As per the report by Google, 76% of the customers change their store preference after searching it on Google because of local business listings on mobile. Traffic from Local Business Listings is highly converting traffic and every business wants to grab it. Firstly, let’s talk about what are the basic categories of SEO:
- General SEO: People those who want to rank for specific keywords irrespective of geographical area choose general SEO.
- Local SEO: Those who want to rank for specific keywords in a particular geographical area choose local SEO.
- International SEO: This one is for those who want to rank for keywords across multiple countries and languages.
Local SEO is among the most important factors for physical businesses. You can target nearby audience within a particular geographical area. So, let’s talk about What is Local SEO? and what are the best practices of doing Local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a method of optimizing websites in order to gain organic traffic to local businesses. In general, SEO helps you in getting customers for your business from google search engine. It makes your business appear in front of your potential customers, hence it increases business value. Local SEO puts your business in front of those who are willing to buy your product.
Where general SEO targets informational, navigational and transactional keywords, Local SEO tends to target keywords which drives converting traffic from a specific geographical area. It all depends on keyword intent.
Intention of Keyword in Local Search
Local SEO is highly based on targeting intentional keywords. For example, Intentional keywords are like “Grocery Shop in Santa Ana”, the intention of the person who is searching is obviously to get a grocery shop near to him (if he is in location) or in Santa Ana. The same thing applies to professional services like if someone searches for “Plumber in Santa Ana”, the person is clearly looking for a plumber near to him (if he is in location) or in Santa Ana. Also, there are query based results also like “where is the closed coffee shop near me?”, people search these type of queries on Google Maps.
So, what you will be doing is, not only ranking for keywords but to get your business in front of people who are searching for queries like mentioned above on Google Search or Maps. So, basically, you need to be on Google Maps.
When someone searches for a product which you are selling, you just need that google to recognize your business type and show up with results including your business to the person who is searching for it.
Difference Between Search Rankings vs. Local Rankings
When it comes to search terms which are specific to a location or geographical area, you must be on 1st page of Google. By 1st page, we mean you have to be on Local Listings otherwise you will be missing out a lot of potential customers. Being on the second page is of no use. Because a lot of us knows that the best place to hide a dead body is the Second page. The position where listings are placed is called local pack.
A lot of SEOs call local pack as snack pack. Being in local pack is more important than being on 1st SERP if you are a local business and targeting a specific area / location. Even, websites which rank in local pack is less considered to be ranked on 1st SERP for same keyword. Ranking on local pack is much esier than ranking on 1st SERP. If you follow proper guidelines and legit methods, you can easily rank on local pack.
Now, let’s talk about the best practices and methods of ranking on Local Pack.
Local SEO: Major Ranking Factors
Local SEO rank is determined by these major factors as stated by Moz on their website in this article. We have listed all the major and important factors here in this article, have a look at them below:
Many of the factors mentioned above are similar in general SEO like Social Signals, Backlinks, and Keywords. But in Local SEO, these factors require a different approach. So, let’s talk about what kind of different approach required in Local SEO.
Improve Your Rankings on Local SEO
We’ve already talked about factors which affect your rankings on the power pack. Now, it is the time to talk about how to improve your rankings on the power pack. There are several steps which you need to take in order to improve your rankings, and we’ve got you covered with all the steps you need to take. Keep reading further to know about the ways to improve your rankings on Power Pack.
Get Listed on Google My Business
Google My Business listing is a overview profile of your business which appears when someone is searching for your business on Google.
The local listing also makes your business visible on Google Maps along with operating hours of business, directions to customers to reach to your business, Customer reviews, and pictures which lets people better understand your business.
To make most of the options provided by google on listing, you must put keywords in title and decriptions fields which are realted to your business. Though, a lot of people avoid using keyword in title of business as it may make your business title look cheap. But, you can always use keywords in description without any worries.
You can manage yuour business listing entirely through Google My Business portal. Here are some working ways by which you can optimize business listing on google:
- Create a easy to understand, sweet and keyword optimized description of your business. Make sure that it must be well explanatory without reading much.
- Put business operating hours in your listing. Also, put special timings for holidays.
- Add photos of your physical location, products and staff with the help of photos and videos.
- Ask your existing and new customers to leave a review about your business on google by searching for your business.
- Enabling messaging on your my business listing.
- If you are in a business which allows bookings, then register with google reservation partners. You can see list of google reservation partners here. This will allow your potential customers to make a booking online directly from your listing on google.
- Share at least 2 posts every week on your business listing.
Best Practices for Google My Business Post Updates
Like any other social media platforms, you can publish posts on your business listing. It is considered as one of the best things you can do with your business listing. There are multiple post types given like:
- What’s New: Share new information about your business with this post type like you do on Facebook.
- Event: If you are running any event, publish it on listing so customers can see it and can join if they are interested. It will possibly increase attendance to your event.
- Offer: Running Sales? Offering Discounts? This is the best place to notify your customers about sales and offers you are offering at the store.
- Products: Create a virtual shop using products showcase option on your business listing including price.
Along with these types of posts, you can add CTAs like Book, Order Online, Buy, Learn More, Sign up, Get Offer, and Call Now buttons. With these post types and variety of CTAs, you can convert leads on the spot directly from SERP. This is more than enough for the motivation of having your business listed on google my business and updated too.
Get on Alternative like Bing Places, and Yelp
According to a report by Statista, Google represents 86.2% of search engine market share. So, what are the other platforms sharing a market share of 14%? Well, Yahoo and Bing collectively share the remaining 12.6% market share and other 1.4% is shared by small search engines which are in numbers. So, this means that 12.6% of the customers are searching for your business on Bing and other major platforms.
Bing Places and Yext are the platforms which are like Google My Business and used by their respective search engine. Nobody would like to lose even 1% of the customers, so this is why we suggest you get listed on alternatives like Bing Places, Yext, and Yelp.
Gain Reviews on Your Local Listing
The number of reviews directly affects your local rankings. Your listing must be active with regular customer reviews. No need to get thousands of reviews each week, just keep your listing active. If you don’t keep listing updated than you will lose rankings on local search.
You can’t sync your business reviews on facebook and yelp with google business listings. You need to ask your customers to review your business manually on google too. But, if you keep other listings updated, Google will gradually start picking reviews from facebook, yelp, etc. and will show under your business listing.
How to Earn Reviews on Google?
- Reach to your returning customers personally through outreach emails and ask them to leave a review.
- If you are selling merchandise or something like this then leave a card in customer’s shopping bag asking them to review the product they bought on google.
- If you are selling products through your website then shoot an email after 2-3 days asking them to review the product on google.
- Make it easy for your customers to review your business by giving them a direct link to your business. You can do it by searching for your business and then copy the link from the address bar. The Link you just copied will be ugly and long, so short it with Bit.ly.
Listen, Never go for buying reviews. Google is smarter than you think.
Use Rich Snippets (Schema Markups)
Firstly, let’s talk about what is Schema Markups / Structured Data? Structured data or schema markups are the way to give google more information about your business on a page which directly increases CTR and Conversion. It enhances your listing and makes it more attractive and trustable. It is also considered important for SEO. Schema is important in order to sync facebook and other platforms reviews with your google listing.
By using structured data, you can specify these information on your search snippet or on SERP:
- Business Name, Logo, Location, and Contact Info.
- Business Operating Hours.
- Products and Services along with Price, Availability, and Customer Ratings.
- Payment Options.
- and Blog Posts, Authors, and Images.
These are just few of the things you can do with schema. There is a lot more options and features available for implementing with Schema.
Make Sure to Be Mobile Friendly
According to google, Local SEO is mostly mobile driven. So, if your website is not optimized for mobile then you are going to lose even after putting a lot of efforts.
If you want to check wether your website is mobile friendly or not, you can check it with Google Mobile Friendly Test Tool.
Also these are some factors you must take care of:
- Elements on your website should not be very close to each other, there must be a reasonable distance between elements to avoid accidental clicks.
- Font size must be optimized for mobile size so it won’t make any issue in reading.
- If you are getting error even after having a responsive website, you need to add meta viewport tag.
Prepare a Local Content Strategy
Local keywords are very similar to general keywords. Local keywords are just specific with a particular geographical area. Creating content targeted to a specific geographical area helps in attracting targeted traffic. You can optimize your search result by including the city/town/area name in meta keywords and description.
Gain Backlinks and Local Citation
Link building is all about gaining quality backlinks to your website. All the factors are same as they are in general SEO, but the new factor comes in Local SEO link building is Local Relevance of backlink.
Local relevancy means you should get backlinks from websites which are targeted to your particular geographical area. For more impact, target high authority websites to get backlinks from.
What are Local Citation?
Directories are really important from point of view of getting Local Citation. Google will push your rankings up when they see that the information you have provided on different places is the same. The authenticity of information will help you in ranking up.
Other than Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, Yext, there are a lot of different local listing websites on which you should get your business listed. Here are some powerful directories:
Being a local business, you keep working on innovating your business and keeping your audience updated with your business and products. Google helps you in innovation by offering new ways to reach your potential customers. Local SEO is among the most important marketing method for your business.
If you have anhy doubt or question or you need any help with local SEO then do let us know in comment section below. I will be more than happy to talk with you…..