Are people finding your local business on Google.com.au?
If you’re not able to see a lot of traffic from Google for your local business, you’re not the only person. This is a very very common problem for all local business owners. Whenever I consult for a local business, I almost always get asked about how to rank better on Google.
It’s an important question and asks because most people find local businesses through online searches. According to Google 82% of customers are likely to google your business and compare it with your competitors. So, the key to growing your startup is a powerful digital presence.
First Things First
Before you go ahead and start chasing business and customers, there’s a lot of up-front work needed on your website to ensure that you’re able to get the best possible results, especially if you want to rank within the local pack listings (see the image above, on the left website optimization and ranking):
To rank within the above types of listings, you need to work on Google map optimization and the link building side of things on local NAP citations, local reviews, and My Business signals.
Google My Business
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business page.
I’m not going to go into all the details of setting it up because there are tons of articles that explain this process.
All you need to know is that once you’ve set it up, you should include the following:
- Add a long, unique description that’s formatted correctly and includes links.
- Choose the correct categories for your business.
- Upload as many photos as possible.
- Add a local phone number to your listing.
- Add your business address that’s consistent with that on your website and local directories.
- Upload a high-resolution profile image and cover photo.
- Add your opening times/days (if relevant).
- Get real reviews from customers (I’ll come onto this).
NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
Consistency is key here. You need to ensure that you have your full NAP across your whole website (i.e. every page). Furthermore, you must use the exact same details/format when you mention your address on other websites (i.e. local citations).
You’ll also want to use Schema.org markup on your NAP to give the search engines all they need to display your company information correctly.
Local reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so you’ll want to spend some time acquiring them.
It’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t just mean Google reviews. You’ll also want to focus on getting reviews on your Yelp page (they’re used by Apple maps), along with other local directories. Your first priority should be Google reviews though.
Local On-Page SEO Factors
On-page SEO for local businesses conforms to some pretty old school SEO tactics. There’s quite a large weighting towards the on-page content in the local search listings, so it’s important that, where possible, you squeeze the most value out of your content.
Again, I’m not going to go into tons of detail on this, because you could, but I’ll break it down into a few important bullet points:
Local Link Building & Citations
Link building within local SEO campaigns is incredibly important and it’s also something that’s often overlooked.
Compared to standard SEO campaigns, local SEO relies much more on links from other local websites that are really relevant to your business. It’s less about getting links from high authority websites (although that obviously helps) and more about getting links from websites local to you that are talking about similar things to what you do.
This means that local directories are a useful resource for link building, especially when it comes to building citations.
SERP Click Through Rate
Another ranking signal that’s being talked about a lot more is CTR from the SERPs.
It’s no wonder that this is such a strong signal because it’s used as one of Google’s core Quality Score measures within their Adwords platform. It makes sense that they would measure the user experience that searchers are getting with this metric.