Local Search Optimization explained in 2 minutes:
Our digital growth guide to scaling your business fast.
We research local SEO keywords to find the top high value keywords your business needs to focus on to rank highly for in local search results and Google Maps. These are incorporated in the next steps of GMB Listing Optimizations and Citation Building.
Give your customers a great experience when they search for you on Google. We run through our proven 16-point best practice checklist to get your GMB Listing ranking high in Google’s Map results.
Citations are one of 2 local SEO secret weapons to high rankings. We use a network of high value and industry specific directories to inform Google of your authenticity. What’s the other secret weapon? Positive reviews!
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We understand your business growth drivers using our Growth Model and set and measure the KPIs that really matter. We are aiming to drive more revenue for your business, while reducing churn.
We are a best practice agency. We are a Google Partner agency, a Digital Marketer Partner agency and we are Google Analytics certified. We draw on industry and enterprise best practices and implement them into your business.
Experience running successful campaigns in over 30 industries with hundreds of thousands of dollars in Ad Spend. Over 20 years professional digital marketing experience at a director level. We know what works.
We incorporate Local Search in conjunction with a cross-channel approach. We often match Local SEO with a Reputation Management solution that drives positive reviews of your business (which in turn drives results in Local SEO).
We value transparency. Our social campaign managers and strategists regularly report to you on the actions being taken on your account. You will never be left guessing what’s being done on your account.
We only use white-hat SEO techniques that will be good for the long term. We only use high quality citation sources from reputable publications.
Our client in the childcare industry has 16 locations, so local SEO is a crucial channel for them.
To improve their local ranking in Google Search Google’s Maps results we:
OPTIMIZED each of the 16 centres’ GMB Listings
Ran a monthly citation building campaign to drive up the number of high quality
Ensured the NAP (Name, Address & Phone) was present and consistent on every Centre location webpage.
Over 80% of the location are now listed position #1 in Google for their local search term
The other centres are ranked positions 2-3 (but we have a plan for improving them!)
Add or claim your Google My Business listing
Your Google My Business listing is often a new prospect’s first interaction with your brand when searching Google (it’s what shows up in Google’s Maps search results).If you didn’t create a GMB Listing already, chances are that someone else did, and you need to claim it.
Ensure all your business information is 100% updated and correct
Your business name, category, location, days and hour your business is open, etc. Make sure that every possible piece of information a customer could be seeking is available on your listing.
Update your listing with at least 5+ (preferably 10) photos
Showcase your products, premises, and people by adding photos to your Google My Business page. Photos are help your ranking and increase your CTR. Aim for 10 professionally shot photos.
Ensure your business is place correctly on Maps
Your business address must be identical across your Google My Business listing, website, other directory listings, social media pages, and elsewhere. Use your official street address without any further directions or details.
Verify your business
You can do it by a phone call on the number you’ve provided or a postcard to your address. A “Verified” badge will appear beside your business name on your Google My Business dashboard when Google has verified your business.
Check for and update any duplicate listings
Duplicate listings can create confusion for potential customers. You’ll have to remove any duplicate listings so that your listing is the single source of truth.
Check for and manage existing reviews
You should actively pursue your customers to add positive reviews of your business. The more reviews you have, the better your chances of ranking higher. We have another service called Reputation Management that help you do just this.
Ensure your website HTML matches Google listing NAP
NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. NAP is critical for businesses wanting to rank in the local organic search results. Key webpages you want to ranks (think clinic location pages) needs to have this in the webpage HTML.
Execute plan for creating ongoing citations
Review existing citations of your business around the web. Assess all available business directories and create plan to create citations every month. Regularly create new citations for your business on various directories monthly. The more citations you have, the stronger position you will be in, and the higher your rankings.
Optimize to strengthen your position
We review your local SEO performance quarterly against the competitors. This lets us make proactive strategy decisions about how to improve your results.
More than one-third of all searches and more than half (56%) of mobile searches have a local intent. Almost 8 in 10 people who search for a local business on mobile visit that business and buy from it, usually within a few hours. So, if local SEO hasn’t been on your mind, now is a good time to start.
Local Search Optimization impacts the Reach More People stage of your customer acquisition funnel:
Sales Funnel Design
Analytics & Reporting
Google Adwords Advertising
Social Media Management
Search Engine Optimization
Local Search Optimization
Web Design & Development
Conversion Landing Pages
Conversion Rate Optimization
CRM & Marketing Automation
Q. Do I need to claim my Google My Business listing for each business location
A. That would be a definite YES. Each of your business locations should be fully OPTIMIZED to feel the full benefit from this channel.
Q. How do I know if I need SEO?
A. If you have a product or service that people are searching for and you’re not in the tops spots for those keywords then the business case for SEO is probably going to be strong.
Q. Which is better, SEO or Google AdWords?
A. If you have the budget you should be doing both. AdWords can also help fast track your SEO strategy by confirming which are you most profitable keywords to target organically.
Q. What is local search?
A. Local Search is the use of a geographic tag, such as a state, city, or post code as part of the search phrase. E.g. “Childcare Balmoral”.
Q. Does my website need to be mobile friendly?
A. It needs to be both mobile friendly and fast! According to Kissmetrics, 47% of people expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% will actually abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Use these Google tools to test your mobile friendliness and speed.
Q. What are the best tools for SEO?
A. SEMRush, Ahrefs, Bright Local and Majestics.
Q. How long does it take to see results?
A. We’d like to say in 3-4 months you’ll be on page 1 but we’ll leave that for the dodgy SEO companies. In reality it depends. An average Campaign can take 6-12 months. Sometimes longer, sometimes quicker. More competitive keywords can take longer and every keyword behaves differently.
Q. How does Local Search differ from SEO?
A. Instead of just focusing on your website, local search Optimization will also focus on your optimizing your Google My Business listing. A local search will trigger Google to show business listing with reviews and a map with location markers for featured businesses. You need to be on this to enjoy maximum traffic.
Is your online presence optimized to rank in Google and attract local customers?
In an effort to provide better search results, Google and other major search engines are focusing on local search. If you’re a local business, it’s time to get optimized.
On this page you’ll learn an under-rated and mostly unknown (yet extremely effective) form of digital marketing for local businesses.
This is the secret weapon to get your business ranking ahead of your competitors in Google Search and Google Maps.
Learn the foundation of today’s digital marketing for local busineses:
There was a day when people picked up a copy of the Yellow Pages to find local businesses.
However, that day has past.
It’s clear that today’s consumers head straight to their digital devices to find local businesses, and Google is their first stop.
Here’s how consumers are searching for local businesses using online search engines according to a 5,000 person study from Google:
Be where your customers are looking for you.
With close to 90% of consumers thumbing their digital devices for a range of information about local businesses, local search is now your most important marketing channel.
Optimizing your online presence to rank well in Google is part technical know-how, part strategy, and doing it successfully is dependent on understanding a fast-moving landscape.
By reading this page in it’s entirety, you’ll know what it takes to beat out your competitors and get found online by more local customers.
Before we get into the strategy, let’s look at the landscape in which you compete when a potential customer opens up Google and searches for you.
Understanding Google Local Search Results Pages and Maps.
This is where your business is fighting for customers, so you better get to know the terrain intimately!
No doubt you’ve used Google and have seen their Search Results pages first-hand.
But did you know that the structure of Google’s Search Results pages change based on the location you are at when making the search, and/or any location keywords you might use?
Fro this example we searching for ‘mortgage brokers dallas‘.
Due to the location element in the search term, in this case ‘dallas‘ we get the results in the image below. But, if we happen to be located in the Dallas area and don't use the keyword 'dallas', we still get local results (as shown below). This is because Google considers our GPS location when we make the search.
See the Map interface in this Search Results page?
So what exactly is happening here?
In Google’s mission to deliver relevant results to it’s users, it features the Map interface in many search results terms that contain keywords combined with a location.
Examples of these search terms include ‘plastic surgeons tampa‘, ‘apopka florida house painters‘, ‘ft myers granite countertops‘, etc.
When searches are made for local businesses, Google features between 3 and 4 advertisements (sometimes none), then their Map functionality to highlight local businesses, then organic search results.
So you have three elements at play in Google’s local search results competitive landscape:
These are the options a user has to click on, and these are the channels you need to optimize to ensure that the user clicks to your website, and not your competitors.
Before we get into optimization techniques, there’s another factor at play within the organic listings which you need to be aware of:
The importance of Third Party Directories in organic Search Results pages.
Within organic Search Results for local businesses, well established business directories (with a high level of trust in the eyes of Google) can be seen dominating much of the landscape:
In the market above, 50% of the top 10 organic listings are held by third party business directory sites, such as Yelp, Angies List, and Home Advisor.
This demonstrates the power of being listed and optimized within the right online business directories for your market.
Now that you understand the 3 key elements of local search (Ads, Maps and Organic Listings), you’re going to learn how to optimize your online presence to rank high in both Maps and Organic Listings.
(For assistance in using Ads to drive more traffic to your website, click over to our Google Adwords Account Management services page).
The listings that appear within Google Maps are known as Google My Business Listings.
This is a free service from Google that allows you to create and optimize your online ‘Google Profile’ for your business.
The way this profile is optimized has a huge impact on where your business ranks on Google Maps.
Although Google doesn’t point blank disclose their algorithm for ranking businesses in Maps, the search engine optimization industry, with it’s thousands of experts world-wide have reached some firm understandings.
Leading SEO industry community, Moz.com, conducts an annual survey of SEO experts, asking them to rate the influence of the various 50+ factors that Google uses to rank local businesses.
Here are the results of the 2015 survey:
In our experience, the following optimization points have the greatest effect for local business ranking in Maps:
These are the core factors, and failing to optimize these can mean a lower ranking in Google:
So what does it take to rank high in Google Maps and take out one of the coveted top 3 placements (and appear at the top of Google’s Search Results page)?
Let’s look at some examples to give you more insight.
Achieving high performance in Google Maps.
When you search for a local business in Google, the Search Results page serves up the Map feature with the top 3 ranking businesses highlighted.
First let’s examine a poorly optimized industry.
Search term ‘roofer labelle fl‘:
A top 3 listing is prime real estate and should be the goal for your market.
Now let’s take a look at what users are presented when they interact with the Map:
Which listing catches your eye? It’s the one with the stars, isn’t it! (Stars are awarded on Google Maps when the GMB listing has at least 5 reviews).
What you see above is a poorly optimized market, which could be easily dominated with correct optimization and a review strategy to get regular positive reviews.
Now let’s compare these results with an optimized, more competitive market.
Search term ‘roofer dallas‘:
Notice the intense competition and abundance of reviews among the top results? The number of reviews a listing has are shown in brackets (). Roofing Giant has 14 reviews with an average rating of 4.7.
Now let’s check out the Map view when users click through to learn more:
Top rankings go to businesses with well optimized GMB listings.
Although not all of the optimization factors listed above are visible to the naked eye, it’s hard to argue the importance of reviews in your local search strategy.
They not only play a key factor in where your business ranks, but can be enormously influential on whether a potential customer chooses your business or the competition.
Which company would you choose? The one with the highest rank or the one with the best reviews?
What if your company had both?
For a low cost and easy solution to get positive reviews (and keep negative reviews offline), check out our Online Reputation Management services.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what it takes to rank your business in Maps (and attract free customers from Google), let’s explore how third-party directories can bolster your local search presence.
The internet is a little like a popularity content.
In Google’s eyes the more websites that are linking to your business, the more it means you are a nice, reputable and trustworthy business.
Google rewards trustworthiness with higher rankings.
For local businesses, online business directories play an important role in establishing the online trust.
The more established business directories that have your correct business details listed, the more credible you appear to be.
This helps both:
Help your Google My Business listing Maps ranking using directories.
One of the core factors that Google uses to rank businesses in Maps is the amount of mentions a business has around the web (known as citations and/or backlinks).
A citation is a mention of your Business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) on a third-party website.
It’s important to have your business information both accurate and consistent across all of your businesses’ online citations.
Inaccurate mentions of your business can confuse Google’s algorithm and give Google doubt as to the validity of your business.
The strategy to optimize your citations is as follows:
If all this sound like a lot of hard work (you’re not wrong, it is laborious work), then keep reading as our Local Search Optimization service covers this strategy.
This will build trust with Google, and it also has the added benefit of helping you capture more real estate in Google’s Search Results pages.
Appear more in Google’s Search Results.
Because third-party online business directories (such as Yellow Pages, True Local, Yelp and others) are well-trafficked and trusted websites, they often rank well in Google’s organic listings.
This means that you can leverage their trust to have your business appear more in Google just by being listed in these directories.
To give you some more insight, take a look at the search results for this local business search.
Search term ‘landscaper dallas’:
7 out of the top 9 organic listings beneath the Map are from online business directory websites!
This presents a significant opportunity to capture market share on Google Search Results pages.
The more listings you have in key online business directories, the greater the possibility of being found in Google.
So, how good are your citations?
Continue below to find out.
At Inbound Craft, we are specialists at helping local businesses dominate their local search market.
Our Local Search Optimization service delivers a proven strategy for everything that we discussed on this page, including:
Get the help you need to win 1st place in Google Local Search Optimization.
To help you assess whether our Local Search Optimization or Google My Business Optimization service will benefit your business