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MIHMORANDUM
No. 426
June 26th, 2009


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The Guide to Australian Citations for Local Search

This article is part of a four-part series on International Citations, written by two Australian Local SEO’s:

Experienced Local SEO’s no doubt already understand the tremendous importance of citations for ranking well in Local Search, but may want to read the two previously-linked articles to understand the bigger picture around this article.

The Australian Local Search Market

Ash’s take:
The search market in Australia, as in Europe, is dominated by Google at around 90% of the market. Last November, the Australian search engine Sensis.com.au became powered by Google. With the launch of Bing, ninemsn (the MSN joint venture with Channel Nine) search results are now delivered at the bing.com domain. As for Yahoo!7 (joint venture with Channel 7), little has changed.

ninemsn (powered by Bing) has the advantage of being the Internet Explorer home page with every install of Microsoft Windows. Sensis search powers many portals of its giant telco parent Telstra, such as Bigpond, the dominant ISP.

As to what constitutes Local Search in Australia is open to debate. Hitwise includes Google Maps in its Business Directories classification, as well as narrow verticals. When Google rolled out StreetView, traffic (as measured by Hitwise) to Google Maps rose sharply and is characterised by sharp rises on weekends, suggesting to me that much of its traffic is for its maps and not the Local Business Centre.

Fabienne’s take:
My first comment would be that local search in Australia is evolving slower than it is in the USA. As you may know, Google local search has now incorporated Yellow Pages and it has created a lot of duplicate listings.

In Australia, and I believe this is the case in the US as well, I have noticed that the number of citations displayed in the “Web pages” tab of Google seems to vary depending on the industry. For instance, sites that are related to the tourism and hospitality sector (i.e restaurants) seem to get a large number of citations from related “review” websites (such as www.menulog.com.au, igougo.com, my247.com.au). Sites that belong to sectors in which user reviews are not (yet) that widely used do not seem to show any citations apart from within their own websites.

Specific Citation Sources

Ash’s recommendations:
These sites frequently show up as citations in Australia:

Bing Local Listing Center isn’t yet available here.

Map Providers
Map providers supply local listings as points of interest (PoI) to GPS device vendors. Here are the main players in Australia:

  • Google Maps, which powers Android devices and iPhone.
  • Whereis.com, which powers TomTom, Garmin, VDO, Uniden, Pioneer,
  • Street-directory.com.au, which includes a business directory (sign up).
  • Navteq (maps by PSMA), which powers Navman, Magellan, Asus, Route 66, Mio, Binatone, Kogan, Laser, Voxon

Fabienne’s recommendations:
In terms of the position within the 10 local search results, it seems that there are a few websites (that do not always get listed under the citation – web pages tab) that can make a difference. These are (in no specific order):

Some of the above-mentioned sites also rank high in the traditional SERPs for the business’s keywords but I am not sure of the influence that that has amongst local search rankings.

Thanks for the tips, guys!  Any other recommendations from Australian SEO’s?