The Local Search Landscape continues to change but the one thing that remains the same is that we all want our local businesses to rank higher in Google Maps on desktop and mobile. Google has continued to make local search more
If you know anything about basic SEO (Seach Engine Optimization), you know that there are some best practices you can put in to place on each page to assure your individual website pages rank well in the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages), but people are often confused as to what needs to be done to get their business to show up higher in the Maps Pack on a local search result.
In this article we are going to look at a few important aspects I have found over the years to be extremely important to local search ranking as well as look at some of the proof provided by a few of the speakers who talked on Local Search at this years Search Marketing Expo West in San Jose.
Notice that two of the largest contributors to the likelihood that a business will rank in the Maps Local Pack are specific to information that has to be set up and contributed to directly within Google.
Google My Business Listing
The first is a company Google My Business listing. You must claim your businesses listing and use every option available in the profile to provide information. Items such as Proximity to the person searching, business categories, and keyword in business title provide a huge impact. Look at the screenshot above of a search I did. Notice that all of those businesses are relatively close to me and they have the word “Plumbing” in their name. This provides proof that if you use something more obscure for your business name that does not include the actual service being provided you will likely have a harder time ranking in the Maps Local Pack. I feel confident in saying that this matters more for highly competitive businesses where there are a lot of businesses offering the same thing within a small radius of each other. If you are one of only a small amount of service providers you will have an easier time getting away with an obscure business name.
Make sure to you select the categories your business services. Google provides a wide variety of categories but if your businesses category is not listed you will have to find the next closest thing. It’s better to aim wide than not to have a target at all.
Make sure that your business name, address, and phone number are listed exactly the same on your website and the Google My Business Listing. Consistency still matters as Citations makes up 11% of that pie.
Google has been pushing reviews over the last several years in an attempt to provide better information to people searching for local businesses. Of all the search marketers who participated in the MOZ local search survey, it ranked as the third most important factor. I will go as far as to say that it will continue to become more important as time goes on.
I encourage my clients to ask their customers for a review on Google. It is easier than ever to publish a review on Google as just about everybody has a Google account as it is a requirement to utilize many of Google’s products.
I am now encouraging my clients to as that their customers mention keywords specific to their business and their location city or town as well. I have seem a few of my clients businesses show up in the Maps Local Pack for a nearby town they are not located in which normally would not happen. The only thing that made sense to me was the fact that they had two recent reviews that included that nearby city name.
Google Business Listings also look better when there are multiple reviews. In the screenshot above from my phone, which company would you call first? I would also recommend that you encourage past customers to write longer reviews. Longer reviews will include more details and will include more keywords specific to your business and industry.
Search Is Getting Smarter
The search engines are continuing to get smarter, which is a good thing. No longer do we have to rely completely on markup in our code to inform Google and other search engines on what to rank. The information the search engines have is powerful and they can utilize that to help provide better search engine results for those searching.
That also means that the chance you end up having to pay for Google ads is more likely than it has ever been before, and that is Google’s money maker.
The speed in which your website loads and how readable it is on the variety of devices people will use to access it is also important. Avoid uploading large photos and videos to your website. You can test your website’s page speed using Google Page Speed Insights tool and the Google
There continues to be more and more to pay attention to and it can get overwhelming at times. There is a wealth of information out there but at times it can be hard to put it all together into an actionable plan. That is where we can help. At Hill Media Group we are constantly testing and learning to improve the Google Local Business Listing results for our clients. If you are interested in finding out how we can help, give us a call or shoot us an email.