Local search is an often neglected aspect of many local businesses, but it has proven its effectiveness time and time again. Local search is an excellent way of driving business to your website and your company in general. Having your customers find you locally has been the goal of businesses since the invention of the street sign. Search engines have only made it easier for businesses to get local customers and many are committed to the path of increasing local search effectiveness. Recent Google updates have been aimed at prioritizing connecting customers with local businesses to help smaller locally-based businesses survive in this era of massive corporatization. Searches on the wider Google platform now provide results with preferential results based off of your current location. This means that a website that might have been rank one in Las Vegas would not be the first result in New York. You are far more likely to find someone local instead of someone off in another state that wouldn’t be able to service your needs as effectively. This has all been done as part of Google’s continuing round of updates to provide a better user experience overall. Google has even said that they will continue to push out more updates designed around the idea of helping local businesses. So, getting your local result SEO on point is going to be even more important than it has ever has been and we talk even more about those results on our NJ SEO page. But, it is easy to get caught in the noise of all these businesses each vying for the most attention from Google. Put yourself in a tier above the competition by using as few simple tricks that will skyrocket your local search placement.
Creating Your Listing On Google
The first step in local SEO is always to create your listing on Google My Business. Setting up your listing is as simple as going to this page and claiming your business. Just follow the instructions given by Google and add all of you information. It is very important that you keep track of the exact wording and location information you put into your Google listing, it is important. When we fill in the alternatives/citations later it is very important that we keep that information exactly as it is on your Google listing. More information and transparency will increase your results in local search while giving you an edge on companies not giving out that same information. You will be prioritized if your give your exact address as well, it is common for many newer businesses to hide their address. Google prioritizes places that have what is referred to as a “brick and mortar” location for their office listing, you will do better if you let them know exactly where you conduct your business. Having this data lets them show you in results based off of proximity! Many people neglect this important part of their local SEO. The more information you give, the better your ranking will be!
Unique Pictures for Google My Business
Make sure you have sufficient pictures that are unique and display your product or service. You can read about adding alt-text to those pictures in our posts about image optimization. Pictures are the bread and butter of local search, if you want a boost beyond the competition, it is important that you have a lot of high quality images of your location. You will need more than just pictures of the location though, optimizing and uploading lots of images of all sorts for your business will go a long way towards helping you move up in the local search rankings. The type of pictures is going to depend on the niche. Google will generally give you suggestions for your business. But, there are a few additional pictures we want to see on your listing. The first additional style has to be your work, take pictures of your best work or service and make sure that it is associated with your business listing. Our personal recommendation is that your listing has at least 25 photographs entirely dedicated to your products or services. When we tested the number of pictures and the correlation to ranking on Google ,we found that having between 25-50 was the best practice. Most companies have only one or two. This mirrors web pages since it has been shown repeatedly that having high quality optimized images on your webs pages increases your Google search results.
Best Citation Building Methods
Take the exact same content from that Google listing and place it at some of the other best listings options out there, many of those on our list will be companies you are very familiar with. We call these additional pages citations, and they are a big factor in how search engines will rank your business. If you’re new to the whole concept of local business listing than citations are other listing service providers that point towards your business online. Citation building has always been a large part of local SEO, and with every social media platform integrating new business tools, it will only become even more important as integrations grow. For your convenience we’ve listed some of the best citations for your business:
We mentioned earlier the importance of consistency between your listings on Google. We understand that it can be hard to make sure the little things like “street/st” are correctly implemented in each location as the exact same thing. Luckily, there is a tool that is great for helping you check your citations and their consistency, Moz Local. Using the Moz local tool we can check whether our citations are completed and consistent across all of our target domains. This is a great way to ensure that you are ready to go and start pushing ahead of the competition. Citation building is incredibly easy, but for some reason we don’t see it very often, let’s change that.
Reviews are the primary way that a lot of people decide which business they should go with, most users we have independently surveyed have said that they almost always go with the company with the best reviews. It is beneficial to have multiple positive reviews, we would recommend to reach out to a few of your satisfied customers and see if they would be willing to give you a review on your Google page. We’ve noticed a lot of businesses only have a few reviews, which isn’t great for your ranking. As for exact numbers, you normally won’t start to see the benefits until you get at least five reviews. We shouldn’t need to tell you the importance of reviews for the users you hope to bring in, but we understand if you need some help with the way the Google algorithm processes reviews. Google has gotten very good at spotting fake or spammy reviews and removing them from the review feed. The best way to get your reviews is organically. You want to make sure that they aren’t duplicate reviews from elsewhere on the web, even somewhere like your Facebook business page. Unique names for the people leaving the reviews is also important, search engines will be able to tell if the same five people are leaving reviews across all of your citation platforms, that is not something you want! Hubspot has some great insight on Google reviews. Hopefully you now understand how reviews work and can get out there and start providing excellent service!
Local search will only become more important moving forward. The only thing you need to do now to rocket your business out in front of the competition is to follow our simple tips. Get that Google My Business listing out there and going, add in a lot of unique and interesting content, get some fantastic images and you will see near-instant results just from that step. Once you start changing your citations, really optimizing the amount and quality of your images, and get your reviews right; your business will be unstoppable. Local search will only grow in importance, it will be imperative that your business stays on top of the latest trends in the search world. Your friends here at Caveni are committed to making sure you have all the information you need, it’s our job as the leaders in web design. If there are any more specific questions or concerns you may have about local search we would love to hear about them over on our contact form. The new changes to local search algorithms have everyone testing new things to see what works best, hopefully we can cut through the confusion and give you good, data based, information.