Google has been improving their search algorithm to send local results to users. With mobile getting more and more important you can’t miss the opportunity to use all the new SEO techniques to embed location information in your pages.
Google continues to make note of the local updates in their Inside Search Blog. Some highlights for February 2012:
More locally relevant predictions in YouTube. [project codename “Suggest”] We’ve improved the ranking for predictions in YouTube to provide more locally relevant queries. For example, for the query [lady gaga in ] performed on the US version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in times square], but for the same search performed on the Indian version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in India].
Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.
Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.
Using rich snippets and location information with schema.org markup is a great way to make your pages stand out in local searches. Sometimes, all you need for local search could just be the city name in your page title or content e.g. “Houston Web Developer.” Also note the continued improvements to rich snippets by Google:
International launch of shopping rich snippets. [project codename “rich snippets”]Shopping rich snippets help you more quickly identify which sites are likely to have the most relevant product for your needs, highlighting product prices, availability, ratings and review counts. This month we expanded shopping rich snippets globally (they were previously only available in the US, Japan and Germany).
Local search optimization is a deep topic, but sometimes just doing the simple things like using schema.org markup, tagging pages with city information, and setting up a Google Places page can really do a lot.