The importance of localized search results can no longer be ignored. Google is putting even more emphasis on local SERPs with one of its 40 changes for February 2012. The change is called Google Venice. This update to Google’s search algorithm “improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.” This means users will now be seeing local results when they search broader short-tail keywords.
One of the ways to improve your local rankings is to add a KML file to your site. KML files are what Google Earth and Maps (and other mapping services) use to determine your business’ exact address as well as its longitude and latitude. Once you upload this file to your site and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools, your site will appear in Google Earth, Maps, etc. But how do you create a Geo Sitemap?
First, we suggest using the Geo Sitemap Generator. You can either upload your CSV file to the site or enter in your company’s information manually. It’s important to know that if you are entering your address, phone number, etc. into Geo Sitemap Generator manually that you make your description is keyword rich. Localized search is more important than ever before, so it’s crucial to include local keywords in your description. Here’s an example for a fictitious metro-Detroit heating and cooling company: XYZ Heating & Cooling repairs and installs furnaces, hot water heaters, air conditioning units and generators for metro-Detroit commercial and residential residents. The example is short and sweet, but it has all the major keywords displayed. The description also has the company name (XYZ Heating & Cooling), localization (metro-Detroit) and the different services and products offered.
Once you have created and uploaded your Geo Sitemap and KML file to your website, submit it to Google Webmaster Tools. This will let Google know exactly where your site’s KML file is so that it can index it within Google’s mapping services. SEOmoz has a great diagram that shows how all of these different components interact with one another: