It’s no secret that Google is the world’s largest search engine. People use it to find loads of different types of information but perhaps, more importantly, they also use it to find local businesses near them that offer specific products or services. In fact, these “local searches” make up the majority of searches on Google and it’s critical that businesses pay attention to them. The reasons for this are simple: appearing in a local search means you’re going to get more traffic to your website, more visits to your store, convert more customers and ultimately drive more sales. With all this in mind, local SEO (local search engine optimisation) might be vital for your business. But how do you get to the top of the search results and what are some of the things you need to do? Read on to find out.
What is a local SEO?
When a Google user searches for a local business near them, a specific set of results will appear on the first page of the search engine. This is called the “map pack” or “local pack” which in most cases consists of the top three businesses in that particular local area. This map pack contains a link to Google Maps, with all the important details of the business (like address, phone, website) as well as other information that will help a potential customer choose your business over others (customer reviews, updates from the business in the form of posts). This is managed through a Google Business Profile (GBP) formerly known as Google My Business (GMB). And the best part is if you’re wondering is Google My Business free, the answer is “yes”! This gives you a great opportunity to manage your profile to ensure that you improve your local SEO rankings. So, what is Google My Business used for? It’s used to help a business rank in the top results of the map pack, which can drive users and customers to your store, thereby increasing conversions. This is why the answer to the question is Google My Business worth it is a big “yes” once again. So, in short, still wondering what is Google My Business? It’s a way of optimising your online presence to ensure you get more customers, have better online visibility and ultimately drive more sales for your local business.
How to improve local SEO results
Now that we’ve covered the basics, you’re probably thinking this is great but what do I actually need to do in order to improve my Google My Business SEO as well as rankings. In this section, we’ll cover both how to improve local SEO as well as how to improve local rankings. Let’s take a closer look at aspects you need to focus on.
- NAP details: NAP stands for name, address and phone number. This information is critical for your GMB SEO because by being consistent online and ensuring uniformity of information across your website and Google My Business listing, your customers will trust your business more, you’ll be more relevant, you’ll appear higher in search results and more. (As a side note, if you’re wondering do I need website to have local SEO, the answer is that it’s highly preferable although you can, in certain cases, do without a website. However, the greater majority of local businesses have a website linking to their GMB profile and the vise versa. Speaking of websites, they help in appearing as a more legitimate and reliable business – a business that your customers will trust.
- Keywords: Your GMB profile also contains text in the form of posts. These could be optimised with the right keywords – KWs that will drive your ideal clients to your business. The higher the search volumes, the higher the competition. When “taking” to your customers, it’s vital to avoid keyword stuffing, just because the search volumes are high, and make the text sound as natural as possible, easy to digest. Not only does it look spammy and salesy but it’s also something Google doesn’t like very much and you could be penalised for this.
- Images/videos: It’s beneficial to add images and videos to your GMB profile so that customers can browse them and see that your local business is real and legit. Media give the business a sense of authority. Images and videos can also serve as a marketing strategy to draw in customers. Make sure you have decent-quality footage and use as much as possible. If you’re an estate agent, for example, you may want to share photos or videos of your office, and your team, as well as photos or video tours of featured properties for sale or to let you have.
- Category and sub-category: Choosing a category and sub-categories for your business should not be left out of your GMB profile. They are predetermined by Google – you cannot think of something random to select. You can only pick from the dropdown. Besides a main category, you could have sub-categories too. This type of categorisation helps a business really drill down and gain more exposure to potential customers. Optimized profiles are much more likely to rank higher.
- Products or services: Another thing to look at is to add to your listing products and/or services (whichever is applicable). Add as much information about what you are offering so that you can give your prospective customers as much information as possible to help them make a more informed decision. The more complete your GMB profile is, the better information you provide you provide to google and to potential customers.
- Reviews: Finally, we get to reviews. Reviews are the modern-day version of word-of-mouth advertising. They help customers see others’ experience with your business and whether you are legit, authoritative and trustworthy. Treat reviews with care, reply to both positive and negative reviews – it shows people that you care. People love reading testimonials before they pick a vendor!
- There are a couple of other bits that depend on whether you have a physical address (i.e. serving people at your location) or you are a service area business (SAB, where you visit customers). We’ll cover those in another article.
Final thoughts Optimising your GMB (GBP) is vital if you want to capture local searchers, improve the traffic to your business, and make more sales. F that’s new to you, or you don’t have the time to handle the work yourself why not talk to an expert? We can set up a free introductory meeting, where we’ll get into your shoes for a moment, talk about possible solutions, help you build a long-term strategy for your business. The aim – expose your local business to more searchers and then reap the rewards. Appearing at the top of the map pack is your gateway to business success and ensuring that it is managed accurately will take your business to another level.