Two decades ago, businesses needed to be listed in the local phone directory. Today smart business owners invest in local SEO. This tactic is one of the best ways to compete effectively against larger businesses with a national presence.
One of the great things about the Web, in terms of search marketing, is that it levels the playing field. Small, independently owned, local businesses have an equal opportunity to be found by consumers as do the big national chains. Why?
It’s important to stay abreast of the latest SEO changes that Google regularly implements. A recent local SEO change is that only up to four ads and three maps are showing above the fold in Google search results. It is critical to be in one of those top three positions in Google maps to achieve greater visibility and more clicks.
Understanding Local Rankings
Usually if someone does a Google search, they are looking for local results. For example, if you search for “florist,” you will likely get listings of florists within your vicinity, not those in a few states away.
So now you know that Local SEO is important for your business. Getting shown in the top results is very competitive. To compete in the local search results, you need to better understand how Google ranks your business in local results.
One of the most important factors in improving your local search results is improving your business information online. A Google My Business account can help you improve your presence in Google Maps and Search. Once you have an account, it’s important to enter complete and accurate business information to ensure you show up in the right local searches. Information includes phone number, business category, physical address, and more. It also is very helpful to list accurate business hours, photos, staff bios and acomplete and detailed business description. You should respond to any customer reviews on your business.
All information must be precisely, exactly the same in every single listing. Even slight differences (such as St. versus Street) will be picked up by the search engines as being different addresses and you will be penalized in the search results because of it.
Google does have a method for ranking local search results.
THREE MAIN FACTORS ARE USED TO DETERMINE RANKINGS:
A business’ prominence is often based upon information Google gets from the web about a business. This information comes from review scores and counts from various review sites like Yelp, so having more positive ratings and more reviews can improve your local rankings.
If users do not specify the location, Google will take what isknown about their location and calculate the distance, using this todetermine the results.
Detailed, complete business information in your profile iscritical to enable Google to better able understand your business andmaking sure you are listed in relevant search results.
Local SEO cannot be ignored if you want to grow your business. Start working with a qualified marketing consultant to improve your local SEO results so you can dominate the local market. There are many local SEO tasks that are so time-consuming and tedious that you simply won’t have time to do it on your own – and other tasks that require sophisticated software to do well, such as removing duplicate listings that are not exactly the same.