Here is your simple SEO checklist so you can start ranking your business and appear in Google’s Local 3 pack. Local search is a powerful tool for small businesses. 46% of the searches on Google are local searches. At minimum, 75% of clicks go to the first page of search results. 33% of the traffic goes to the first business in the Local 3 pack, the second position gets around 15%, and the third receives 9% of the traffic. If your business is not ranking in the Local 3 pack, you are missing out on gold.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to local prospects and customers. To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.
Here is your guide to Local SEO so you can start implementing these strategies today and sell more products and/or services.
- Google My Business is the oxygen to your business in local search. If you want to grow your online presence you must optimize for Google My Business. Setting up your GMB is free and very easy. With minimal effort your GMB page can be set up and your business is on it’s way to showing up when people are searching for your products and services. Per Google, businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.
Your Google My Business allows you to get reviews from your customers, and you can respond to those reviews. When a business owner responds to their reviews, they look more credible and it shows you care about your customers. Be sure to respond to both positive and negative reviews. Negative reviews can be a good way to measure what you can do differently in your business and how to fix problems or save a relationship with a customer. Negative reviews will happen but when a business owner responds appropriately to that review, it shows you care and are willing to make things right. You can also post photo’s of your business in GMB. Businesses that add photo’s receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that do not.
2. Local Listings and citations help internet users discover your business and impacts your local search rankings. A local citation is any mention of your business on the web. It is a combination of your company name, phone number, address, zip code, and website address. There are over 150+ directories Google crawls looking for your business information. Here are the top directories you should add your business to in order to help your local search rankings:
- Google My Business
- Better Business Bureau
- Angies List
- Yahoo Local
- Insider Pages
- Hot Frog
- Apple Maps
- Merchant Circle
It is important when you list your business on the directories, your business name, address, and phone number matches exactly (NAP). You also need to include a brief description of your business. Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number or wrong phone number can be problematic.
Optimize your website for local search
Google lists three factors that it takes into account in local rankings: relevance, distance, and prominence. This means your website needs to be relevant (optimized) to a search query. Your business must be in a close vicinity of the user searching and your business should have high authority both online and offline.
Optimizing your website starts with good content and a bit of technical setup.
- Content refers to adding your business location, doing competitor research for collecting local keywords and producing relevant content around those keywords. All of the content on your site is very important and hold weight. Blogging is a great way to add more content with your keywords.
- Website SEO refers to the technical work involved with your website. It includes site crawlability, site speed, mobile optimization, security, and setting up your title tags, meta descriptions and site titles correctly.
- Website link authority establishes authority in your field and can help you outrank your competition. You accomplish this by earning links form other authoritative websites. In return, you are building your brand and amplifying your content. Per Google, links and quality content are two of the most important factors for ranking in SEO.
Local SEO tools
1. Screaming Frog. This desktop program crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective. Curious if you have any 404’s? Wondering about missing meta descriptions or H1’s? Screaming Frog will analyze up to 500 URLs for free and offers an unlimited paid version for $200/year.
2. Moz Local.
Less expensive than most of its counterparts (starting at $99/year with a
professional level of the service at $179/year), Moz Local will ensure
your business listing has been verified on Google and Facebook, and
distribute your listing across the search ecosystem. Additionally, Moz
Local will collaborate with data aggregators to help push listings,
ensuring your business gains visibility.
4. Ahrefs. Ahrefs helps with
backlink checking, which is important as these links (which are directed
toward your website) serve as an indicator of website authority. Ahrefs
also offers competitor analysis, keyword research, and insight into the
anchor text other websites use when backlinking to your site. This tool
has a starter version at $99/month and a standard option at $179/month
for more extensive tracking.
5. Buzzstream. Starting at
$24/month with professional functionality at $299/month, BuzzStream
facilitates earning local backlinks, which helps you identify and build
relationships with local influencers by researching influencers,
tracking conversations, and providing reporting insights into your
outreach campaigns, team performance, and link placements.
6. BrightLocal is a comprehensive SEO tool suite specifically built for local business marketing needs. The tool can help you generate and monitor reviews on local sites, understand your local search performance, and analyze nearby competitors. BrightLocal also offers client access and white-labeled reporting — making it a solid fit for agencies and brands alike.
By increasing your businesses search visibility, your business can be in Google’s Local 3 Pack and you will reach more prospective client’s when they are searching for your service without paying for paid ads. Local SEO is an organic (free), digital marketing strategy. You can learn Local SEO and implement these strategies yourself if you have the time.
If you would rather spend your time doing something else related to your business, book a free 30 minute call with an SEO expert and see how we can help your business get in the Local 3-Pack like we did for Vitality Fit 360 and other local businesses.