How To Optimize Googe My Business
Did you know that 97% of consumers search online for a local business? Even better, 88% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit or call a store within a day?
Yes, it’s evident that consumers are increasingly searching for businesses near them. But the important thing to note is that if your name doesn’t show up in these search results, you can be pretty sure that you’re missing out on the opportunity to reel in more customers as well as more sales and $$$.
Local search is one of the most profitable ways for a business to interact with customers during their buying journey. But with SEO algorithms changing so often, you need to be on top of current trends. So if you haven’t brushed up on your local SEO skills this year, now’s the time to hop on board.
What’s the big deal about Local SEO?
Many of you are probably thinking that my website is already SEO optimized, so I’m in good hands. But hang on, local and regular or organic SEO are not the same. Organic SEO focuses on optimizing a website or landing page so that it shows up on search engines. Strategies include relevant keywords, high-quality content, exceptional site performance, seamless UI/UX, and much more. It’s the ideal approach for online stores that aim to drive traffic to their website.
To learn more about how to boost your current SEO campaign, read New SEO Trends To Help You Rank On Google In 2020.
On the other hand, local SEO focuses on the geographical component of a search by optimizing the location of a local brick and mortar business. Organic SEO is still essential, but by developing good local SEO as well, your brand has a greater chance of getting noticed, especially by individuals who are on the go and are in search of nearby shops.
So how does local SEO work?
SEO, whether it’s organic or local, works on a suite of search algorithms set by Google. However, for local SEO, Google uses an entirely different set of ranking factors to rank local search results, such as:
- The location of the individual who is searching
- NAP citations
- The presence of the business in Google My Business listings
- The use of keywords in Google My Business profile, title tags, and online reviews
- Google Maps star rating
- Sentiment of online reviews
- Number of “check-ins” at that location
- Shares on social media
But local SEO algorithms can change from time to time. For this reason, some companies turn to digital agencies such as Growth Proton to handle their local SEO. While they focus on running the business, these agencies improve local visibility and the probability of making new customers.
Your step-by-step guide for a better local SEO
We’ve compiled a checklist for you to master your local SEO campaign. So let’s dive right in.
NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) citations provide the essential information a consumer needs to know to contact the business. More importantly, it’s an important SEO ranking signal.
Google uses NAPs to confirm that all the data about a business is accurate. Moreover, it’s also one of the top SERP signals. That is why you need to ensure NAP citations are consistent everywhere, on and off your website. Remember, build citations only for businesses with real physical locations.
Tip: Use clickable phone numbers
Make it simpler for customers to contact you. In fact, Google rewards sites that offer this feature. So the easier it is to use the NAP information, the better it is for SERP rankings. Consider converting your business’s phone number into a link.
Get registered on online directories
Companies can appear in many local searches for free, so one of the first things to check off on your local SEO checklist is listing on search engines. In fact, they’re the ideal place to market your local business. But it’s crucial that you use their built-in features so that your business stands out immensely and helps drive more local traffic.
Input all the essential details about your business into a spreadsheet so that you can easily copy and paste them into each account. This assures that the information is always consistent. Any discrepancies in the data will be picked up by search engines, resulting in lower rankings. So check that all your information across every listing is accurate.
Begin with the most used search engines such as:
- Google dominates the share of mobile search traffic- over 85% globally. So it’s offering the biggest free online exposure for your business. Needless to say, a successful local SEO campaign starts with a Google My Business listing.
- Bing is the second most commonly used search engine in the U.S.
- Yahoo! Local is in the number three spot. However, it offers free and paid listing services.
You can expand your reach by listing your business in other places such as Yelp, Yellow Book, Facebook, and much more. Get a list of more online directories here.
Tip: Consider listing on review sites
Yelp is one of the most popular online review platforms. It’s the go-to site for consumers to get an honest insight into any business. In fact, 77% of online shoppers rely on reviews before making a purchase.
Maintaining a presence on review sites can make it easier for customers to decide what kind of service you provide. By replying to customer reviews and resolving their problems, you can help build a positive image as well as boost online reputation and authority.
Moreover, it’s also an excellent online directory for companies to use for marketing and advertising. Often, photos and brief blurbs about the business are uploaded.
Optimize for the Google 3-Pack
When users conduct local searches, Google displays the top three results for local SERP depending on the user’s location. These are, in fact, Google My Business listings relevant to the location from where a person submits the query. So if a person searched “coffee shops near me,” three shops near to the user’s current location would be displayed. And if the same search is performed a few blocks away, it will bring up completely different results or the same results but in a different order.
The aim is to appear in the Google 3-Pack. It’s an excellent way to draw attention to your business and facilitate engagement with consumers. Moreover, Google 3-Pack displays the address and business hours rather than the phone number, making it easier for mobile users to navigate to your location- and increase sales.
Tip: Optimize your listing
This ensures your business appears higher in search results by:
- Verifying the name and address to ensure they’re correct
- Providing contact information such as phone number and email address
- Listing opening hours
- Adding Map location point and directions
- Placing a link to your website
- Making sure all the information is correct and up to date
- Uploading photos to give your audience an insight into your business, including staff members, products, places of business, etc.
- Providing customer reviews
Remember, search results for a local business usually show up with a map of the local area as well as the above information. When all the data is available and accurate, it makes your business look reliable and legitimate, which plays a critical role in your local search result rankings.
List your business on map services
86% of consumers use Google Maps to search for local stores and nearby businesses. There are two major map services, Google and Apple Maps. Make sure your business links to both of them so that people can easily and quickly locate your business. Most phones come pre-installed with the app, and millions of people use the map app daily.
So the first thing is to get your business on the map. So search for your business in Maps, add it to Maps, and claim the listing. Remember that the status of your business’s ranking on Maps correlates directly to the completeness and accuracy of your information you list in online directories. For example, the more information you provide to Google, the more accurately it will be provided to the right audience on Google Maps.
Tip: Add links to Map Directions
You need to show people where your business is and how to get there. If you provide a link to Google Maps on your website, you are providing Google with additional information about your business, including its geolocation. And since location-based results are becoming more prominent in Google search, it’s a great way to boost rankings. Moreover, Google Maps comes pre-installed on every Android device. But almost 70% of iPhone users say it’s their favorite map app.
Optimize on-page SEO elements
Every aspect of your page needs to use keywords, whether that’s the page title, URL, page header, internal links, page content, etc.
Let’s break down the SEO checklist for local businesses a bit further:
You want people to remember your website easily. So make it simple and short. An URL with many digits and letters is not only difficult to remember, but it’s also confusing for people and search engines to understand what to expect on the page. So your local business can really benefit by using SEO-friendly URLs by making them appear more relevant to a search.
A title tag is a preview of a page. It’s the first thing your audience sees in search results when looking for a local business. So place the keyword at the front of the title tag to make your business stand out in search engines as well as staying relevant to a consumer’s search.
The title should be an accurate reflection of your page. So make sure the content on the page is relevant to the title. For example, if the title is “10 Tasks to Automate to Save Your Business,” then it should be a list, not a lengthy block of text.
Use keywords in the meta description to help your audience understand what your page is about.
Tip: Follow Google’s guidelines
Keep the title tag and meta description within the set limits. If they are too long, essential information will get cut off, leaving customers wondering about what to expect.
To capture the right audience, you need to get discovered. And backlinks are a great way to build a reputable online presence as well as generate more traffic to your site. The value of the backlinks is vital for local organic ranking and local pack ranking. So the higher the profile and credibility of the source publication, the greater the value of the link, such as .edu, .gov, and .org sites.
It’s imperative to cultivate local links to boost your visibility. This implies to efforts online as well as offline. You can raise online organic rank by creating outstanding content that attracts readers. Writing about local and industry news can help you win big points in the SERPs. Google rewards fresh, updated content. So even if nothing new has happened, comment on how local events or news could influence the industry.
While local online backlinks can help boost online visibility and increase traffic, offline efforts can also increase brand awareness and broaden your consumer base. This includes sponsoring local events, getting active in outreach programs, donating time and resources at community initiatives, and much more. Becoming a supporter of the local community is in itself great for your business.
Tip: Reel in the power of social media
Another easy way to boost online visibility of your local business is to build and maintain a strong presence on social media platforms. And with a network of loyal followers and local influencers, you can attract the attention and pique the interest of a wider audience.
Local search and mobile search are practically related. How many of you have searched for reviews, directions, or contact information for a local business while on the go? With 84% of all “near me” searches are on mobile, it’s obvious that your site needs to be mobile-friendly.
In fact, Google favors mobile-first indexing. So customize your design and content so that it fits on smaller devices, whether it’s images or forms. Make it easier for people to consume longer content by using bold headings, bullet points, and numbered lists. Add big CTA buttons. More importantly, utilize mobile phone capabilities in your favor, such as GPS, click-to-call functionality, QR codes, etc.
Tip: Make sure your website loads quickly
People on the move need answers fast. If your webpage doesn’t load within 2 seconds (though Google aims for under half a second), you’re losing customers. Your slow loading page could pretty much kill off your SEO campaign. And yes, speed also plays a significant role in SERP rankings.
You may feel overwhelmed by this comprehensive checklist. But with a step-by-step approach, you can focus on the most important aspects of local SEO. And the best news is that your efforts can bring about vast improvements.
So it’s time to work on improving your local SEO rankings, capture the right audience, and boost conversions.
Ready to get started?