If you have a local business, then optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile is a requirement to differentiate from the competition. Signing up for GMB significantly increases your chances of appearing in Google’s Local Finder, Local Pack, Google Maps, and organic search rankings. Local businesses on GMB can list their address, phone number, business hours, types of accepted payments, and other company information.
Google continually adds new features that allow companies to further enhance their profile to maximize the searcher’s attention while improving your search engine ranking. Beyond creating a profile and utilizing Google’s tools to reach your customers, it is important to implement best search engine optimization (SEO) practices to appear in the local pack and rank higher on search engines. This can be accomplished by including the following information in your profile:
What is Considered Local SEO?
Local SEO is an effective method of marketing your business online to local customers. Using SEO practices, you can promote your products and services in relevant online searches. The more optimized your website, the higher your search rankings which equates to more customers. There are numerous concepts you can implement to ensure the greatest number of eyes see your website, business information, location, and products and services.
Local searches typically include the words, ‘near me’ which prompts search engines to understand that the user is looking for local information. When a user utilizes Google Maps for their search, this always displays the products or services in closest proximity to the user. This greatly differs from a generic search in which the most optimized sites will appear first without a relevant location to the user.
How Does GMB Play a Role in Local SEO?
Like a search engine inquiry, GMB uses numerous factors to determine business rankings with the three most important being:
Distance is a commonly-known factor for local rankings. Companies cannot rank in local searches when they are not within the local pack. While distance-alone will not rank you high, unless your company is the only game in town, it will rank you highly when using all three of these tips together.
Prominence relates to the activity associated with your listing including local content, number of reviews, events, news, etc. This also delivers high-quality backlinks to your website which improves search rankings. The main takeaway is that no customer or search engine likes a dead profile so keeping it updated is critical.
Relevance defines if your business fits the search intent for the customer. For instance, if you enter the search term, ‘Greek food near me’ and McDonald’s appears, then that is not relevant to your search intent. The point is that vagueness does not rank well so it is best to maintain a focus.
9 Tips to Make Sure Your Local SEO Campaign is Successful
Most searchers click one of the first few listings in a local map or organic search results. Most users do not venture beyond the first page of results. With local search, most potential customers need answers immediately so if your business does not rank near the top, that searcher is not going to become a customer. However, there are nine primary methods you can implement to be in those first couple of results, including:
One of the most important tips for SEO success is acquiring backlinks from other local companies. Backlinks occur when an individual links to your website from their own. Having backlinks from local, authoritative, high-ranking websites will help your local SEO campaign. A good way to do this is by sponsoring a local event and sending out a press release to the community. News outlets will pick this up and link back to your website.
Claim Local Map Listings
If you have multiple business locations, then the GMB list will be essential to growth. When customers need directions to one of your locations, they need your address. When indexing your business with local and national directories, make sure to claim local map listings for each location. This ensures customers can find your business and even see the outside of your building through Street View.
Create Content Silos
Content silos are like regular websites only they target a specific area. Every silo has area-specific addresses, phone numbers, and websites or pages. These silos should be consistent in design and functionality only cater to specific locations.
Ensure Your Site is Well-Optimized
One bad website experience equates to an 88% chance of the user never visiting again. This means your website must be secure, fast, easy-to-navigate, and provide an overall optimal user experience.
Optimize for Local Searches
To optimize for local searches, you must optimize onsite content, page titles, title tags, and meta descriptions for the target keyword and city and create multiple products and service pages.
Asking satisfied customers to post reviews on sites like Angie’s List, Google, Home Advisor, Houzz, Yelp, and many others informs other potential customers to know you can be trusted. This helps identify your site as being authoritative.
Submit Business to Local and National Directories
Submitting to local and national directories go together as both are important. Local and niche directors go a long way in local site optimization so ensure you are part of the Better Business Bureau, local Chamber of Commerce, industry-relevant directories, and other local online indexes. National directories include the Yellow Pages, Mantra, Hotfrog, etc. as the major search engines look for your listing in these locations.
Use Responsive Design
Responsive design, which is making your site viewable properly on any device, has become the norm so if you do not have it then the competition wins. Also, your mobile search results, which most people use to find locations and information, will be suppressed by Google.
Utilize the Schema Markup Language
The Schema Markup Language is universal coding that is added to all websites when picked up by search engines. The language reports back the exact details and content of your website ensuring your business’s information is being accurately read resulting in more precise local search listings.
Options for Running a Local SEO Campaign for Your Business
You have three options for running a local SEO campaign, including:
Hiring an internet marketing agency is the sweet spot between DIY and in-house experts. You can select the exact services required including, GMB management, logo design, pay-per-click management, SEO, website design, social media marketing, and reputation management. Agencies can do as little or as much as you want. Best of all, you do not need to pay salaries, benefits, holiday pay, vacation pay, and bonuses for the teams of people working on your account.
The do-it-yourself option is the least expensive but also the most work since you must do most or all the work. To ensure you rank within the local pack, you must optimize your GMB profile, index your NAP (name, address, phone number) with local and national directories, and gather local reviews. Also, all the mentioned SEO tips must be implemented while local link building progresses over time.
Having an in-house SEO expert allows you to remain in control of the content and process throughout development. Also, you get the benefit of a dedicated employee who is fully immersed in your products and services. In-house SEO experts can collaborate with the rest of the team and can even take on additional responsibilities. However, this is the most expensive of the three options.
By following these tips, your business will rank higher in the local search engine rankings which will improve visibility and lead to larger growth. If you want to outsource the work, contact BizIQ to discuss various packages for local SEO and decide which one best fits your needs.