Is your business optimised for local searches?

google local blog

Local results are the ones that appear at the top of Google when people are searching for businesses or services that are local to them.

You’ve no doubt seen these yourself when searching for things like local restaurants or plumbers.

Here’s an example of a search with local intent:

Google Local 3 Pack

In the above example you can see 3 businesses listed underneath the map – this is referred to as the ‘Google Local 3 Pack’.

Companies that appear here are getting valuable high profile visibility on Google – above even the natural organic rankings – and will attract a significant amount of traffic and enquiries as a result.

So it’s worth investing time and effort into getting your business into the 3 pack. Why? Because these businesses will be getting more website traffic and enquiries than those not featured in the top 3.

The way to start optimising your own business’s local ranking is by using Google My Business – a free tool for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

Google My Business

Here are seven useful tips on how to improve the local ranking of your business on Google:

  1. Go to Google My Business and find your business. If you find it, be sure to claim it so you can start to manage it. If you can’t find it by searching, you may need to create it from scratch.
  2. Verify your business locations – this may require requesting a postcard with a code that you will enter to take ownership of your location so you can manage the information.
  3. Make sure that you’ve entered all of your business information into Google My Business – use all the options they allow.
  4. Enter your opening and closing hours. Google wants comprehensive information and customers want to know when you are open.
  5. Add photos. Tell the story of your business, so add as many real images you can to show your business, your products or services and the people that work there.
  6. Manage and respond to reviews. Whilst you’re not allowed to incentivise your customers to provide reviews, using tools like ReviewsMANAGER can substantially increase the chances of attracting more customer reviews. According to Google themselves, “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location”.
  7. Citations – getting your business listed on 3rd party directory sites. The key information is Business Name, Address and Phone number (known as NAP) – the format of these needs to be consistent across the Internet, so use the exact same wording for all your online listings.

Those are the basics. How well your business will rank on local results is influenced by three other things:

  1. Relevance – this is how well your listing matches what people are looking for. If your listing is complete and detailed, it is more likely to match.
  2. Distance – Google will try to ascertain where a person is to make the results relevant to their location.
  3. Prominence – this is how ‘famous’ or well known a business is, but also – and this is really important for smaller businesses – it is based on how much comprehensive information Google can find about your business. This includes links, articles, directories and reviews. Google say “more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking” so that’s something to really focus on in your marketing.

You can’t buy your way to a better local ranking on Google local listings. So you need to work on all of the above to maximise your chances of ranking well for local searches.

If all of this sounds like too much hard work – and certainly building your citations can be quite time-consuming – then complete the form below and we’ll let you know about our done-for-you local optimisation service which is available from just £300+vat.

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