If you own a local business and want to be found online, you’ll need to rank for in Google’s local search results.
When someone searches on Google for things like “some service near me”, a map with pinned locations and the top three results appear at the top of the page. These “3-Pack/Map Pack” locations receive the majority of click-throughs, engagement, and subsequent business.
If your location isn’t appearing in these top three listings, you could be missing out on a lot of business, attracting up to 50% lower customer contacts.
Local Search Ranking Factors
- Local Search Proximity
- Accuracy & completeness
- On-Page SEO
- Citation Volume & Quality
- Social Amplification
Local Search Proximity
How close is your business address or service area to the person searching for you? The closer you are to your searchers, the better you’ll rank. Make sure you have accurate location and service area information in your Google My Business listing. If you have multiple locations, make sure all of them have an updated entries, not just your main headquarters.
Accuracy & Completeness
Make sure that your business has all the fields in your Google My Business account filled out. The primary category you choose is very important to how you rank. If you have additional categories that fit, add those as well. Google is adding new categories all the time, so if you can’t find exactly the right once, check back later.
Different business categories have different fields available to them. If you have fields for services or products, make sure you fill these out! Make sure you fill out a complete description and add some photos. Everything you add helps.
Remember that besides trying to rank well, you want your listing to be helpful to potential customers. Make sure your hours are up to date and list any holidays you will be closed.
Add as much detail as possible. Someone knowing that your 24 hour locksmithing services includes deadbolt installation and door repair may be much more likely to choose you instead of your competitor.
Make sure you are requesting reviews from your customers. More reviews will help you rank better, but they need to be good reviews or people will pass your listing by. If you don’t request reviews, you’re more likely to just end up with a lopsided mix of reviews with more people complaining and fewer raving.
It’s important to respond to your reviews – both positive and negative. Seeing that you are responding to your customers to thank them for their business, or dealing with the occasional upset customer to resolve an issue, can help influence a potential customers decision on which business to choose from.
Your website, together with your Google My Business page, also influences your ranking. There are a number of on page factors that google looks at to rank your site, but the basic idea is that you want to have the phrases people are looking for, on your website pages.
While the first three items on this list can be DIY’d pretty easily. You will likely want to get professional help for this part, to make sure you are taking full advantage of the on-page opportunities that can help you rank well.
Citation Volume and Quality
Citations are references to your Business or website from other sites. Technically this could just be just references to your business name in an article, but links from other sites to yours are more valuable. The word “Citation” in Local SEO is most often meant to refer to business listings, like Google, Bing, Yelp, etc. Each listing your business gets in a directory like these is a citation.
Volume and quality are important, but not necessarily quantity of citations. Links to your sites from bigger sites, like Google, Bing, and Facebook are worth more than from other less well known sites.
For best results, we recommend manually creating listings in larger sites Google, Bing, Facebook, etc and then doing a bulk submission to the major data aggreators which will create a lot of smaller citation for you.
Make sure to also take your posts from your websites and post them on Facebook and other social media platforms. Google checks in on local social media posts over the last 30 days to help determine what show up in their search results. So while quantity of posts can help, having a specific focus for those posts is also a beneficial target to keep in mind.
Aim for consistency, quality & diligence when it comes to local search
In short, keep an eye on your Google My Business, website content, and social media and make sure that you’re accurately and consistently presenting your business’s location, products and services. Just as consistency in your visual branding helps your visitors build trust; the same kind of consistency across your online presence helps build search engine trust in your business.