Did you know that businesses with an optimised Google My Business listing are:
✓ 2.7x more likely to be viewed as reputable
✓ Get 7x more clicks
✓ 70% more likely to attract in-store visits
✓ Twice as likely to lead to a purchase
By optimising your GMB listing you create a simple and intuitive way for potential customers to find and contact you. And the stats don’t lie, that’s great for business.
This makes it easy for people to call, email or visit your brick and mortar store. All without ever having visited your website.
It doesn’t matter if your business is an eCommerce store, brick and mortar location, or only available online; getting to the top of local search results means getting more traffic, clicks and sales.
This is why it is important for your small business to be found when people go searching for the products and services you provide.
Not on top of your Local SEO yet? Not a problem.
Due to Google’s constantly changing algorithm, it is possible to become an authority in your niche, without the biggest budget.
Small businesses trying to market their services locally can benefit greatly through local SEO optimisation strategies.
If you’re ready to start making changes to your digital presence to enjoy the benefits that come with being a local authority, here’s what you need to know.
#1 – Claim and Verify your Google My Business (GMB) Listings
The road to Local SEO success starts by claiming your business listing on Google (if you haven’t already) and removing any duplicates.
Your GMB listing should be accurate, informative, and up-to-date. While finding duplicate business listings may sound like a challenge, there are tools available to help make things simpler. Moz Local is one such example of a tool that you can use for detecting all listings associated with your business.
By identifying additional listings you can remove them and strengthen your Local SEO by optimising just one.
Remember, when searching online for your business name you should write it just as it is on your website (include all abbreviations, capitalisations, and others).
This is known as your NAP (name, address, phone number) and is a major aspect of successful Local SEO. Google is constantly trying to provide the most useful and relevant information to search engine users.
And by settling on your NAP you’ll be able to replicate this information across the web (which we’ll get to later).
#2 – Keep Your NAP Consistent
For Google’s search engine crawlers to effectively locate your business, your business name, phone number and address must be consistent. This is known as your NAP.
When it comes to writing your NAP, you should be consistent. It is not just a matter of writing a business name, address and number; it should contain everything. This means paying close attention to the number, the street, road and avenue.
The more your NAP appears around the web, the more signals of legitimacy this will send to Google. And in turn the better your local search rankings will be.
Think of it this way, which business would you trust more. A business whose information is displayed 50 times across the web, in exactly the same way?
A business with 50 different variations of their name, address and phone number?
Google is the same. The more consistent you can be, the more trust signals you will send to Google, and the better your Local SEO will be.
Local businessman Wayne, from Wayne’s Landscaping, says you should make sure not to just upload your NAP as an image. He explains “Google can’t crawl images, so a picture of your NAP won’t help. You can add it to your footer on your website – making sure it matches your GMB NAP – to give Google the best chance of crawling it, and helping boost your rankings as a result.”
#3 – Optimise Your Google My Business Listing (GMB)
Potential customers rely on your business listing to find you. For this reason, your GMB plays a huge role in your SEO. More than claiming and verifying your listing, you can optimise your GMB which makes it easy and quick for users to identify and choose your business.
How do you optimise your GMB? Simple.
We’ve already talked about the importance of getting your NAP right, but you can optimise further. Next you should fill out your industry and any business attributes. There are currently thousands of potential business categories to choose, so make sure you find the most accurate one for you.
You can also add any other relevant information about your business as well as working hours.
Your listing should also be appealing. It’s not enough to be found. You also need people to want to click on your business listing.
You can make your GMB more appealing by including a logo, avatar or profile picture. Even better, with businesses who add photos to their listing receiving 42% more direction requests; and receiving 35% more click throughs to their website than GMB listings without photos, you can improve your Local SEO results just by adding multimedia.
According to global UX design agencies, UX and UI trends have shifted from the design-first approach towards simple and human friendly web page designs. They explain “with a focus on loading speed as well as mobile first approach, aesthetic goals have been replaced by pragmatism. This is welcomed by local consumers who want the simplest way to find the information they need, with an optimised GMB representative of this change.”
The simplification of design have influenced website design and development in 2019 and represent the same changes you need to make to increase the appeal of your GMB. This includes design changes like more photos, bold text, simple fonts, and scannable text.
#4 – Collect Reviews
When it comes to Local SEO,reviews are huge.
Reviews help when it comes to ranking your GMB in local searches, which helps you stand out from the rest. By offering the best customer service, you can encourage your customers to leave a review. This technique will help your business go further when it comes to other local SEO tactics.
BONUS TIP: Create a template email that asks for reviews and send it to customers after you provide a product or service. You can catch them in their positive mindset – right after you’ve provided exactly what they needed – and collect 5-star reviews that will send you to the top of local search results.
This is a strategy recommended by SEO manager Clarinda Cheon who has an exclusive reason to optimise your GMB to improve your Local SEO. She explains, “better reviews not only helps your rankings but also help increase business. When potential customers go through your reviews, you’ll increase your chances of a purchase with a catalogue of 5-star Google reviews. Try sending out review forms to your most trusted clients and get as many 5-star reviews as possible. You’ll be using 2 strategies then – your Local SEO results will trend up and you’ll harness digital word of mouth to get more business too.”
When a potential client sees a 5-star review they immediately know that your business is highly recommended by other clients. This is known as the Halo effect. The more positive reviews you can get, the better you will be perceived by others.
#5 – Local Link & Citation Building
Aside from investing in reviews, you should consider local link and citation building.
The difference between a link and a citation is that citations do not need to include a hyperlink. While hyperlinks – or backlinks – are a vital aspect of traditional SEO, Local SEO also relies on citations.
This is because citations, while not having a hyperlink, still display your full NAP. And remember, the more times your NAP is displayed accurately on different websites and directories, the more value it provides.
There is no way to stress enough how link building is important to your overall Local SEO campaign.
Wondering how to build Local SEO links and citations? Try these simple steps:
- Add your business info to local directories (Yelp, Yellow Pages, True Local and so on)
- Add your business info on any partnered websites or sponsors
- Add your business info to any review sites
- Create guest blogs for other websites to post
BONUS TIP: To optimise your links like the pros, try Googling your competition and copy their NAP. Paste this back into Google to see all the locations where their NAP is displayed online. These websites are opportunities for you to reach out to and have your own business information displayed too.
#6 – Add Location Pages To Your Website
Outside of your GMB, Google’s Search engines crawlers will search your website and locate the most compatible matches to deliver results needed in a search results page.
A technique previously used by the team at Any Rubbish was to create multiple pages for locations. They explain “if you have a business with multiple locations or service areas you can create a landing page for all those locations. Google will more easily locate them and deliver the relevant pages to the searcher.”
While Local SEO is influenced by a searcher’s geographical position (meaning Sydney businesses have an advantage over Melbourne businesses) you can tap into this metric by creating location pages that reflect your services.
Remember, you should include business number, street, avenue, road, and any other relevant information on each page. Remember what we touched on earlier, the way this information (known as your NAP) is presented on the page plays a huge role.
For this reason, you should take care of how you write your information or risk seeing your Local SEO results suffer.
#7 – Utilise Social Media
Social media as a platform can be used to drive traffic to your website.
While social media is typically not considered a local SEO ranking factor, it does improve your local SEO, here’s how.
Social links themselves do not count towards improving your rankings. However, the more your business details appear on social media, the more traffic you will receive.
And traffic (and the user signals created by traffic – like lower bounce rates, increased time on site etc) ARE able to influence your Local SEO.
Best of all? Social media platforms are free! So you can use your social channels as another avenue to generate traffic, and to stay ahead of your local competition.
Are You Ready To Become The Leader Of The Local Scene?
72% of people who conduct a local search will visit a store within 5 kilometres of their location.
That tells you everything you need to know about Local SEO.
And while having all the basics done right will be a huge boost – that means your website is fast, loads on mobile, is technically secure and offers a simple and easy user experience – the tweaks mentioned in this article will ensure your GMB listing works alongside your website to ensure you get the local results you’re looking for.