Local SEO allows you to make your business more visible on a local level. It allows you to create an enticing online presence in a specific geographic area.
But what exactly does that mean? The answer is simple: Have you ever searched for something like this:
Restaurant near me or
Dentist in New York?
Perhaps you have entered something similar into the search bar emphasizing that there is a location element in your search?
Whenever you search for something along those lines Google will prioritize the results of businesses in the geographic area you’re interested in.
The results on Google for such a search will likely look similar to this:
This section is called the “Snack Pack”. Here you find business profiles that contain all the necessary information to allow you to know, in this case for example, what is the restaurant in question, when is it open, and what services they offer as well. These business pages are called Google My Business pages. Every business that wants to be more visible online on a local level should have a GMB (Google My Business) page so potential customers can find the business more easily.
When you open one of these GMB pages you will find all kinds of useful information:
From the name of the business, their rating, a brief description where they introduce themselves, their address, opening hours, phone number, Q&A, and so much more. Depending on the type of business GMB also allows you to add a link to your products or services. It will also let you know automatically when a business is at its busiest.
And last but not least, you can check their reviews:
With all this information a potential customer has enough information to make up his mind even before visiting the business’s website. Pretty cool, right?
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free platform from Google that allows a business to create their own business profile which contains all the necessary information to allow their potential customers to know what their business name is when they are open, and what services they offer as well.
These Google My Business pages will be shown online in search results when someone searches in their vicinity for a product or service they provide. Every business that wants to be more visible online on a local level should have a GMB (Google My Business) page in order for its potential customers to find them more easily.
When a business is present in GMB he will also have an online citation which gives more visibility.
So, as you have probably realized by now, Google My Business is a very important platform, but it is not the only online directory. There are dozens of directories that people use to search for specific services in specific areas.
Creating profiles in other business directories is essential for your Local SEO because these often rank very high! Registering your business in these directories will also help you increase your local visibility in search engines. There are various industry-specific directories as well, so if you have a restaurant, for example, you can list your business on TripAdvisor. Be sure to remember to create numerous business profiles, and please make sure that your name, address, and phone number are consistent (NAP).
What is an online citation?
An online citation is any online mention of your business composed of your business name, your business address, and phone number. (Also known as NAP: Name, Address, and phone number).
Online citations can be displayed in 2 main ways: structured citations and unstructured citations.
The structured citations are displayed in a structured manner and are usually shown in local directories, social media, etc.
Unstructured citations on the other hand are displayed on blog posts, newspaper websites, etc., and do not have a well-structured format.
When Google sees consistent NAP information across all online directories, social media platforms, and other mentions, it will give a higher priority to your business for local rankings.
In regards to online citations, you should make sure your existing citations are updated and create more online citations.
Another thing that will be beneficial for you is to get reviews. When potential new customers see you have good reviews they are going to be encouraged to buy your product/service.
How to get Google Reviews
Google reviews are displayed on your Google My Business page in search results and on Google Maps, they help your potential customers make their minds up before contacting you. This is a great opportunity for you to shine and show them you are professional and take good care of your customers.
So how do you get Google reviews? There are a few good strategies that can help you get reviews from your customers. After their purchase of a product, it would be the ideal moment to send them an email thanking them and asking if they would be willing to leave a review. When they do, remember to reply as soon as possible (preferably within 24 hours).
Of course, at some point, you’ll have to answer a bad review as well. Don’t feel discouraged, those are actually a good opportunity to show your potential new customers how you handle a complaint. Always reply as soon as possible and let your customer know that you understand the complaint and are willing to help. Try to take the conversation out of the review thread and suggest they contact you via email instead so you can help solve the issue right away for them.
If you show that you understand their complaint and that you are willing to help them after everything has been resolved they might be willing to change their review and update it with how you helped them solve their issue.
This will encourage potential new customers to have no fear in buying your product/service since you are always ready to help. In the future, we are going to dive more into this topic so stay tuned.
I don’t have time, can you do it for me?
It is vital to check each platform regularly to ensure that all your company data is always up-to-date! We understand that this is very time-consuming, but it is crucial for consistently good visibility!
If you want to be more visible locally but don’t have time to create your business pages in all the local directories and social media you can use our application rankingCoach 360 to automatize the entire process.
rankingCoach will ask you some basic information such as a brief and detailed description, your opening hours and the media you want to upload on your business page, and after you click on “Synchronize directories” rankingCoach will automatically create your Google My Business page (if you already have one you can connect the existing GMB page to rankingCoach) and a business page in all the relevant local directories for your location and type of business.
You can also connect to Facebook and update it along with the other directories. Instead of managing different accounts in different local directories, you can manage all your business pages via your rankingCoach account.
You can also check your GMB statistics and respond to all your online reviews from your rankingCoach account. All this will save you time to dedicate to your business. Try it now!
I hope this article on Local SEO has helped you to understand what you need to do to be more visible on a local level.