If your business operates out of a bricks and mortar location (as opposed to being an online business) you will likely want to be reaching out to your local audience.
Implementing a Local SEO Strategy will help to increase your local search prominence in Google. Achieving higher prominence will help you reach more local people actively searching for businesses like yours, resulting in increased volumes of highly targeted, local traffic landing on your website.
The core focus of a Local SEO Strategy should be to optimise your Google My Business Listing. It is really important to display accurate information as when people search for a product or service near them as they are usually pretty close to making a purchase, and over 50% of these people will visit the store that same day.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool available to businesses which enables them to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.
This used to be called Google Places, and is the business profile listing that displays alongside the Google Map when a user searches locally or provides a location reference in their search term.
Google My Business gives you the opportunity to display more information about your company providing users with key information at a glance, and making it easier for you to interact with your customers. If you want to manage your profile listing on the go, there is also now a Google My Business App, available in Google Play Store and the App Store.
How to optimise your profile listing
- Once you have created an account you will need to claim and verify your business with Google. Generally you are sent a postcard to your address with a pin code verification number, although sometimes you can be given the option of verifying by phone or email.
- Populate the Info section of the profile. Here you can add your business address and contact number, opening hours, website link, appointment link, business description, service/product descriptions, photos and the date the company was formed.
- Add a cover and profile image and your logo and then select some photos to display on your profile. According to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps. If you have any accreditations or are a member of a professional organisation, add their logos too as this will help increase credibility. You can also add videos as long as they are less than 30 seconds long, and will help to add interest to your profile.
- Generating positive reviews on Google will really give your local search visibility a boost. Not only does the listing become more prominent displaying the gold star rating, but it will also help increase your rank in local search listings. It is a good idea to respond to all reviews, thanking them for their support. If you receive a negative review it is important to respond to this and try to resolve whatever issue was raised. Responding in a professional way and trying to placate the unhappy customer may result in the customer deciding to retract the negative review. You can’t remove negative reviews yourself, so this is your only chance to get it removed. Having a low star rating will have a detrimental impact on the visibility and rank of your local search listing, so if you do find you have some negative reviews, working hard to generate more positive reviews will dilute the impact and will help minimise any reputational damage.
Ongoing Management of your listing
It is important to keep your profile fresh. This can be achieved by regularly uploading new photos and videos and posting regularly into the Google Post feature. Google have created a template for different types of posts:
Add an image with a call to action such as ‘buy now’, ‘get deal’ and add your web address or phone number.
You can also add a call to action button at the end of the post that can take the user to a landing page on your website.
Posts appear with a thumbnail image and snippet just under the business information, and will stay live for 7 days (unless its an event which will stay live until the event has ended) so it is recommended to prepare content in advance and have a schedule for regularly updating the posts on your profile.
Whizz Marketing is a Google Partner SEO & Marketing Agency. If you would like support in creating a Local SEO Strategy please get in touch on 01252 622129 or visit whizzmarketing.co.uk