Getting your local Google listings to work for you
Whenever you search for a service or product on Google, you will see a different type of result than the normal search results. You will notice there is a box with page results and a map. This is known as a Google local business listing and is different from the regular Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
For example, here is a Google search for a Digital Marketing Agency Orange County:
In local SEO marketing terms, this box is known as the ‘Google local pack’ or the ‘Google local 3 pack’. This is where the Top 3 local businesses are featured by Google.
The benefit of being listed in the local pack is that you are more likely to get attention than businesses featured only in the simple organic results. Most searchers won’t notice the difference in the type of listing and will click on what is most appealing to them.
How to get ranked in the Google local listing
First and foremost, it is essential that you understand and follow the Guidelines for representing your business on Google. Make sure you are within your rights to list the business, and that you have all the relevant data you need before you start adding it to the Google My Business page.
Accurate Name, Address, and Phone Number.
Consistency is crucial because Google places a lot of weight on having that information accurate and correct. If you have it in the correct format across many different sources, then you will rank higher. For this reason, if you are entering the search results manually into each of the local listing sites, make sure you are working from a document where you can copy and paste them.
Becoming active on local listings sites.
These can include one-off websites like churches or community bulletin boards as well as your local Chamber of Commerce website. Once again, the more you can appear in these listings, the more Google trusts your business.
Focus on your content marketing.
Every new blog post you add to your site is another page for your site. The more pages Google can find about your services, with the accurate keywords and location, the better your chances of ranking highly. If you’re struggling to write geo-targeted articles or blogs, consider highlighting some of your customer success stories and create case studies. That way you can naturally include local people and locations in your posts.
Grow your online reviews.
If your customers are searching for a product or service you provide, the chances are they are also looking for reviews. In terms of local SEO marketing, your online reviews are a form of currency. This is why you should ask customers to post about their great experiences with you. Let them know it is one of the most valuable ways that you can grow your online presence.
Remember that all your small efforts with SEO have a cumulative effect over time. There is no one simple, easy fix. It takes time to grow your online reputation, especially in Google local listings.
However, with a little effort up front and consistent follow-up, you will find that your local online reputation will attract new business for you.