How to Improve Your Local Ranking on Google
“88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.” (Source: Nectafy)
With “near me” searches gaining momentum on the web, more than 95% of customers search online to find a local business. And nearly half of all Google searches seek local information. Therefore, it becomes crucial that you improve your local business ranking on Google.
Creating a Google My Business account and optimizing it is the secret recipe to improving your local rankings on Google.
How Do I Improve My Local Search Ranking?
Creating a business listing on Google My Business also helps you outsmart your competition and boost traffic and sales. Additionally, it helps you boost brand awareness and earn the trust of your customers.
However, creating a listing on Google My Business is not enough to achieve high local rankings. You need to rank your listing higher on Google, and the only way to do it is to optimize it using all of the GMB features and improve your local SEO.
How Can I Improve my Local SEO?
To improve your Google local SEO, you must first understand the following local SEO ranking factors.
Local ranking factors also depend on the following three aspects:-
To know more about these three factors, read the following article:-
This article contains important tips to improve your local ranking on Google in light of the above-ranking factors:-
1. Set Up and Optimize Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing
GMB or Google My Business has transformed the way marketers perform local SEO. This Google tool is specially developed to promote local businesses and give the best results for “near me” searches. Recently, Moz revealed that your GMB listing is one of Google’s leading ranking factors for organic search.
To begin with, go to the GMB website and start creating your listing.
Here is the checklist of the items you should fill out:
- Complete and correct business name (The same as you use it in your store, visiting card, or signage)
- Local store/office address
- The precise location on a map
- Business category
- Phone number and website (if applicable)
Once you complete the above steps, your GMB listing goes live. Google now initiates your business’s verification. They’ll do it either by phone or by sending a postcard to your registered address. The postcard will contain a code, which you need to enter into your GMB account.
After the verification is complete, you need to begin optimizing your Google My Business profile.
- Post photos of your business. In this section, you can include pictures of the interiors and exterior of your premises.
- Add your business hours.
- Add the primary and other categories that define your business.
- Regularly share your business updates and fresh content to optimize your GMB profile further and enhance its visibility.
2. Optimize It for Mobile
Most of the “near me” searches are performed using mobile devices. According to an Uberall study, 82% of respondents used their mobile devices to conduct a “near me” search. So, it makes sense to optimize your GMB listing for mobile devices. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Mobile optimization of your business profile is incomplete without adding click-to-call buttons on your GMB listing. 60% of mobile users prefer to call a business directly from their search results. Therefore, ensure you add a click-to-call button to your GMB listing.
3. Focus On Getting and Responding to Google Reviews
According to Moz’s local search ranking factors, review signals also significantly contribute to your local search and snack pack ranking. Star ratings and reviews help build trust. Having lots of reviews speaks volumes about your credibility and reputation as a business. It also enhances your visibility in local search.
Google considers star ratings as a ranking signal. According to a Blue Corona study, more and better reviews directly translate into higher search rankings, more leads and sales, and increased profitability.
So, you should set up systems and processes to earn floods of authentic reviews and train your teams to make it a regular occurrence. Encourage your customers to post reviews using free tools like a review shortcut link.
Apart from your GMB listing and website, you should also have reviews on other review sites. Google also collects your reviews from product comparison sites, consumer directories, and social media. Make use of the vast real estate of reviews that includes Foursquare, Thumbtack, Amazon, Facebook, BBB (Better Business Bureau), Manta and Angie’s List, etc.
Apart from the number of reviews, Google also considers the following:
- Does the star rating accompany text + pictures also?
- Does the text include relevant keywords and terms in the review?
- What’s the average star rating given to the product by users?
- Are reviews posted consistently or occasionally?
- Is there a pattern being followed in your reviews? Check review sentiment.
Pro Tip: Don’t request for a review just after the sales as there is a likelihood that the customer hasn’t experienced the product yet. Give them some time and ask them for a review when you think they might have the time to thoroughly experience your product or service.
4. Build Local Links
Whether it is organic ranking or Google Maps, links have been one of the most powerful ranking factors for Google. Studies prove that building local links is vital for ranking in Google Maps. The backlink qualifies if it isn’t marked as “nofollow” for boosting local rankings. Local links are taken as essential factors for driving actual business.
Building local links isn’t rocket science. You can employ simple tactics such as utilizing your local relationships and the companies you have worked with. You can also collaborate with the organizations you support or serve. Tap the companies that fit into a “shoulder niche.”
It is better to tap the companies you are already familiar with. You can return the favor by writing or video recording a testimonial. You can also collaborate to create a piece of content benefiting both the parties and their audiences.
Some businesses and niches are interrelated, and they operate in the same neighborhood. They often complement each other but do not compete for head-on with you. So, when you develop a content outreach program, don’t forget to involve these businesses.
For example, a landscaping business may decide to create a valuable piece of content about cost-effective ways to design your interiors or fix your roofing issues. They may also include tips about energy-efficient home design, landscaping, exterior waterproofing, mold damage, painting, and replacing windows and doors.
Before creating the content, you can reach out to a few service providers who provide these services in the neighborhood and ask if they would be willing to collaborate on the content and, if possible, provide a link to their resource pages.
Since it is a mutually beneficial process, it would work even if you don’t have any prior relationship with that company.
5. Clear the GMB Spam in Google Maps and Rise in Ranking
If you take a close look at Google Map results in the local organic search, you will find lots of illegitimate entries that do not have a proper website, have an incorrect address, or something like that. To move up the ranking ladder, you must clear such spam so that you can appear above all others.
Google Maps is full of spam, and you can remove it by using the following tactics:-
A. First and foremost, maintain the record of all the GMB listings you want to edit or report. So, you can identify if the info reverts even after editing.
B. Go to Google Maps>>Go to the listing>>Click on “Suggest an Edit.”
C. You’ll find two options here, and you can pick one according to the situation.
- “Change name or other details“
- “Remove this place.”
If you find keyword stuffing in your listing’s business name, you can suggest it. Choose the first option – “Change name or other details“>>make the required edits.
To remove spam, select “Remove this place” and then select the specific issue.
What if “Suggesting an Edit” Doesn’t Work
If you cannot remove a spam listing through this method, you can try using Google’s Business Redressal Complaint Form. However, Google needs some evidence before it takes any action. You can refer to this resource for more details.
Ensure Business Details (NAP) Consistency
According to Moz, Google seeks consistency in citation and NAP (name, address, phone number) across the web. It means your business information, especially the NAP, should be consistent everywhere, including citation websites, directories, GMB, Maps, Foursquare, Yelp, and Facebook, etc.
Watch out for discrepancies in spellings, business name, address, or phone number. Avoid duplicate listings. Resolving all such issues improves your local SEO to a great extent.
6. Use This Google Maps SEO Checklist
Finally, it’s time to ensure that you have taken all the steps to improve your local SEO and that no critical area is overlooked.
At this point, you must have learned why it’s crucial to fill out your GMB profile entirely and accurately.
But, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
To rank high on Google Maps, you need to perform a variety of optimizations at different levels.
It’s worth pointing out that you need to be meticulous in fixing your local SEO. Here is the Google Maps SEO Checklist for reference to make sure you omit nothing while performing the local SEO of your website.
7. Track Your Performance
You can track your performance in local SEO by using the built-in analytics in your Google My Business account.
Steps: Sign in to your account>>Select “Insights.”
Here is how it looks like:
Analytics helps you in many ways, and some of them are:
- Identify the specific search queries and terms that triggered your listing. You can use a tool and expand them.
- Know the frequency your listing appeared in organic and local Google searches. If it’s too little, increase your digital footprint and optimize your listing completely using the above tips.
- Observe the customer actions taken (e.g., making a phone call, visiting your website, seeking directions, etc.).
- Create the customer journey map on the website.
- Know the days of the week you get the most calls and inquiries.
You can’t do rank tracking using GMB analytics. However, you can do rank tracking locally and dig into customer information using Moz’s Local Market Analytics.
Covering the Google My Business basics is essential, but comprehensive optimization and consistent improvement can change the game. Experimenting, testing, and tracking different optimizations is a consistent process.
Monitoring the results will direct you to take the right strategic step. If you aren’t sure what to do, always put the customer first and do something in their best interest.
Invest your time and money in local SEO and Google Maps marketing, and you’ll be able to drive local traffic and generate leads to your business invariably. Various case studies prove that local SEO can amazingly increase keyword visibility manifold and boost local rankings.