organic results
A list of keywords included in a tag near the top of the code for each webpage. Because of susceptibility to spam, major search engines don’t use the meta keywords tag to evaluate the relevance of a page, and these tags don’t influence ranking. Title tags and meta descriptions remain very important, however. See also: title tag, meta description
The generic term for hidden pieces of specially structured code near the top of each webpage that can provide more information to search engines about the content of the page. See also: title tag, meta description, meta keywords
A special kind of code that allows search engines to more easily parse the content inside the code. Popular microformats include schema and hCard for address and contact information, and hReview for rating and sentiment information. See also: schema, hCard, hReview
A free Google Maps product offering that allows registered users to save particular physical locations and/or include a comment about each location.
Typically refers to accessing the Internet through a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet computer. Mobile has become a major medium for local search activity.
A Google application that enables users to organize content such as maps, ratings, and check-ins that have unique importance to them. See also: KML (Keyhole Markup Language), local algorithm / local results
A term used in the internet marketing industry to denote a widely publicized, but faulty, assumption. For example, it is a common myth that stuffing a meta keywords tag with keywords improves search engine rankings.
natural algorithm / natural results
See organic algorithm / organic results.
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. See also: category, data provider, IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)
NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website)
The “thumbprint” of a business online. Local search engines use NAP information found by crawling the web or received from data providers to judge the accuracy of the data in their own indexes. Consistent NAP information is essential to getting more citations and improving search engine rankings and is critical to local customer acquisition.
off-listing / off page
Adjectives that describe criteria the search engines use in their local algorithm that are not directly associated with a local business listing or with the website specified in that local listing. See also: citation, inbound link, MyMaps, KML (Keyhole Markup Language)
An historic term describing a type of nonstandard search result. OneBoxes sometimes show local results, image results, video results, or news results. OneBoxes first appeared at Google when they announced the advent of universal search, which returns all kinds of content relevant to a particular keyword, rather than just web or text content. See also: universal algorithm / universal results, Authoritative OneBox
Adjective used to describe criteria that you can control and adjust on your own website to improve search engine rankings. See also: title tag, internal link, site architecture, header tags
organic algorithm / organic results
The mathematical formula traditionally used by search engines to rank websites in order of importance and relevance. Distinct from universal or OneBox algorithms, including local. See also: universal algorithm / universal results, OneBox, local algorithm / local results
A link pointing from a page on your own website to a page on another website. 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. See also: link juice, anchor text, inbound link, internal link
The practice of responding to a consumer review as the owner of a business. Most of the top review platforms support owner responses, facilitating a vital form of reputation management.
A term roughly correlated with the quality, relevance, and popularity of a page. he equivalent of location prominence in local search. See also: location prominence, link juice
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. See also: penalty
A photo sharing site formerly owned by Google but closed down in 2016. Local business owners used Panoramio to geotag images as an enhanced form of local data. See also: geotagged
Any type of negative action taken by a search engine against a website or profile as a result of violations of published or unpublished policies. In local SEO, violation of any of the Guidelines for representing your business on Google can result in a penalty that can lead to a drop in rankings. See also: Guidelines for representing your business on Google
A status notation in the Google Places for Business dashboard indicating that a listing has yet to be approved. There have been numerous reported instances of listings sitting in “Pending” status for extended periods of time, sometimes due to technical problems on Google’s part. It is also common for new listings to be marked as pending for several weeks. See also: Guidelines for representing your business on Google, penalty
An update to Google’s organic algorithm released in April 2012, primarily targeting link acquisition practices not approved by Google. See also: penalty
Combined with business name and physical address, the phone number represents a third of a business’s online identity See also: business title, physical address, NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website), citation
One of several methods for claiming a local business listing on a location data platform like Google or Bing. Postal and email verification are other common claiming options. See also: Google+ Local, Bing Places for Business, claim
Combined with business name and phone number, the physical address represents a third of a business’s online identity See also: business title, phone number, NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website), citation
Online photo sharing technology owned by Google that was shut down in 2016. See also: geotagged
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. See also: Google Maps
An historic term formerly describing a local business listing on Google, now called a Google My Business listing. See also: Google+ Local, LBL (local business listing), claim
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.
One of several methods for claiming a local business listing on a location data platform like Google or Bing. Phone verification is another common claiming option. See also: Google+ Local, Bing Places for Business, claim
Generic term for paid advertising programs at major search engines in which businesses are charged a fee when a searcher clicks on their advertisement—as opposed to a fee based on the number of times their ad is shown or a flat monthly fee regardless of visibility.
Terms typed into a search engine by users seeking products or services. Website optimization and marketing should take these terms into account. See also: keyword
The distance between two points. In local search, proximity may 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. See also: centroid
A numerical assessment, often on a scale of 1-5. In local search, most frequently refers to consumers’ star ratings of a business’ quality.
The degree to which a certain business or certain website matches the intent of a searcher’s keyword. In local search, a particular business must be considered by the search engines to be relevant for a particular keyword in order to rank for that term—but typically cannot rank for terms for which it is not considered relevant. For instance, a popular restaurant may rank first in local results for “restaurants” or “fine dining,” but would not necessarily be considered relevant for search terms like “bars” or “pubs”—even though they are related terms. See also: algorithm, local algorithm / local results
A customer’s text summary of their experience at a particular business. Reviews can be left on search engines, via location-based services, apps, or websites — and are often simultaneously assigned numerical ratings. Google-based reviews are believed to impact Google’s local rankings. See also: hReview, structured review, unstructured review
The practice of encouraging and responding to consumer reviews, either manually or with the help of software.
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.
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. Google, in particular, has fluctuated in its policies regarding the use of review stations, both approving and discouraging their use at different points in time. Review stations are currently not permitted by Google, and reviews left via these devices may be removed. See also: review, Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines
Rich snippets are small amounts of data from markup such as microdata or microformats that appear as a component of a search engine result. Rich snippets might include text, star ratings, price ranges, and other factors. See also: schema, microformat, KML (Keyhole Markup Language)
An automated script created by a search engine to “read” webpages. See also: spider, crawl, algorithm
RSS (really simple syndication)
Bare-bones computer code that many content management systems produce when content is created or updated. RSS feeds allow readers to subscribe to websites and receive a ping or an email when they are updated. You frequently see RSS subscription icons on blogs. See also: XML (eXtensible Markup Language), CMS (content management system), feed
A form of markup supported by the major search engines. Local business websites can utilize schema.org markup to ensure that core business data is easily and fully understood by search engines. See also: microformat
SEM (search engine marketing)
An umbrella term for improving the online presence of a business via a variety of techniques. In local search, SEM can include everything from citation management, to content development, linkbuilding, review management, and more. See also: SEO (search engine optimization), local SEO (local search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click)
sentiment / sentiment analysis
The qualitative component of a customer review. Google has experimented over the years with extracting and analyzing reviews for quality of experience, and for some business types often excerpts phrases like “expensive” or “good service” and displays them prominently on that business’s Google My Business listing. See also: review, rating, Google+ Local
SEO (search engine optimization)
Improving the presence of a business and increasing its number of customers via all non-paid forms of search, such as organic, local, and mobile. See also: SEM (search engine marketing), PPC (pay-per-click)
SERP (search engine result page)
A page containing a list of websites and any of the following: paid advertisements, business listings, knowledge panels, images, videos, news, or other media that best match a keyword. See also: universal algorithm / universal results, organic algorithm / organic results, PPC (pay-per-click), local algorithm / local results
Typically used to describe specific neighborhoods, towns, or radii served by service area business models, like plumbers, housekeeping services, or landscapers. Some local business listings allow business owners to list cities served in text or to draw a radius of service with a tool. See also: Google+ Local, LBL (local business listing), custom field
service area/service radius business
A term frequently used to describe go-to-client businesses that travel to customers’ locations to render services, such as plumbers, electricians, and carpet cleaners. See also: go-to-client, brick-and-mortar
An historic term describing a once-dominant form of Google’s local results, containing seven businesses. The 7-pack is no longer active, having been largely replaced by the 3-pack, and in some cases, by paid or partially-paid packs. See also: universal algorithm / universal results, local algorithm / local results, OneBox, three-pack (3-Pack), ten-pack (10-Pack)
Common term denoting positive actions or affirmations made by users of a social media site. People can ‘like’ or ‘share’ data to express approval of the content. See also: Facebook, social media (SM)
See head keywords.
General term for the organization or hierarchy of a particular website; can also refer to the programming language or content management system that the site is built in. Site architecture, especially a site’s internal linking strategy, is extremely important to consider in organic SEO. See also: internal link, organic algorithm / organic results, CMS (content management system)
A list of all pages on a website, sometimes submitted to Google Search Console. Essentially a site outline that search engines can read easily. See also: KML (Keyhole Markup Language), Webmaster Central
SMB (small-to-medium business)
In the United States, designation as a small business is defined by the size standards found in Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In the online marketing world, SMB is loosely used to describe both small and local businesses.
social media (SM)
Media utilized for social interaction on the Internet. This can include blogs; sharing sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and review sites like Yelp and other interactive platforms. In the local business arena, social media factors are playing an increasingly important role in online visibility. See also: blog, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Local Search
Another term for a custom field associated with a local business listing. Often used by owners to list their business’s specialties. See also: custom field, Place page, LBL (local business listing)
Can refer either to the robotic script created by a search engine to “read” webpages See also: robot, crawl, algorithm
An application within Google Maps which provides 360-degree photographic imagery of an area specified by the user.
A mention of a business name and address and/or phone number on an IYP or directory website. Structured citations may or may not be coded in hCard microformat or schema, but typically appear in a pattern that is easy for search engine spiders to read. Differs from an unstructured citation, which may appear as a one-off reference on a blog or other hyperlocal website. See also: citation, unstructured citation, hyperlocal
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 hReview microformat, but typically appear in a kind of pattern that is easy for search engine spiders to read. 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
A major Internet Yellow Pages website. Local business owners can create a listing at SuperPages. See also:citation, IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)
A status notation in the Google My Business dashboard indicating that a listing has been suspended due to guideline violations, bugs, or other issues. See also: penalty
An historic term describing a once-dominant form of Google’s local results, containing seven businesses. The 10-pack is no longer active, having been largely replaced by the 3-pack, and in some cases, by paid or partially-paid packs. See also: seven-pack (7-pack), universal algorithm / universal results, local algorithm / local results, OneBox, three-pack (3-Pack)
Unlike reviews left on third-party platforms, testimonials are typically customer sentiments published by a business on its own website. Testimonials may be marked up with hReview microformatting or schema to enhance the ease with which search engines can understand testimonial content. See also: microformat, review
1) Can be used to describe any web-based data about a business that is not published by the business itself. 2) In reference to Google’s local products, “third-party” is often used to refer to data stemming from any location other than a business’s website or its Google My Business listing.
Currently Google’s dominant form of local search results, consisting of three businesses. Note that as Google increases its revenue opportunity from paid search, many formerly-free 3-packs are becoming partially or fully-paid packs of results. See also: seven-pack (7-pack), universal algorithm / universal results, local algorithm / local results, OneBox, ten-pack (10-Pack)
A piece of webpage code that the search engines pay special attention to when deciding that webpage’s relevance. On a traditional SERP, the text of a webpage’s title tag is contained in the link to that webpage. If you’re on a Windows computer, the title tag of a webpage appears in the blue bar at the top lefthand corner of of your screen when you are browsing the internet. On a Macintosh, the title tag usually appears at the top middle of the browser screen, in a silver bar. Including keywords in your website’s title tags is very important for organic rankings; many experts feel that including geographic keywords in your website’s title tags is important for local rankings. The most sophisticated use of title tags is implemented when they contain keywords, but couched in more natural, persuasive language chosen to improve clickthru rates. See also: organic algorithm / organic results, meta tags, meta description, keyword, SERP (search engine result page)
Founded in 2000, TripAdvisor is a major review and citation source for restaurants and hotels on an international scale. See also: review
An important but hard-to-quantify ranking factor in both organic and local algorithms. Trust can be gained via the following: consistent NAP information, citations and links from high-authority platforms, and the developed authority of a brand’s website, itself.
A social media network on which users share short text-based messages See also: social media (SM), Facebook, Facebook Local Search
universal algorithm / universal results
An historic term used to describe the type of results Google began to roll out to transform their original “ten blue link” default results pages into rich media sets, including local results, video results, news results, knowledge panels, answer boxes and more. See also: organic algorithm / organic results, local algorithm / local results, OneBox, seven-pack (7-pack), three-pack (3-Pack), ten-pack (10-Pack)
A mention of a business name and address and/or phone number on a website that is not an IYP site or other traditional directory containing standardized listings for many other businesses. Examples would be a newspaper or magazine article, hyperlocal blog, or social media profile. See also: citation, IYP (Internet Yellow Pages), directory, hyperlocal
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 would be a newspaper or magazine article, hyperlocal blog, or social media profile. See also: review, IYP (Internet Yellow Pages), directory, hyperlocal
URL (uniform resource locator)
Common acronym for the address of a webpage, such as https://www.moz.com . See also: landing page, domain name
Any online action taken by an user, including clicking on search engine results, time spent on a web page, leaving a review, using a check-in service, asking for driving directions, and many other factors. The extent of influence user behavior has on actual search engine rankings remains a matter of speculation and debate.
The speed at which a local listing or a website accumulates outside references, such as links, citations, reviews, or check-ins. Most experts believe that a consistent velocity for each criterion—rather than a flood—indicates to the search engines that a business is vibrant without trying to be manipulative. See also: inbound link, citation, review, check-in, LBS (location-based service)
A 2012 update to Google’s algorithm that appeared to increase 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.
The process of confirming your online business listings. See also: claim
A generic term used to encompass the overall presence a business has established on the Internet. Local businesses seek visibility via search engine rankings, social media profiles, review profiles, and other platforms. See also: social media (SM)
A purchased address not physically occupied by a business. The most popular virtual office provider in the United States is Regus. The Guidelines for representing your business on Google forbid the use of virtual offices for businesses seeking inclusion in Google’s local index. See also: Guidelines for representing your business on Google
An historic term used to describe the free service offered by Google for users with a Google account to claim ownership of a particular website. This terminology has now been replaced by “Google Search Console”. See also:Google Account, KML (Keyhole Markup Language), sitemap
The contact information kept on file by a domain registrar for the official owner of a domain name. Can be made private, but public WHOIS information may be viewed by the local search engines as a particularly trusted citation. See also: domain name, citation, URL (uniform resource locator)
Originally released as a blogging platform, WordPress has become a popular platform for the development of whole websites. See also: blog, CMS (content management system), social media (SM)
Stands for “What You See Is What You Get.” Usually refers to interfaces in content management systems that allow someone who doesn’t know computer code to create and edit webpage information. See also: HTML (HyperText Markup Language), CMS (content management system)
XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
Bare-bones computer code that is very easy for search engines to read. XML is similar to HTML, but is not really intended to be read by humans. Sitemaps are usually uploaded to Google Search Console and are in XML format.
The local business listing center of Yahoo.com.
Founded in 2004, Yelp has become a dominant player in the world of local business reviews. Most local business owners will wish to create a Yelp profile and actively respond to both positive and negative reviews as a core form of modern customer service. See also: review, rating, social media (SM)
A video sharing platform owned by Google and cited as the second largest search engine in the world. Local business owners may invest in the development of video content which can be published via YouTube as a social media tactic and form of advertising. See also: social media (SM)
An Internet Yellow Pages website to which local business listings can be added. See also: IYP (Internet Yellow Pages), citation
A restaurant rating service founded in 1979 and acquired by Google in 2011. Google has made experimental use of Zagat ratings in a variety of ways following the acquisition. See also: review, rating