Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, caused a bit of a stir amongst online marketers and SEO companies this week during a Google Webmaster Hangout.
In short, Mueller, responding to a question in the Hangout Chat, seemed to claim that Google does not use GPS coordinates as an influencer in local search results.
The listener’s specific question was inquiring as to how essential the use of GPS coordinates inside of the Schema.org structured data is to local search. The traditional thought process is that this structured data is a key influencer in Google’s local search designating an exact geographic point of business.
If a business operates in various locations but uses a centrally created website (which is often the case), GPS would seemingly play a critical role in deciphering the business whereabouts.
Or would it?
I have linked you directly to Mueller’s response where he seems to squash any knowledge of the use of GPS in Google’s local search.
As far as I know, we don’t use GPS coordinates in that regard. So if you have addresses on a page then that’s something I would mark up but as far as I know we don’t use GPS coordinates. So this here if your business is located in place where there is no actual postal address, I don’t know what we would do in a case like that. If that’s the situation for you then I would love to find out more. So feel free to maybe contact me on Twitter or on Google+ and I’ll try to figure out a little bit more with the schema.org folks on our side. If it’s really a matter of different business locations and you do have addresses then I would focus on addresses and not GPS coordinates.
The common thought process for SEO strategy has always been to include GPS coordinates as a part of the markup, so for Mueller to outright claim this is of no influence in Google’s local results is a bit bewildering.
In fact, Google recommends the use of GeoCoordinates on their main developer page (both latitude and longitude).
Often, just being in the location of the local business that’s not currently located in Google’s mapping system will speed up the process of inclusion by leaps and bounds.
Wouldn’t this serve as a testament to the fundamental importance of GeoCoordinates to local search? I think so.
Potentially, Mueller had a brain hiccup, or for some reason, didn’t feel comfortable discussing the matter with any depth. Google is a large corporation that’s always updating, changing, and adapting processes, so who knows what odd restrictions Mueller was potentially under during the Hangout.
I would recommend we keep on using GPS, however, because outside of Mueller’s strange response to a question, there is nothing substantial that should stop a process that’s proven beneficial to local search for some time now.
Improving local search is more relevant to businesses than ever.
2018 is setting up to be the year of local search as more and more businesses realize precisely how influential local markets are to the sales and branding of their products and services. The local SEO market is saturated with lots of offerings to remedy local search dilemmas, but most are seemingly not trustworthy.
It is always important to do your due diligence on any search engine company that claims they can improve your local search rankings.
Local search results page influencers continue to be authentic, trustworthy backlinks and high-quality content, as well as a website’s exposure to relevant, local directories. Additionally, online reviews can be critical in establishing trustworthiness among local shoppers.
Poor online reviews are typically neutralized by pleasant and compassionate responses via the business owner or manager.