If you are a local business, Local SEO is a vital channel to gain awareness for your business. On the search results page above the standard organic search results there are local business search results. This local pack of search results only appears if the user is searching for a topic in which it makes sense to display local business results. Showing up and getting visibility in the local search results can increase your brand awareness and drive traffic to your website or get contacted directly from your Google profile.
To show up in the local search results it is imperative that you claim and verify your Google My Business page. Your Google My Business Page (GMB) is your business profile on Google Maps and allows you to be available to show up in the local search results. Once you have claimed or created your GMB it needs to be optimized to best practices so Google clearly knows who you are as a business and what services your business provides. Once your GMB is optimized the following items are other optimization tactics to help improve the visibility of your business in the local search results.
Simply put the prominence of your local SEO is the authority your local online presence has established. If you consider looking at how Google works, they want to display search results that are from authoritative entities because they know their users of their search engine will get more value from a more authoritative search result.
A few ways to establish authority for local search is first and foremost reviews. Your authority is established by your standing with the local community so if you are getting many more high rated reviews than your competitors you are more authoritative. In addition, your prominence is also established by how many citations your business has across the web. A citation is a mention of your business which means the more you are cited by the community the more authority your business has and again will increase your visibility.
You can also increase your prominence by having many high quality profiles on other authoritative directories. Google will see these many directories profiles as a sign of your prominence and it helps build trust and credibility with Google which again helps with increasing your visibility in local search results.
Your business should only be showing up for search queries that are related to what the searcher is searching for. The more clear you can communicate with the search engines what your business offers for services, the better they can align your business with relevant search queries. This is done through selecting correct categories in your local profiles like GMB and other local directories. It is also important to have your site optimized with correct keywords so Google understands the relevance of your business.
The proximity of your business as it relates to the location of the searcher has a huge impact on if your business shows up in the local search results. Local search is exactly that, local, which means if you are looking for a local type of restaurant showing the user a restaurant that is 20 miles away does not make sense. This is why it is important to have your GMB, local directories and website optimized for your physical address so Google knows if your business should be in a reasonable proximity to the searcher.
That being said each geographic location and industry varies in what is considered a reasonable proximity. You may be in a niche business where the competition is low and therefore local search results will span over a large region. This is why it is important to have your local SEO optimized for your business type of competition level to get the best results.
Optimization for local SEO is not all off-site work that needs to be done. There are important elements that should be optimized on your website to help with local SEO. While organic and local search results are separate there is a relationship between the performance of your website and your GMB. For example the more authority your website has can impact your local SEO along with the relevance of your website.
Your website should have a location page which is a page dedicated to geographic targeting of your business. This page should highlight the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of your business to help to build trust of your NAP information. In addition, you should have your GMB map embedded into your location page which again helps build trust that your GMB and your website and your NAP information is all connected. Having your business hours listed creates a great user experience and will help inform searchers of your availability. All these elements make it easier for Google and its programs to understand the relationship between all your business information.
Another element that should be on your location is clear directions on how to get to your business location. Along with images of your location such as a picture of the outside of your business with your business sign. Images of inside your business such as the reception area for your customers with your business sign. These images can also be used on your GMB and again helps connect your business with your GMB listing to help establish trust.
Schema markup is a coding language that search engines recognize and helps communicate very specific information to help the search engines understand certain content. For example, we can add schema markup code that defines NAP information and other local relevant information to help Google understand the exact details of your business.
If you are a local business investing in local SEO is critical for a successful digital marketing strategy and can help build awareness of your business in the search engines. In addition to local SEO, you should also be mindful of social media strategies and its impact on your marketing efforts. You should be considering some social media platforms which work well for both local SEO and social media such as Facebook business page and LinkedIn Business.