Search Engine Optimization July 19th, 2021
Local SEO, or short for Local Search Engine Optimization, is the strategy that helps businesses with a physical location gain more online presence in local searches on the unpaid results of a search engine (think showing your Google My Business listing – aka Google Maps Listings). Customers searching for particular products and services often want to find nearby businesses that can provide what they want or need.
It should always be top of mind for businesses to strive to let prospective and existing customers find the most current information about the business in the quickest and easiest way possible. This has become increasingly important in recent years due to the growth of mobile internet access.
If you own a dental office, for example, you would want to show up for a local query if a user searches “dentist near me” on their phone while in your geographic proximity. The goal is to have your listing show up in the “Local 3 pack,” which is the map result that appears with what Google believes are the top 3 most relevant listings.
In order to achieve this, consistent effort needs to be made on content, on-page optimizations, review management, link building, and more. This branch of SEO practice not only helps your listing climb up in rankings and grow your reputation but also helps your business stand out against competitors in local search results.
After claiming your free Google My Business listing, ensure that you always keep the essential details on your listing up-to-date, such as your contact information, business hours, and more. Misinformation can often lead to bad customer experience and missed sales opportunities. Then take this one step further by building citations across the web that mention your business name, address, and phone number (commonly referred to as “NAP”).
You can do this by listing your business information on some of the more reputable online directories and authoritative websites that are relevant to your business, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, local chambers of commerce, and so on. Many of these outlets also allow for more than just your basic NAP information. Some also give you an opportunity to provide a short description, add a company logo, and more.
These local citations help Google while crawling the web to verify your business profile for its users to ensure the business is real and it’s located where your website says it is. With Google recognizing your business is legitimate, the increased trust will grant a higher likelihood that the search engine shows your business in the relevant local queries.
This may not come as a surprise to many, but your online reputation does act as a signal for search engines. Google’s algorithm uses your online reviews (the quantity, the ratings as well as frequency along with the text) as a ranking factor because the ultimate goal for the search engine is to provide the most relevant and best experience for users. So if you have more and better reviews than your competition while all other factors are on par, your Google My Business listing will likely rank higher in local search results.
It is now the norm to read online reviews for everything, be it product ratings, comments on service, etc. Both positive and negative reviews can make an impact on whether a customer ends up contacting you or purchasing from you. It is part of best practices to not only ask customers to leave a review but also continuously monitor your online reputation and respond to feedback promptly whether they are positive or negative. It’s a great way to show your level of customer service, professionalism as well as recognizing where there’s always room for improvement.
Most Google My Business listings are eligible to publish “Google Posts”. These are posts that allow you to make announcements like news, special offers, and share content. It’s like Google’s own social media platform for business listings.
Google Posts provide an easy way to communicate to your local customers in a timely manner. Posting frequent content helps make business profiles seem more authentic and up-to-date. Post types include COVID-10 updates, promotional offers, product updates, events, business hour updates as well as a “What’s New” category for generation information. Posts can include photos, content, or videos to give a greater aesthetic appeal to your audience.
It’s a common misconception that all you need is to set up a Google My Business listing and you’ll start showing up on local search results no matter what. Doing this bare minimum won’t get you very far.
Just like all aspects of digital marketing; Local SEO strategy also requires continuous work being done in the background as algorithms are frequently being updated and an increasing amount of competition is showing up day after day.
Creating local citations, managing online reviews as well as putting up frequent Google Post are just some easy wins to help give your business listing a boost. If you’re interested in learning more or want to get assistance on integrating these tricks into your digital strategy, contact the Digital Strategists at TechWyse today!