Your Google Local ranking plays an essential role in how well your business attracts paying customers. Most searches are now for specific offerings based on geographic area.
That makes sense because people generally look for a restaurant in their local area rather than searching for thousands of miles away. Now you can benefit from local searches with an optimized Google My Business profile.
In the past, Google used to rank websites primarily based on keyword relevancy. They would match the keyword phrase the search entered with a business with the closest matching words in their title. As the Google algorithm became more sophisticated, the company added hundreds of other variables to establish matches.
Although no one will say with certainty the ranking criteria, some fundamentals apply to most top-ranking pages.
More local businesses look online to find new customers. They are discovering what some of their peers have known for years: active searchers are an excellent source of new prospects. The problem is that many local businesses do not show up on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
A study by Google found that “near me” searches have grown 150% in the past two years. This fact means that if your business is not ranking prominently in Google Local, you are likely missing out on a steady stream of new clients. Even worse is that your competitors are converting these prospects into paying customers. So your loss ends up being their gain, which will hurt all your business metrics.
You can do a few proven and specific things to ensure your business ranks prominently in Google Local. One of the most important is making sure your Google My Business listing is complete and accurate. You should also include keyword-rich titles, descriptions, and categories for your Google My Business listing. You can also help Google by creating a sitemap.
Google Local Ranking Explained
While there are some factors that Google takes into account when ranking businesses in Google Local, three of the top ones are the following:
Reviews are one of the most important factors because they help potential customers determine whether or not to trust your business. Google uses various methods to determine rankings based on ratings and reviews. The main takeaway is to get positive reviews often, significantly more often than your competitors.
The best way to start with SEO is by conducting keyword research. That way, you’ll improve your listings and websites using keywords that potential customers will use.
How to Increase Your Rank on Google Local Searches
Now that it’s clear that ranking higher in Google Local searches is essential, let’s consider how to do it. Google uses various methods to determine the Google Local rankings. Some have more influence than others, but Google’s goal is always to give customers accurate results tailored to their specific search terms.
The initial step is claiming your Google My Business listing. We already covered this above, but it’s essential to mention it again. If you claim your listing, you can edit and maintain your profile. That’s an excellent way to improve traffic to the page and your website.
Optimize your blog post or web page for mobile devices. That way, you’ll attract mobile users while increasing your online visibility with nearby searchers.
Ways to Improve Your Rankings for the Keywords You Want
On-page SEO is the first and most straightforward way to move your order skyward. Google looks at a diverse variety of factors regarding on-page SEO.
One of the most important is the title of your Google My Business listing. You want to make sure it’s keyword-rich, so Google instantly knows what your business is about when visiting. The same goes for the description and the categories you choose. You should carefully select three pertinent categories for maximum impact.
The Importance of Reviews and Citations
Your customers define your business reputation throughs reviews. The more reviews you have, the chances increase you’ll see a boost in the better your Google Local ranking. Google also looks at citations to determine how authoritative your business is. The number of link sources you have (including online and offline) and their quality can help boost your Google Local ranking.
Links are also important but not as important as reviews and citations. Google looks at the reviews and considers them as a ranking factor. It makes sense that if a company is beloved by current customers, it’s worthy of a referral.
Why It’s Important Not to Spam With Links or Other Signals
It may be tempting to boost your rankings artificially, but it can be dangerous. Google penalizes businesses that attempt to spam their way to the top of search engine results pages. So it’s always better to play by Google’s rules and focus on high-quality content, backlinks, and reviews. That will give you an excellent chance of long-term success instead of trying to shortcut the system.
Search engine penalties are one way to wipe out any equity in a domain.
Be Honest About Your History
If you have some terrible reviews, it’s worth being upfront about it. That way, you can signal to customers that you care about service and have improved yours since the incident. Trying to hide your history will only make customers distrust you.
Be Proactive About Claiming Your Google Local Listing
If you haven’t done so to this point, be sure to claim your Google Local listing. This act will help ensure that the information shown is accurate and up-to-date. You can also add photos, a description of your business, which will help people learn more about your business.
Optimize Your Google Local Listing
Factors to consider are the search query and the searcher’s location. If those match your Business page, your Business profile will appear higher in ranked searches. In addition, the strength of the business name and the business title will play a significant role in the rankings for many queries. Although no one can be sure of the 2022 Local Search Ranking Factors, those two criteria will likely remain paramount for organic search success.
Always include an accurate physical address. Make sure to upload photos of the business and key employees to build credibility and trust. Your GMB listing is tied to your GMB account and is crucial for using a local SEO strategy. A solid GMB profile can go a long way towards ensuring local SEO results are ideal, and higher organic rankings are yours for the taking.
Include a Google Maps Link on Your Website
Including a Google Maps link on your website is another to make it easy for people to find your location. It can also help you rank slightly higher than competitors without the feature.
A well-crafted GMB profile includes business hours, zip code, and links to the corporate website. In addition, visitors should find case studies about happy customers in the local area. Include the city name for fast reference. If providing directions, use well-known landmarks to guide travelers.
Write Google Reviews
Writing Google reviews is another way to influence Google Local results. For example, Google will often show the most popular Google reviews first when someone searches for your business.
Your ranking depends on many factors unique to your business. No two Google Local rankings are alike because optimization strategies need to be customized based on each business’s
Post articles to your social media channels relevant to the company’s mission, vision, and values.
Respond Promptly to Customer Complaints on Yelp or Google Maps
Be quick with your replies so people understand someone is handling online customer relations. It can also help lessen the damage a negative review might cause.
Pay Attention to What Current Customers and Prospects Say About You on the Internet
Track what people say about your brand or business on the internet, including review sites, social media, and forums. If you find inaccuracies or negative sentiment, be sure to address it head-on. Meeting them halfway shows customers that you’re proactive about addressing any issues and value their satisfaction.
Consider Using Google AdWords
Google AdWords is a way to increase visitors to your website. That will help expose your brand to a broader audience. That’s always a good idea, especially if you’re experiencing slow growth.
Don’t be afraid of negative feedback – use it as a learning opportunity to improve in the future!
If you do receive negative feedback, look at it professionally. Avoid defensiveness and understand where the customer came up with the review. It may be part of a broader problem if it’s happening to that person. Feedback is the fastest way to improve customer service to win back upset clients.
Get in the Map Pack
Google understands that customers are looking for nearby businesses to purchase specific goods and services. Map Pack listings are the way they show off the best results to their mobile searchers. In addition, customer reviews and local content help Google match local intent shoppers with vendors. Even multiple locations benefit from accurate NAP information and geotargeted search traffic.
These listings help generate more phone calls to the central business phone number. Google’s Local Pack will drive more revenue, so it’s worth attempting to land there. Local organic search results are profitable because they have the intent to purchase. Without that intention, the clicks carry less value.
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