Local SEO Services Google My Business
Local SEO Services
GET NOTICED (A very quick overview)
The cornerstone of local SEO solutions is Google My Business listing optimization.
That being said, this is only the first step in local Search Engine Optimization. There is still a lot of things that can be done to your local seo service.
People are likely to search for products or services that they need right now. By virtue of that, these people are more likely to look for local businesses to meet that need. It makes sense to buy locally for a variety of reasons.
But your website must be correctly optimized for LOCAL searches to appear in the top results. This type of traffic is highly valuable because it has the highest conversion rate.
Do NOT, however, ignore the power of Organic Listings
Done properly, Local SEO boost your number of organic listings on Google.
Our affordable SEO Service aims to do just that. And by doing that we can give your business a tangible, massive boost.
Contact Us Now for a FREE Audit
Google Local Seo – What Is The Google Map 3-Pack?
Whenever a user searches for a product or service, they are presented with the results page. This page consists of a set of initially sponsored ads, followed by three businesses listed on Google Maps. These are then followed by the „organic results“. Additionally, the local businesses are accompanied by a Click to Call icon.
This is, without doubt, the most valuable place to rank in. The combination of it being organic (i.e. not sponsored), and Click to Call link produces unparalleled results.
Ranking in the top three „Google Maps 3-Pack“ gives your company that local search exposure that can’t be achieved in any other way. The results of this, in our experience, can be up to 10 times more calls and leads into a business!
Ranking in this set of results is oftentimes more important for local businesses than ranking for that same keyword globally. In fact, you will often find that these businesses don’t even show up in keyword searches that aren’t locally defined.
The reason this is so valuable is that people searching for a local business are looking for a very quick solution. This makes them the likeliest buyers overall.
Before we begin with our tips, let’s run over the basics together.
First things first, you need an audit. This will give you a clean, clear overview of what needs to be worked on.
Second, making sure your mobile optimization is on-point. Users are about 61% more likely to contact you if your page is mobile-friendly. And remember that a majority of searches are done on mobile devices.
Add to that, according to Google, 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone also visit a business within 24 hours. As well as the fact that 28% of those searches result in a purchase, and you see how you can gain immensely from this. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool is a convenient way to check this.
Improve your local ranking on Google
Below you can find a summary of best practices, as recommended by Google.
Manage your business
Local results appear when people search for places in their area. The search then takes into account their physical location. Based on that criterium, as well as the search term, they are given local results. These consist of a number of places across both the Maps and the Search tab.
You are probably familiar with this if you have ever searched for a nice restaurant. If you type in, say, „Italian restaurant“, Google will try to show you several options in your proximity.
You can improve your business’s local ranking by using Google My Business.
If your business doesn’t show up, update your info.
Your business might not appear for relevant searches in your area. A great first step to remedy this is to update your business information. Reliable and regularly updated business information in Google My Business can help improve your visibility in Search and Maps. In order to maximize your visibility as-is, you can follow this checklist in Google My Business.
Enter complete data
When choosing the most relevant businesses, the search algorithm looks for specific information that is in some way related to the search query. Without accurate and complete business information, it simply has nothing to look for.
Enter all of the business information you think might be relevant for your potential customer. This helps the search engine understand what your business is. It also helps your customers know who you are, where you are, and what you do.
Some basics are, of course, your physical address, your phone number, business category, and relevant attributes. If there is other relevant information, don’t be afraid to add it. You can always edit it if some problem arises, and you can check out how to do that here. Finally, keep all of it updated regularly.
Tip: Google offers the option to edit business information for 10 or more locations at once. This can save you some valuable time if you create a bulk upload spreadsheet.
Verify your location(s)
Google pays a lot of attention to the reliability of their information. This is especially true for locations. To avoid non-existent or fake businesses popping up, they naturally prefer verified locations. You can read up on how to get your business location verified here.
Keep your hours accurate
Having your opening hours displayed visibly and neatly is an absolute must. Also make sure to update them as necessary, e.g. for special events or holidays. You can find out how to handle the editing of your hours here.
Manage and respond to reviews
Engaging your customers and responding to their reviews is a great way to show that you care. Customers need to know that you value their trust and that you are willing to accept constructive criticism. Make sure that your replies are friendly and polite above all, and your customers are sure to appreciate it.
Candid positive reviews from your customers are the best advertisement you can get. In no way should you take this lightly. Encourage leaving feedback as much as possible, and try to listen to your customers both when the review is positive and even when there was a problem. You can read up a bit more about handling feedback here.
A picture tells more than a thousand words. And most people are visual types anyways.
Taking the time to make some high-quality pictures of your business will make it more appealing for any customer. When they are in a rush to find a place, they are more likely to pick out the one that looks good on photos.
Some businesses may even consider hiring a professional photographer for this purpose. You can get further information on photos in this context here.
How Google determines local ranking
Local results take into account all the regular SEO factors. However, they include three other criteria that are important for local ranking in particular. Those are relevance, distance, and prominence.
This means that you still have to strive to optimize your page in general. But also try to gain prominence (through reviews and recommendations, number of visitors, etc.), and relevance by providing pertinent business info.
Relevance is the metric that compares the info about your business with the search term. Through complex algorithms and language interpretation, Google connects them based on meaning. So, make sure all the pertinent information is typed in and available to the search engine to find.
Distance is determined in one of two ways. Either the user types it in, or Google measures the distance from the user. Don’t worry too much about this, since there is no effective way of controlling it.
Prominence is in essence popularity. Some places might be well known locally, although they are not very prominent online. Google tries to reflect this in local results. Local landmarks, museums, etc. are also likely to be prominent in Google’s terms, and might turn up in search results.
This is a reflection of how well-liked your business is locally. So to answer this criterium, just do your best to keep your customers satisfied. Gradually your prominence rating should reach ever-higher levels.
There is, however, a caveat to this. Prominence is partly determined by the information that Google can find about your business on the web (like links, articles, and directories). Reviews and positive ratings are just the most noticeable section of this subset of information. Google also factors in your ranking in „regular“ web results. Therefore, general SEO practices still apply.
Local SEO ranking is also a bit of an art form, more than a science. Because Google is notoriously secretive about their criteria, we can only surmise best practices from what has been proven to work. As an example, here’s a quote from Google.
„There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the details of the search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.“
Improve Internal Linking Structure
External links, i.e. backlinks are preferred. Internal links, however, are more easily adjustable and can still be very important.
Why does internal linking matter? It does the following:
- Makes website navigation easier
- Helps create a comprehensive information architecture and website hierarchy
- Distributes page authority and ranking power among pages
The best place to start improving on your internal linking structure is Kissmetrics’ The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top-Notch SEO.
Optimize URL, Title Tags, Headers, Meta Description, and Content
Every new piece of context is another indexed page for your site. By that virtue, it is also a new opportunity to target a specific geographic search phrase. As well as an opportunity to get featured high on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Having great content is the best first step in optimization. The technical SEO work can then be done by including high-volume keywords in strategic positions. For example, the URL, title, header(s), meta description, or in the body text where relevant. If you don’t have any inspiration for new content consider highlighting customer success stories or case studies.
Add Location Pages to your Website
If you have several business locations, consider setting up location pages. Location pages provide readers with crucial information about your business. This includes your name, address, and phone number (NAP), opening hours, unique descriptions, parking information, promotions, testimonials, etc.
Something to keep in mind is that duplication is never good. If you operate out of a single location, just create a locally descriptive About Us page. Having an integrated Google map embedded on this page can do wonders, whether you have one or multiple locations.
Create Local Content
Google’s algorithm gets better at interpreting language all the time. This has enabled content creators to write for the audience, instead of for a machine. It has also lead to more generalized writing. Writing about general topics attracts huge crowds, but sometimes a smaller following can be better. Especially with local audiences, getting a loyal grassroots following is the goal.
Try to focus on onto your industry and hone those skills to perfection. Become the local authority on those matters. Try to promote local gatherings, news, employees or other useful content on your page. Try to include content that is important and relevant in your field, even when it’s not something you sell.
Creating helpful resources and valuable content for your potential local business partners can be a great way to boost your online presence. A map of local service providers or a calendar with the most important events in your city can be a great way to do this. It helps improve your brand image and it also contains relevant on-page local signals.
Engage with Directories
Now that you have read up on how to optimize your business for Google My Business, and how to update your website for an internal SEO boost, we can move on to a different set of issues. Below you can check out how NAP consistency, directories, and inbound links can help you get that number one spot on local searches.
Name, Address, Phone (NAP) Consistency
Keeping your NAP updated regularly is paramount. You don’t want customers to dial the wrong number and never manage to contact you. Neither do you want Google’s engine to recognize outdated addresses and penalize you in rankings. Try to include this information as easily accessible, crawlable HTML text on your site.
A common mistake people make is including the NAP only within an image. Search engines still can’t recognize this type of information on a picture. Therefore, it cannot be crawled via a search engine, like HTML text can. The standard placement of this information is in the footer or header of your site.
Optimize Online Directories and Citations
The biggest chunk of map data in the USA is provided by these four map data aggregators. Their information is used by companies like Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google, Trip Advisor, and many others.
- Express Update
- Neustar Localeze
- My Business Listing Manager
Consistency is once again paramount. Make sure that your citations are consistent and complete across all four of these aggregators. Discrepancies can be problematic because they are contradictory.
If Google isn’t sure which set of information about your business is factual, it will want to avoid it in its search results. In this sense, make sure to delete any duplicate listings you may find. Another tip is to emphasize a Chamber of Commerce membership which will give you an easy backlink.
Get Inbound Links with Relevance and Authority
Inbound links (or backlinks) are arguably the most important aspect of SEO in general. By Google’s standards, every backlink is examined and given a rating. The higher quality the backlink is, the more you are likely to get ranked higher. It also counts towards your Authority rating. Here are some ways you can get backlinks:
- Sponsorships or Partnerships
- Guest Blog Posting
Try to start out with your personal network, which may include the Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, licensing bureaus, trade associations, resellers, vendors, and/or manufacturers and other affiliates.
Sponsoring a webinar, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, or building relationships with celebrities (whether local or otherwise) is a great place to start as well. Being comfortable in asking to be featured is important here. Don’t shy away from reaching out to your business partners to see if they can feature you on their sites.
Be a guest blogger,
You can conduct interviews with other people in your industry, or promote other people that have done good in that field. Try to provide resources and information for the community. This is a great win-win strategy both for you and the community. And communities usually recognize it and promote business owners who give back in this manner.
The highest domain authority is held by .edu links. Use this to your advantage by featuring a scholarship in your geographic region, if you can.
This is another great way of giving back, while doing something relevant to your industry, and improve your domain authority. It also has the benefit of making you feel good on the inside.
You can get more info on how to start a scholarship outreach in this article by Moz.
Engage with Social Media and Add Posts to Google My Business
Social media has become increasingly important for businesses across the years. Love it or hate it, you have to use the benefits or you will lag behind. Try to share your My Business page on social media, promote your content, and interact with customers. This should help you get more shares, more traffic, and further align your social and search presence.
Local SEO Tools
You have now read about how to optimize your business for local SEO. As you can see, there are many things to pay attention to. And there’s also a number of things we haven’t talked about yet. However, there are tools out there that can help make your life a little bit easier. Here are some of them.
- Whitespark Local Citation Finder. A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. This service does exactly what it says. Once you find your citations, you can then manage them properly. And active and regular management of your information boosts the trust both search engines and partners have in your business.
They have a free starter version and a popular $24/month option. What this adds is local listing management, listing recommendations, competition analysis, and a robust overview of your citation growth.
- Screaming Frog. This software crawls the website’s links, images, CSS, script, and apps from an SEO perspective. It can, for example, find any 404’s you might have, or point out missing meta descriptions or H1s.
They offer a free analysis of up to 500 URLs, and the unlimited paid version is $200/year.
- Moz Local. Moz has been an authority on SEO issues for a long time. This program is noted for being less expensive than most of its counterparts, while still providing a great service. The basic package is $99/year, and the professional version is $179/year. It handles your verification on Google and Facebook, distributes your listing across the search ecosystem, and collaborates with data aggregators. All this works together to help push you higher in the rankings, and promoting better visibility for your business.
- Ahrefs. Ahrefs checks your backlinks. This is important because backlinks are like vouchers for the authority of your website. They also offer competitor analysis, keyword research, and anchor text insight for pages that backlink to your site. Their starter version costs $99/month and they have a standard option with more features that costs $179/month.
- Buzzstream. Another service that has to do with backlinks, BuzzStream helps you earn local backlinks. This should help you identify and build relationships with local influencers with features such as influencer research, conversation tracking, and providing insight into your outreach campaigns. They have a $24/month starter package and a professional suite at $299/month.
- BrightLocal. BrightLocal is a comprehensive suite of various SEO tools directed towards local business needs. It’s a great all-rounder option that covers most of your needs. It can help you generate and monitor reviews on local sites, understand your local search performance, and analyze competitors. They offer client access and white-labeled reporting – making it a great fit for agencies and brands.
Local SEO Organic Rankings
If you’re a local business, you want to be in the 3-Map Pack.
With that being said,
You can’t completely ignore traditional results for local searches.
Local organic results do show up only below the 3-Map Pack.
However, ranking in the local SERPs is valuable as well. Because most local searches have outstanding commercial intent (i.e conversion rates), you want to show up anywhere you can.
They also have the advantage of staying the same for any Google SERP regardless of location/distance.
Google: My Business Profile [Your Website]
Last year Moz ran its annual “Local Search Ranking Factors Study“.
What they found is that your Google My Business Profile is the top factor for ranking in the map pack.