Billions of local search queries happen every single month.
These are searches such as “Cuban Restaurant Miami”, “Dentist San Fransisco”, and “Marketing Companies Dallas”. If you follow your online search engine positioning closely, you will notice that Google has filled the first 5-7 positions on page 1 with a map listing so that users can see the physical locations of suggested companies.
This also works for “near me” searches without needing to list your specific town, city, or state. For example, “SEO companies near me” or “plumbers near me”.
These coveted rankings happen because of a feature called Google Places. It is based entirely off of a user’s location because a search such as “local dentist” will always bring up an entirely different result depending on where you live. Google Places becomes active automatically for users who search for local information.
Your business can gain better local SEO rankings through Google Places with a tool called Google My Business pages. This free tool manages how your company is viewed all across Google. Find out more below.
Create a Google My Business Page
Companies who seek local SEO positioning can take steps right now to get started. First, if you have not created one already, you need a Google My Business page. If you have not claimed your Google listing with the right categorizations in this directory, you simply won’t be found. Go ahead and create one now, we can wait.
Once it’s set and ready to go, you’ll need to fill it out with the following info:
- Company name, local phone number, and address
- A long description about your business
- Your company category, or industry
- A profile photo (traditionally, your company logo)
- Photos of your business that accurately represent your products or services
- Open and close times/ days, if this is relevant
- Real reviews from customers and clients
If you already have a listing, be sure that your information is current. Many businesses tend to forget about their listings and do not change them when they have updated their hours of operation, products, or services.
Submit to Multiple Directories
Google My Business is, in our opinion, the most important directory you can use for better local SEO. However, this isn’t the only option in terms of online directories. For brick and mortar institutions, you can also submit your information to Yelp, BingPlaces, InfoUSA.com, Local.com, WhitePages.com, and Yahoo as well. Depending on your industry, there may be other beneficial directories as well.
On each of these directories, you will create something called a NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) listing. Make sure the NAP you include in each directory is exactly the same. This is the difference between using “Billy’s Plumbing Company” and “Billy’s Plumbing Co”. This lessens any potential confusion over your company – not only from a directory standpoint but a human standpoint as well.
Use NAP Listings on Your Site
Because your Google My Business page takes NAP listings into account, it should also be added to the HTML of your website. This will help search engines and online directories alike verify the information you have submitted.
This is a small detail, but it matters: the NAP on your site should not be an image if you can help it (many business owners have their address as an image in the footer of their site, for example). Instead, make sure your NAP is actual, written content that Google can crawl and index.
Ask for Reviews
Reviews matter. And quality reviews matter. Try doing a local search right now for your industry and notice who tends to be at the top of the list. Of course, Google wants to present the best options available to users. This is why 4 and 5-star businesses stand out among the others.
This is because Google sees high-scoring reviews as “votes” from users and will view those places favorably first. Other factors for local SEO rankings also includes the number of views and click through rates.
To create a baseline of reviews, contact some of your current customers who you know appreciate your services. Even a few reviews can make a noticeable difference for your Google My Business page.
Google My Business Pages – It’s Worth It!
Once you are listed and the foundation is set, you can see other benefits coming into play. This is one of the best ways to gain an edge over your competition and reach more into a more geographical market. Slowly over time, you should be able to mark your standing with certain keywords and see a steady increase. Continue to implement SEO keywords and content into your website for even better results!
For more information about local SEO searches, “near me” searches, and Google My Business pages, contact the experts at SEO Brand. We will help you compete for your desired keywords and show your audience that you are open for business!