Local Google Search can be a goldmine for small businesses who optimise their site properly. Compared to the nationwide searches that are dominated with paid ads, local search is one of the last bastions for small business owners to generate organic traffic for their businesses.
However, it is also a challenging market to rank if you do not know what you are doing. This is why you should know the best practices for improving your local google search results.
6 Steps to Improve Local Google Search Results
1. Claim your Google My Business
The first step is to register your business on Google My Business. Existing businesses that have been mentioned by customers or other third parties simply need to claim their name with their Google Account.
However, new businesses need to create a Google My Business account. Either way, the process is simple and only takes a few minutes for your business to appear on services like Google Local Search and Google Maps.
Note: You should get a postcard from Google within 2 weeks verifying your address. You need to use the pin code on it to verify you received the postcard. We talk more about the verification process in the next step.
2. Verify NAP
Once you are in the Google Local Search Business Dashboard, verify that your company name, address, and phone number is correct.
This will be the information Google uses for source citations of your business on other websites which we discuss more in the next point.
Before you can receive citations, you need to ensure your NAP is accurate. Also you can update it if you move or change your name or number.
Since businesses listed locally usually get listed as customers are on their way to make a purchase or call your store, it is vital you have the correct information. Otherwise, your Google local search results could be wasted.
3. List your business on local directories
Having your business listed on local directories provides your business with citations. In other words, citations is when your business is mentioned on another website.
As we discussed in Local Citation Quality, citations make up two of the top five local search ranking factors for Google.
Therefore, when the Yellow Pages lists you on their website, you get credit for being a viable business on local search directories. The more citations you receive, the better it is for your business.
Caution: Do not just chase citations. Too many, too fast, and you can get your listing removed from Google for black hat strategies. If you are not sure about the best approach, contact our local Google search expert team at Shout at 1300 360 037 for a FREE, initial consultation.
4. Encourage customer reviews
While citations are important, customer reviews seem to be the wave of the future. That is because more and more users are providing Google with reviews they can use to assess the reliability of the store.
Since user generated content is valuable for Google, they will continue to lean more towards customer reviews in coming years over traditional metrics like citations.
Remember, last year Google reduced the Local 7 pack to a Local 3 pack. This means it is more important than ever to have quality reviews of your business.
Generally, the companies that are listed have a significant number of customer reviews.
5. Optimise images
Customers are visual, and you need to have images that work responsively on multiple devices. Fortunately, Google can guide you through the best images to use.
Also make sure to use Alt tags and other image optimisation strategies to get additional targeted search from your images.
6. Talk or share about local happenings
Make your Google Business page one that keeps up with what is going on in your area. From local happenings to brand events, this is a great way to let customers know what is going on with your local page.
One key point. Make sure it is not to controversial. Basic events like BBQ, product launches, sales, networking events, and the like are great reasons to share them on your local page.
Google local search provides a wealth of opportunity for the local retail stores and restaurants that need organic search to drive traffic to their business. However, as more businesses turn to Google local search it is vital that your business has the right strategy in place.
Therefore, if you want to make sure your Google local search strategy is operating smoothly, contact us at Shout for a free initial consultation.