As an SEO Specialist, the one question I always hear from prospective clients is, “how do I get my business ranked on the first page of Google’s local search results?
Well despite what they think, there is no magic trick or button to push to achieve first page results. It takes a great SEO strategy, constant optimization and some patience. If you perform the little SEO things that your competitors usually miss, you have a great chance of outperforming your competitors.
Before I get into what I do to help your small business SEO out, let me tell you a little bit about local search results and how local SEO can improve your online business.
If you go to Google and do a search for say, a plumber in new jersey or New York Digital marketing company, you should see Google’s search results page. On this page you will see Google maps listings and some bubble icons near the top of the page. These listings are called the local 7 pack. Each icon corresponds a local business and to their place on Google maps.
These local business listings are specifically for businesses that have a physical address and provide a service or sell a product in a specific geographic area. It makes it easier for customers to pick up the phone and do business with someone in the area.
The growth in mobile search use made providing local business options a necessity because moble users are usually looking for something right now such as, ordering food, making a reservation or even trying to find your location while they are away from their desktop computer. Google even lets you “tap to call” for the local listings making it easy to connect new customers with your business.
Now you know how getting listed in local search results can help your business, now let me show you some ways to improve your local rankings.
4 Easy Tips to Getting Ranked in Google Local Search Results
1.) Get Your Business Added
Creating your Google Business page is the first step to improving your local search traffic. To do this, log into your Google+ profile and click on “pages” in the left column. Next click on create your page.
Google will then walk you through selecting the type of business you have such as servicing a local area or if you have a storefront etc.
Very important, make sure your Google Business Listing information is accurate! Google uses this information along with information it compiles from other business directories to determine which businesses are accurately represented by this data.
When putting in your business information, if Google finds your information and happens to ask you “is this your business”, I recommend selecting it and continue signing up. If the local listing is not correct, click that “this is not my business” and fill in the correct information.
- Do not spam your business name with keywords. This is the quickest way to get your business listing banned.
- Use your real business name as your business name
- Select as many relevant categories as you can for your business
- Be sure to fill our your business page completely
- Don’t forget to put your website URL in your contact information!
- Once you completely fill out your local listing information, submit it and lets move on to step two!
Want more tips on how to optimize your Google Business Listing for better results? Click here for my detailed Local SEO tips.
2.) Verify Your Business Listing
This is extremely important for the SEO rankings of you business, not to mention the generation of traffic and sales for you business.
Google will give you two options, one is to verify by phone and the other is to verify by mail. By phone Google will give you a PIN number that you will need to enter and by mail they will send you a postcard with a PIN# on it. Use this PIN# to successful verify your business listing and you will start seeing results.
3.) Create Citations
Once you have an accurate local business listing with Google, you need to do more work in order to compete with businesses in competitive GEO’s like New York personal injury lawyer or Plumber in Chicago, IL.
This is where most business owners stop if they don’t have a digital marketing agency working for them. They create a Google listing and that’s it. To gain more relevance for you immediate area, you need to create citations on other local business directories. If you Google your business name or address, you may see listings showing on the search results page for web directories such as Yelp, Merchant Circle or YP.com. These sites may list some of your information such as name, address phone number and maybe even your websites URL. These are called local citations. Having a number of quality citations that are accurate along with domain authority will help you to tip the scales in your favor with Google and get your business listed in the local 7 pack of search results.
So you do you do about getting local citations created for your business?
- You can hire a digital marketing firm that specializes in Local SEO such as Verdict Media Group
- Pay for an automated service such as Boost Local or Yext
- Do it yourself manually
Of the three choices, of course as an experienced SEO specialist I would have to say #1, selecting a digital marketing company to do you local search marketing is your best option and here’s why.
An experienced local search marketer will know how to properly optimize your profiles. They will manually create them in such a way to help you rank well while drawing in customers to click on your links. Knowledgeable SEO specialists also know how much they can optimize your listing and how many links they can create without getting penalized by Google. Yes, your listing can get penalized if you create to many listings quickly or if you over optimize your listing.
Automated submission services limit how customized you can make your listings. You can add some information and then the services submit your listing out to different local directories. Want more information, learn more about Yext automated local directory submission service.
Doing the work yourself is another good option. You are able to create the exact text you would like for each listing, but the time it takes to build citations can be exhausting, not to mention learning how to do it properly.
If budget is limited and you just want a number of citations listed, use an automated service to create listings, but be sure you manually create or hire someone to do your Google, Yahoo and Bing listings since they are hard to automate properly
4.) Customer Reviews
Encourage your customers to leave you a review. Reviews are very important for a number of reasons. It shows your business page has activity, interaction and it increases your credibility. People will see good reviews about your business and be more willing to do business with you. Be sure to respond to any customer reviews or responses. It shows you are engaged with your customers as well as a level of respect towards your customers.
There it is, four great tips to help get your business ranked in Google Local Search results and start generating traffic, leads and sales to your website. If you would like more great tips or would like to talk to use about ways we can help your local business, check out our classes here or call us.