You probably have used Google Maps before. Almost everyone who owns an Android or iOS device would have used the app. If you’re a regular Google Maps user, you probably are familiar with local SEO or Google local search. However, you may not understand what these terms mean and are also not entirely sure about Google local search’s working mechanism.
Whenever you look for a specific term on your smartphone or desktop computer, you would typically see a part of Google Maps beneath the pay-per-click (PPC) ads above Google search results.
This is the ‘local three pack’ that provides users a mini list of three companies located locally. For instance, if I am looking for a gym near my office, you would see the three local business suggestions right above the organic search results.
In other words, you can increase traffic to your site by optimizing it for local search. Such optimization is gaining more relevance in the recent past since many users are now doing searches on their mobile devices. Your company would most likely trail the local three pack even if you rank first organically. Moreover, your company’s visibility would go down even further if there are PPC ads added to the mix too.
Kindly note local search is all about proximity to the online buyer. You should have noticed from the example before that all the local pack listings were places, not more than a mile further from me.
Therefore, the question is how does Google’s local search work and what you could do as a business to increase your website’s incoming traffic while working on local business optimization? There are some ways you can optimize your site for local SEO requirements. Proximity is always a significant factor, but there are other factors too determining things and helping your site rank well locally.
Optimization and the Right Address Throughout
When putting together your company listing, you can choose a maximum of three categories for your listing. These categories let Google know what keywords your business would be relevant for, and also similar keywords. For instance, if you are a lawyer offering legal services, you could select the categories “divorce lawyer”, “general practice attorney”, “family law attorney” or even “personal injury attorney.”
Another important thing when trying to optimize your company listing is making sure your name, business address and telephone number are consistent with the details there are on your website. There should be zero discrepancies. For example, if your listing says your company located on a particular street, then you must mention the street details to the T.
Also, it is essential you have a local telephone number, which shouldn’t be the 800 number. Also, adding pictures would assist with the click-through rates of your listing.
In case your business is associated with multiple locations, you must create a business listing for each of those locations.
The final thing you should seriously consider when optimizing your site’s page is picking the categories that correctly represent your firm so that Google understands your business better. You are permitted to select one primary group and a maximum of six other types for the Google My Business page of your company. However, if you had to take Google’s advice on this, selecting minimal categories is the best route to take.
Strong Link Signals
Regular SEO signals have a say in local SEO too. The tactics that help when doing SEO optimization for your business work when performing optimization for your website locally. The number of links that point to your site and the quality of those links, along with anchor text optimization; matter when it comes to ranking a business well locally.
When dealing with local SEO, do not oversee the importance of local links, and also anchor text that has your company’s state or city. For example, we carefully build links for our site using anchor text like “Vancouver SEO”, “SEO Vancouver“, “SEO Services Calgary”, “Toronto SEO“, etc. It’s important to note that you do not want to overdo links like this as too many of these style of links can have a negative effect on your rankings.
Positive local reviews should be viewed at as affirmative votes for your business or website. Therefore, you must focus on garnering the maximum local reviews possible. Your company would naturally rank better in local packs if your local review score is higher, which means a lot more traffic.
Get in touch with customers and clients your team is in good relationships with and let them know how much their positive reviews mean to your company. Having a dedicated ‘reviews’ page on your website is another excellent option. The link should direct your users to the spot where they can put their Google reviews as you see in the photo attached.
Ensure your reviewers are conforming to the photo and review content policies of Google. Google may not specifically ban companies that ask for reviews, but Yelp indeed does.
While getting local reviews matter a great deal, you should also go about getting them in specific ways. For instance, if your local business website has never had reviews to its credit and ten reviews are posted all of a sudden endorsing or critiquing your company within a matter of days, things would undoubtedly appear sneaky and fishy.
Also, don’t let another party put those reviews up or do not post reviews yourself.
Long Story Short, Local SEO Truly Matters
Many users are currently searching locally on Google, and this is coinciding with the increase in mobile device searches. 50 percent of these people, in fact, make a store visit in a day, as per Google’s study. Also, 34 percent of the people who search on a tablet or desktop also visit the store in person.
Google’s study also indicates 18 percent of the searches made on smartphones result in purchases in a day, while non-local searches trail at 7 percent.
Therefore, these statistics that come right from the horse’s (Google) mouth send across the point that while link building and optimizing for your website, you must be entirely mindful of the way a Google local search functions and how to drive local traffic toward your business.
Cary is the Co-Founder, Chief Technical Officer and SEO Specialist at Coronation Internet Marketing Ltd. He’s been involved in marketing, graphic design and web design for over 20 years.