Glossary of Local Search Terms and Definitions

For the inspiring Local SEO, let this list of common local search terms with easy-to-understand definitions serve as your glossary starter-kit.

# | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W

- # -

10-Pack
A term referring to the group of ten local business listings that appear adjacent to the large map of business locations in universal results. See also: 7-Pack , OneBox / Authoritative OneBox
7-Pack
A term referring to the group of seven local business listings that appear adjacent to the large map of business locations in universal results. On many screens , both 7-pack and 10-pack results push the index-based results below the fold. See also: Universal Search Results , 3-Pack , 10-Pack
3-Pack
A term referring to the group of three local business listings that appear adjacent to a map of business locations in universal results. See also: Universal Search Results , 10-Pack , 7-Pack , OneBox / Authoritative OneBox
+1
Google's response to Facebook's "Like." This is Google's largest step into true social search. See also: Like

↑ Back to Top

- A -

AdWords
Google's Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising program. When a search term is entered into the Google search bar, targeted Sponsored Ads appear directly below and on the right-hand side of the page. AdWords is a popular product among certified search engine marketing firms who manage Sponsored Ad campaigns. Pay-per-click fees may also be packaged as flat monthly fees. See also: AdWords Certified , PPC (Pay-Per-Click) , Sponsored Ads (AdWords)
AdWords Certified
Google AdWords Certification Program is a globally recognized stamp-of-approval showcasing knowledge of the latest AdWords tools and best practice techniques that allow for effectively managed AdWords campaigns. To attain Certified Partner status, companies must meet eligibility criteria which includes passing certification exams and illustrating expertise in managing AdWords accounts. See also: AdWords , PPC (Pay-Per-Click) , Sponsored Ads (AdWords)
Aggregator
See also: Data Provider , IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)
Alexa Rank (Alexa Traffic Rank)
A widely used barometer (on alexa.com) which refers to how well a website ranks in total Internet traffic as compared to sites worldwide and within the U.S. See also: PageRank
Algorithm
Google and other search engines use algorithms to rank webpages and information they crawl for a particular keyword search. These are closely-held (secretive) and constantly evolving formulas which try to establish order based on importance and relevance. See also: Local Algorithm / Maps Algorithm
Anchor Text
Descriptive word text contained within a web link. Anchor text can be used to improve the relevancy of the page the link points to. For example, "Indianapolis dentist" is more descriptive and relevant than "click here."
App
An application that performs a specific function on your computer or mobile device.
Areas Served
Google Places’ Areas Served is a feature in which home-based businesses can specify state, cities, ZIP codes, towns, or neighborhoods they service. Within Places, a business can opt to use this feature or Service Area, which alternatively allows “mapping-out” areas they serve.
Astroturfing
A fake grassroots campaign that seeks to create the impression of legitimate buzz or interest in a product or service at the local level. Astroturfing typically involves a business owner rewarding those who generate positive comments, reviews or posts via social media under a pseudonym.
Anchor Identity
The core local business listing attributes used by local search engines to evaluate accuracy of listing identities they have, with those appearing on other local search platform sites. Anchor identity is tied to the business's Name, Address and Phone (NAP). Consistency in NAP information is vital to increasing the number of local search platform citations (corroboration) and improving search rankings.
AdWords Express
Formerly Google Boost. See also: Boost (Google Boost)

↑ Back to Top

- B -

A link which points to a webpage from an outside source (external website). See also: Inbound Link
Boost (Google Boost)
Now known as AdWords Express. See also: AdWords Express
Bot
Also referred to as “Robot” or “Spider”. Refers to an automated script created by search engines to crawl and read webpage content. Many sites are structured purely to optimize what is understood of how the Google Bot crawls and indexes information. See also: Crawl
Business Title
Refers to the name of a business as listed on local search engines or Internet Yellow Pages directories. Business Title (“Name”) combined with Address and Phone Number (NAP), represent the identifying anchor of a business's online identity. It’s vital to any business’s local search strategy to keep all components of the NAP, most importantly Business Title, consistent across the Web.

↑ Back to Top

- C -

Claim
The act of verifying business information on a local search engine and taking ownership of the business listing. The claim, or verification process, (on sites like Google Places and Bing Local) often requires web entry of a PIN number sent via email or postcard to the business - which prevents hijacking by competitors. Claiming or creating listings tells the search engines they have accurate and up-to-date information and gives the business owner an opportunity to add additional details and optimizing their listing for targeted keyword sets and geographic areas.
Category
Also known as business type, Local Search Engines and online directories use categories to associate each business in their index. Many categories are based on the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS which includes over 2,000 possible categories. Google Places requires at least one category from its own index and allows up to four additional categories per profile - which may also be custom-created.
Centroid
A center point calculated by search engines which is often close in proximity to the geographic center of an area searched (city or neighborhood). Search engines sort and display local results based partially off the distance of a business’s physical address from the “centroid” of the area searched. In many cases, the closer a business is to the centroid, the more they benefit from this ranking factor. Google Places typically displays results for businesses located within a 13.5-mile search radius of the centroid of the area searched.
Certificate of Trust
A term used to describe a business’s virtual authenticity as perceived by a search engine. A “certificate of trust” can be established when search engines find a corroborating web of consistent and robust information about a business on relevant and trusted sites. Factors like regency, accuracy, certificate of trust and depth of content are the critical elements to supporting a business’ image and increasing “findability”. See also: Citation , Corroboration
Check-in
A web-based social announcement of presence at a physical location, most often at a business via a mobile device. Check-in technology was introduced to the market by Foursquare and now a popular feature on Facebook. Check-ins are a key component of most location-based services. When you check in, you are letting your friends know where they can find you or where you have been. Checking in allows business owners to offer rewards to customers who make these announcements.
Citation
A mention of a business name in close proximity to its address, phone number, or both. Used by the search engines to weigh both the accuracy and popularity of businesses in their indexes. See also: Certificate of Trust , Corroboration , Certificate of Trust , Corroboration
Cluster
A search engine's collection of local business information and location from all trusted and relevant data sources.
Conversion
When a prospective customer takes the marketer's intended action. This action can include sales of products, requests for information, membership registrations, newsletter subscriptions, downloads, or just about any activity beyond normal page browsing.
Corroboration
The act of corroboration, the strengthening of a business’s online identify by establishing supporting evidence of Name, Address, and Telephone (NAP) and other business details, as well as consumer input, from content published on sites deemed by search engines as trusted and relevant. In Google Places, for instance, each time the information contained in business’s NAP and description is on found other "relevant" sites, the listing gets a "citation" (award) -- generally speaking, the more citations, the higher the business ranks. This corroboration between relevant sites builds trust (“certificate of trust”), and the trust factor is critical to high-ranking. See also: Certificate of Trust , Citation , Local Algorithm / Maps Algorithm
Coupon
A specific online discount associated with a business listing. Coupons are a popular feature on many sites including Groupon, LivingSocial, Gowalla, Google Places, EZlocal, Twitter and Facebook Deals.
Crawl
The act of "reading" web pages by a search engine. See also: Bot , Google Places (Google Maps)
CTR (Click Through Rate)
A way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign. CTR is calculated by dividing the total number of users who “clicked” on an ad or web page by the total number of “impressions” (individual views). For example, if an advertisement had 1,000 impressions (views) and ten users clicked on it, then the resulting CTR would be 1.0%.

↑ Back to Top

- D -

Data Provider
A company that creates the underlying business database for local search directories. The most important U.S. data providers are Localeze and infoUSA. These companies "aggregate" data about businesses from multiple online and offline sources including phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerces, and many other sources. Data providers are also known as "data aggregators" See also: Aggregator , IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)
Domain Name
The name, and part of the URL, that identifies a website. For example, "ezlocal.com" is the domain name of EZlocal's website. See also: URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
Duplicate Content
Identical or even similar content displayed within a site or on different websites and results in penalties from search engines.

↑ Back to Top

- E -

EZlocal
A search site with weird amounts of local -- and a place where searchers can go to find things like pizza, a nearby mechanic and even a good mojito in one easy search step. The staff working at EZlocal also does a go-to job at managing AdWords campaigns and helping small businesses dominate local search rankings in Google Places, Yahoo! Local and Bing Local as well as relevant and high-traffic search directories, social networks, online maps and mobile devices.

↑ Back to Top

- F -

Findability
The likelihood of a business listing showing up in local search results based on consumer keyword query matches and other ranking factors. Also referred to as Visibility.

↑ Back to Top

- G -

Geo Sitemap
A page or invisible index within a site which directs search engines to KML files associated with the domain. See also: KML (Keyhole Markup Language)
Geotagged
A term used to describe the addition of text or media content (such as photos or videos) that are associated with a particular latitude and longitude coordinate.
Google Places (Google Maps)
Business listing pages within Google’s local search results. Within Google Places, users search for products or services offered by local businesses. In local search results, Places’ listings correspond with a map and usually take up the majority of the page. The business information shown to a searcher is the product of business details inputted directly by business owners as well as corroborating information retrieved and compiled by Google from multiple relevant sources across the Web. Previously known as the LBC (Local Business Center). See also: LBL (Local Business Listing) , GMB Listing
GMB Landing Page
The website page that a GMB listing links to. Typically the homepage or a location page.
GMB Listing
Google My Business ("GMB") Listing is the name for the primary listing on Google that is editable via the GMB dashboard and displays publicly on Google Search and Google Maps.

↑ Back to Top

- H -

hCard
A micro-format website code that allows local search engines to easily identify a business's NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) details within content on a page. See also: Schema Markup
Head Keywords
Highly-competitive, but also usually weakly-targeted (short-tail) keywords which generate the highest volume of searches (impressions). Usually either one word, or two word phrases, such as "restaurants" or "dentists", etc. See also: Impression , Keyword , Long-tail Keywords , Long-tail Keywords
Hotpot
Google Hotpot is a business recommendation engine for consumers. Google Places users can rate and comment on local businesses and share these ratings with friends within a network. In turn, Hotpot offers recommendations for new locations based on a user’s previous ratings.
hReview
Website code which allows local search engines to distinguish a business’s ratings and reviews from other content on a web page. See also: hCard
Hyperlocal
Used to describe local web content that is very specific to a particular neighborhood or town. Hyperlocal content is intended primarily for consumption by residents of that area and is typically created by a resident of the location.

↑ Back to Top

- I -

Impression
A single view of a web page or advertisement by a user. Generally speaking, the higher number of “impressions” the more potential there is for actions or clicks and conversions. See also: CTR (Click Through Rate)
A link from another web page (3rd party site) that links to your web page. Aside from generating traffic, the quality and quantity of inbound links are evaluated by search engine algorithms as a significant ranking factor in measuring the popularity and relevance of a web page.
IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)
The online version of a traditional Yellow Pages directory. IYP sites connect consumers with local businesses, providing things like business details, products and services offered, reviews, store-hours, driving directions and more. The business information on these sites is often crawled by local search engines and displayed in organic search results. In Google Places, information stemming from IYP’s often shows up as a “citation”.

↑ Back to Top

- K -

Keyword
A term entered by searchers to find businesses or websites on a search engine. Both search engine optimization and marketing involves identifying and using keywords to influence positioning of a web page or advertisement to target potential customers.
KML (Keyhole Markup Language)
Standardized geographic formatting of a physical address including corresponding latitude and longitude information. Google Places has been known to use KML files as citation sources for additional data about a business or businesses in its index.

↑ Back to Top

- L -

Landing Page
The web page that appears in response to clicking on a link or advertisement. Typically, landing pages are linked to Sponsored Ads (Google AdWords), email campaigns, contextual advertising or social media promotion. The general goal of a landing page is to convert site visitors into sales leads. Landing pages usually display directed sales copy related to the advertisement or link.
LBC (Local Business Center)
The former name of Google Places. Google re-branded the LBC in April 2010. See also: GMB Listing
LBL (Local Business Listing)
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 Place Page.
LBS (Location-Based Service)
A form of geo-tagging which is facilitated by social media interaction. A “check-in” is the key action of a location-based service and a popular feature on sites like Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter, and Facebook. See also: Check-in
Like
An action made by a Facebook user as a quick way to show approval for a post may by another user or entity.
Link Juice
The organic ranking potential passed via hyperlink from one page to another. Inbound links within relevant contextual copy from high-authority (high PageRank) web pages pass the most “juice”. See also: Backlink , PageRank
Local Algorithm / Maps Algorithm
The formula, and results returned by that formula, used by search engines for ranking business listings relevant for a particular geographic area. Local Ranking or Google Places Ranking = Distance Factor + Relevance Factor + Prominence Factor. This algorithm is distinct from the search engines' traditional organic algorithm which relies on other ranking factors and yields universal results containing website links. See also: Algorithm
Local Directory
A local search engine connecting consumers with nearby businesses. Local directories are search sites typically referred to as Internet Yellow Pages (IYP’s) and popular places consumers go to find information about businesses, rate businesses and read reviews. Example local directories are sites like ezlocal.com, citysearch.com, yelp.com, and urbanspoon.com. See also: IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) , LBL (Local Business Listing)
Local PPC (Local Pay-Per-Click)
A sponsored ad cost model allowing advertisers to pay for performance (clicks) by only being charged when a locally targeted lead is brought to their website or landing page. See also: PPC (Pay-Per-Click) , Sponsored Ads (AdWords) , AdWords
Local Search
Local search occurs anytime someone searches for a product or service with local intent (search term + a location). For example, searching Google for things like “pizza in Chicago” or “dentists near 60181” both constitute local searches. If a search engine already knows where you are located (by IP address), often times you do not even have to preference a location in your search query to get local results. Location awareness can also be activated on your cell phone -- but only if it’s “smart”.
Local-Social
The integration of social sharing within local offerings. Specifically, local-social interactions occur when “ready to buy” local consumers searching for a great deal or offering are captured through socially shared promotions.
Location Extensions / Local Extensions
An AdWords option that allows using business locations within Places as location extensions for existing AdWords ads. Location Extensions is a way for businesses to show up on a product or service search on Google Places by whatever geo-target is set on the campaign level. See also: AdWords , Google Places (Google Maps)
Location Prominence
Ranking factor term used by Google in explanation of its local search algorithm. Location prominence pertains to businesses which are identified as popular and prominent in their neighborhood based on a number of corroborating factors. Location Prominence is akin to PageRank in organic search.
Long-tail Keywords
Highly-targeted, low volume, and less competitive keyword phrases composed of three or more words that collectively are more specific than a single keyword (opposite of short tail keywords or broad search terms). Long-tail keywords are more likely to convert to sales than shorter, more generic keywords because there is less competition for them and the searchers using these terms are being more specific about the product or service they are looking for and therefore more inclined to buy when a match is found. Examples long-tail searches: "teeth whitening dentists chicago" and "affordable plumbing near 60181.”
Local Finder
The complete list of local results that appears when the "More places" link at the bottom of a local pack is clicked.
Local Pack
The local 3-pack that appears for most local search terms in the Google SERP.
Local Snack Pack
A style of local 3-pack that appears for hospitality, dining, and entertainment business types. Results include a photo, but no phone number or website links.
Local Sponsored Pack
A special pack type appearing in San Diego, CA for locksmiths and plumbers and for home services businesses in the San Francisco area.

↑ Back to Top

- M -

Map Maker
A Google Streetview application allowing users to modify online Google Maps in and around their neighborhood. Features include street-level perspective on places with editable points of interest, Street View imagery, and advanced search options allowing for heightened details.
Merge
Combining similar or separate/duplicate local business listings in search results into a singular profile and representation.
Meta Tags
Hidden code near the top of each web page that can optimize and provide keyword information to search engines about the content of the page.
MyMaps
A free Google Maps product offering that allows registered users to save particular physical locations and/or include a comment about each location. MyMaps are based on KML and being included in them may improve Local rankings. See also: KML (Keyhole Markup Language)

↑ Back to Top

- N -

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System)
A business classification system many search engines, IYP’s, and data providers base their own category systems on. Previous to NAICS, many data aggregates relied on the SIC code system.
NAP (Name Address Phone)
The anchor of a business’s online representation. Also referred to as the “thumbprint” of a business listing. Local search engines rely on NAP information to collect additional details associated with the business from other sources on the Web. Data providers rely on NAP to determine the accuracy of the data in their own indexes. It’s essential for businesses to have consistent and accurate NAP information across the Web to increase the number of citations and improve local search rankings.

↑ Back to Top

- O -

Off Listing / Off Page
Term used to describe elements of a business profile that local search engine algorithms use that are not directly associated with information in the actual business listing, or within the website specified in that local listing.
OneBox / Authoritative OneBox
Term for a type of Google local search result limited to one Places listing in the universal results, usually displaying a small map adjacent to the listing. OneBox business listings appear when Google is virtually certain they are the single most relevant local result for a keyword searched. OneBox listings are the "holy grail" of Local SEO.
Organic Search Results
Just like organic food you buy, “organic” in this sense, means “natural” results - meaning that when you Google something, the links that show up in universal search results are ranked by “non-paid for” methods. Google, and other search engines, use their own search algorithms to determine which results are the most to least relevant per whatever search query is entered. For local searches, Google ranks businesses based on three factors: relevance, prominence and location.

↑ Back to Top

- P -

Prominence
A factor local search engines use to rank businesses based on measuring how popular or established they may be in a particular area. Search engines look for corroborating information from a wide variety of relevant and trusted sources to establish prominence - or lack thereof. In particular, Google Places offers “citations” which are included in a business’s profile to indicate where they found corroborating information about that business from.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
An advertising option Google and other sites and search engines offer where advertisers can display ads on a site and pay a fee for every unique click their ad receives. The fee per click usually depends on a number of factors like how desirable the location of the ad may be.
Postcard Verification
One of the methods Google Places uses to verify a business by way of the claiming process. Google mails out a postcard to the business address with a unique PIN number which is to be entered into a web form to complete the process.
Popularity
A ranking factor used by local search engines to quantify how established and favored a particular local business is in their community and beyond based on a number of factors like the number and quality of citations, check-ins, ratings, reviews.
PageRank
A Google patented method for measuring a web page’s relative importance ranging from 0 to 10, 10 being the best - based on Google's link analysis calculations. Google figures that when one webpage links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page.

↑ Back to Top

- Q -

QR Code
A QR code (short for Quick Response) is a specific matrix bar-code (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR bar-code readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

↑ Back to Top

- R -

ROBO (Research Online Buy Offline)
Term used to describe online shopping behavior characterized by those who use the Internet to research local places, products and services. ROBO is the preferred method of local transactions, supported by the fact that 51% of online shoppers explicitly characterize their behavior as shop online, buy offline.
Review
A customer’s summary of their experience at a particular business. Reviews are popular on local search engines with many local directories being best known as “review sites”. Examples of popular review sites are Yelp, Angieslist, Zagat, Urbanspoon and Tripadvisor.
Rating
An overall customer experience assessment of a business, often graded on a scale of one star (poor) to five star (excellent), based on the level of recommendation to others. Ratings are popular on many review sites and local search engines and directories.
Relevance
The degree to which a business listing or website matches the intent of a searcher's query or keyword phrase. Google explains that the factors it takes into account when serving up local listings are relevance, prominence and distance to your search query. For example, a popular restaurant may rank highly in local results for search terms like “restaurants” or “mexican food” but would not necessarily be considered relevant for “bars” or “breakfast,” even though they are closely related terms. See also: Local Algorithm / Maps Algorithm

↑ Back to Top

- S -

Structured Citation
Mention of NAP (business Name, Address and/or Phone number) on a relevant IYP or directory site. Unlike an unstructured citation, which appear simply as a one-time reference on a blog or other hyperlocal site. See also: Schema Markup
Streetview
A Google Maps technology that allows searchers to explore places in their neighborhood and all over the world through 360-degree street-level imagery.
Sponsored Ads (AdWords)
Advertisements displayed when a keyword query matches an advertiser's keyword list. These ads are also called sponsored links, and appear adjacent to or above organic results on search engine results pages. Google AdWords is the largest network operator. Cost per click (CPC) varies depending on the level of competition for keywords.
Specialty Field
Term for a custom field associated with a local business listing. Often used to list specialties.
SMM (Social Media Marketing)
A marketing strategy that relies on social networks and online communities like Facebook, Twitter, and Digg to engage an audience about a topic or shared interest and achieve product or service branding, marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.
Short-Tail Keywords
See also: Head Keywords
SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
The page that shows up on Google or any other major search engine after a search query is made. The SERP contains a list of links to websites as well as paid advertisements, business listings, videos, images, news, social media or any other content that best matches the query.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The process of improving the visibility of a website or a web content in the “organic” or un-paid section of search results -- content that appears in universal search results. SEO encompasses all different kinds of search, including local search, image search, video search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
A form of Internet marketing focused on promoting websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, social media and search engine optimization (SEO). SEO focuses on organic/natural search rankings, while SEM encompasses all aspects of search marketing.
Search Query
The word or phrase you enter into the search box of an engine to find relevant results. A local search query simply adds a demographic modifier to any product or service searched.
Schema Markup
Schema.org Structured Data (often called "Schema") is code in the form of tags (or microdata) that you can add to a website's HTML to improve the way it appears in SERPs. Similar to rich snippets.

↑ Back to Top

- T -

Title Tag
Web page code that search engines use to identify what a web page is about. Title Tags are often displayed as actual text in the link to a web page. Including keywords in the Title Tags is important for organic rankings. Including location-specific keywords in Title Tags helps local rankings.
Tags
Non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to web content. Tags are a form of meta-data that help describe information and allow it to be found again via search. Tags are usually assigned informally by the item's creator or by its viewer, depending on the system.

↑ Back to Top

- U -

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
The address of a web page on the world wide web (example: http://ezlocal.com).
Unstructured Citation
Mention of a NAP (business Name, Address and/or Phone number) on a blog, press release, social media profile or hyperlocal website. An unstructured citation basically consists of any NAP mention outside of a business directory.
Universal Search Results
Term for “organic” website results displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Any kind of website content relevant to a particular keyword will be listed in context with a link to the specific web page.

↑ Back to Top

- V -

Verify
See also: Claim
Velocity
A local ranking factor that refers to both the speed and duration at which a local business listing accumulates citations, such as reviews, social media references or check-ins. Local search engines look for a consistent velocity over a sustained period of time, rather than all at once, as this indicates a particular business is not manipulating the system.

↑ Back to Top

- W -

Web Analytics
Reports containing analysis of the website or marketing campaign performance through use of performance tracking technologies.

↑ Back to Top