Google has 3.5 Billion searches per day & nearly 1/2 of them are local. (Google Maps) The top three organic, (free), results in Google Maps are called “the local pack.” These are by far the most valuable positions for any local business with a physical location. On-site and off-site SEO signals work in harmony with each other. To get the best results, ensure that your website is technically sound. Do your research to participate in relevant citations and directories. Lastly, ensure that your Google Profile Listing is optimized. For business models that involve a website, but no physical location, aim to appear in organic local search results that are displayed below the local pack. It is true that Organic results take longer and are more difficult to achieve, but with the right SEO team, everything is possible. Start by gaining a better understanding of how local search results work.
Contact Leaning Tree Digital to for help with local maps search optimization.
We know that local paid ads are often at the top of the page, but they are expensive. Everything on page one of Google results is important. If you’re a local business, it will be critical to appear in the results that come right after the paid ads. Those are the local search engine results. Ranking signals for Google Map’s “local” pack search results are based on a large variety of ranking signals; most importantly, the proximity of the searcher to the business. (Geo location) This means that results in Google Maps will change based upon the physical local where the search originates. The good news is that SEO for a local business is actually easier to achieve than organic SEO. The caviat is that there must have a “brick & mortar” location involved. Below the local pack, there are more results that are not impacted by proximity. (Those results are either organic or paid.) All page one results are important. It’s a reasonable goal to have your business represented by all local and organic results on page one. When your local SEO is maximized, it will have a positive impact your Organic SEO, and vice-versa. Furthermore, by maximizing your local and organic SEO, it will improve the efficiency of your paid ad campaigns.
First and foremost, you must have a Google Business Profile to appear local search rankings on Google Maps. There are many opportunities to optimize a Google Business Profile. Sadly, many businesses fail to add details or maintain their listing. Occassionally, there are “ghost” listings that appear which can jeopordize your local position as well. They can have phony phone numbers, or just be duplicates to the profile you’re trying to optimize. This means that it’s equally important to manage your online reputation. In addition to your business profile, there are also many opportunities regarding “off-site” touchpoints of a customers journey. Social sites such as Facebook and Linkedin; or review sites such as the local BBB will appear in local search results. To be competitive in local search results, expect SEO to be an ongoing task. Learn about your competitors, understand your audience and be diligent with management of your online strategy. Over time, and with the appropriate attention, local search results will improve.
Optimizing for local search results is multi-faceted. Below is an example of the basic steps to begin that process. These are fairly standard steps that would likely hold even if there were a Google algorithm update after the publication of this page:
#1. Establish & maintain a highly optimized website including technical SEO. (Search engines should be able to easily crawl, load & understand site contents.)
#2. Determine your brand and ensure content info, (NAP), aligns exactly with how it appears on Google My Business. Remove duplicate or incorrect information.
#3. Address off-site signals such as Google My Business & high authority online citations & directories such as Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn & the local BBB.
#4. Optimize website content with searchers intent; be what they are looking for. Use both short & long-tail keywords. Be creative!
#5. Ask for Google reviews & respond if you can; building authority in your producst or services will make you a fierce competitor in your industry.
Google My Business listing is an integral part of local SEO; an “absolute” to appear in the “local pack” of Google Maps. When setting up your Google Profile, make sure you select the correct options that represent your business. For example, if you don’t want your physical address to show you can select “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” When it comes to your profile, details matter. However, not every business can take advantage of this ranking opportunity. A businesses without a physical location is excluded.
Once you understand the multifaceted needs of SEO, you’ll be more open towards building a digital team to get the job done.