Do you want to be the leader of the pack? And we are not talking about the song by the Shangra-La’s, instead, we’re talking about showing up when a prospective customer is looking for your business. You can’t invite them to your party if you don’t show up in local search!
Google recently did a study and found that 54% of consumers searching on their smartphones were looking for business hours, 53% wanted directions and 50% were looking for a specific business near them. All of this lives on your business’ Google My Business page. So, it is imperative to manage your Google Map listing on a consistent basis.
That same study shows that 50% of consumers visit that store/business within a day of their local search. So, we know that if you show up in a local search, you have a 50% chance of turning that “looker” into a “buyer”, and you can track if they call, go to your website, or click for driving directions. It is crucial to optimize both your Google My Business listing and have a fast, mobile-responsive website to increase that chance.
What are the key factors in having an optimized local search listing?
Your business should be categorized for all appropriate services or products you offer. An example might be an Italian Restaurant. Yes, Italian Restaurant should be the main category listed within Google My Business, but what about others?
- Pizza Delivery
- Online Food Delivery
All the relevant products and services you provide need to be listed within your description as well as within the selected categories that Google provides to help you rank properly.
BrightLocal conducted a survey and found that 91% of consumers are more likely to select a business after reading positive reviews. Getting people to review you on the Google platform should be your number one priority in terms of reviews. Facebook a close second.
Responding to reviews is also a good way to show that you are listening to consumers – create a review response cheat sheet so you can maintain a healthy, quick reputation for responding to reviews.
Another factor is making sure your name, address, phone number, and website are 100% exact on every listing you have a mention. There are a plethora of services to help you with citations, and some that are specific to your industry. But you can add them yourself if you do not want to pay for a service – it just is more time-consuming.
To learn more about the best sites to create citations, and the different types of citations, check out this article on moz.com.
It’s not a surprise backlinks are a major factor in search engine results – that’s been on the radar for digital marketing experts for a long time. However, local backlinks can play a big part too. Think of it like this – let’s say a local media company reviews your restaurant on their website. They are going to link your Name, Address, Phone Number, and Website. And likely, they are going to use a Google listing to do that.
Now, you have a citation in a local media space, online, and it is telling Google that your map listing is relevant, it’s going to get more people to your restaurant, and then you’ll get more reviews. Backlinks also give signals (especially when you add that URL to your website, perhaps in a NEWS section) to Google that you’re an expert in that industry or area.
If you want to be a leader of the local SEO pack, it takes time, dedication, and a strong plan to make sure you show up to the party. And at the end of the day, you must look at the analytics from Google My Business so you can better understand what consumers are looking for, how you play a role in their search behavior, and what you can do to increase your visibility.