A 4 Step Guide to Dominating Local Search Results
You’re a small business owner that’s heard a thing or two about something called “local SEO”, but find yourself confused, thinking “how & where do I even start?” Our team of SEO experts have assembled a guide to help you better understand this process.
Every day, consumers search the web to find local information – store addresses, business hours and directions to name a few. In fact, a study done by Google stated that around 80% of consumers use Google’s search engine to find this information. Not only that, but approximately 50% of these consumers who conduct local searches actually visited the store within the same day.
A local SEO strategy can be complex, with various strategies and tactics dependant on the market your business exists in. With that said, there are a few things that any business can do to ensure an improved local search result presence.
Google My Business Set Up & Optimization
Setting up and optimizing a Google My Business account is a crucial part of a successful local SEO strategy, and for good reason. Google My Business is a free tool that can be used as a hub for managing your company’s presence online. It makes your business distinctive in Google’s search engine and provides users with valuable information such as location, phone number, website and business hours.
Google My Business is also a vital tool get your company’s information displayed on a Knowledge Graph or Maps within organic search results.
Creating a Positive Pre-Click Brand Reputation
As a small business owner, you probably know the value your reputation carries among your customers. Your reputation online plays a major role in this, and with nearly 60% of consumers viewing online reviews on a weekly basis, you need to ensure that your business has a positive presence online.
Not only are online reviews important for users, but they also stand high in Google’s view as well. Google favours websites that display both a high review rating and volume. This means a single five-star review won’t cut it if your competition has hundreds of positive reviews. If Google likes what it sees, you may be lucky enough to earn a position within the local pack, which is positioned ahead of the first organic results.
Gathering online reviews can be tricky, particularly because they are out of your control. There are few ways, however, that you can kick-start the growth and improvement of your online brand reputation:
- Provide the best customer experience as possible. – There’s an old adage that someone who has a positive business experience will only tell two people, while someone who has a negative experience will tell ten. That sentiment holds true in the world of online reviews. While your customers are more likely to leave a review if they had a great experience with your business, it’s almost guaranteed that they will leave a negative review if their experience was memorably bad. Mitigate the risk of this occurrence and ensure that you provide a high-level experience to all customers.
- Gather email addresses of purchasing customers. – After a positive transaction, follow up within the next 3-5 business days and request them to write a review of your business. This is prime time to capitalize on the goodwill you’ve built with the customer.
- Provide Users with a Reviews page or links to a third-party review site on your website. – This allows for easy access for users to leave a review. There are even ways to provide users with a direct link to a Google My Business Review that is already pre-populated with 5 stars!
- Regularly monitor and respond to negative reviews. – Negative reviews happen. Whether the fault lies on the business or customer is irrelevant, as in the world of online reviews “the customer is always right” and their negative words could be highly damaging to your company’s reputation. Be careful when writing your response, as you do not want to blame the customer. Take responsibility and write a sincere apology to the customer for their bad experience. This type of action will carry a lot of weight with both the frustrated customer and others reading their feedback.
Wait, position zero? I thought the first position was the highest you can get in search results? Well, that’s where you’re wrong! Position Zero is the result ahead of the first organic search result, regularly presented in the form of a featured snippet.
First thing is first, if you want to rank in position zero, you have to have both of these two things:
- Already rank on the first page of search results. Google will not pull information from results on the second or third page, as these results are likely not as relevant as those on the first.
- Have content on the page that specifically targets the question that users are searching for.
Why should position zero matter to you?
The future of technology is evolving every day, leaving voice search at the forefront of it. With technologies such as Google Home and Google Assistant using featured snippets as their preference in communicating results, soon businesses will be fighting for position zero. So why not stay ahead of the curve?
Local Citation Building
A local citation is essentially any mention of your business online, whether it be through social platforms, websites or local business directories and consist of your business’s “NAP” – or company name, address, and phone number.
Google will use these local citations as a verification that your business exists, and take them into consideration when ranking businesses in local search results. Similar to links pointing back to your website, also known as a backlink, Google prefers businesses that are mentioned frequently on high-quality and relevant websites.
A common starting point for gathering local citations is through local directories, this can include:
A few tips for Local Citations:
- Ensure accuracy. If Google notices an inaccurate NAP across various platforms, it will actually deteriorate the trust Google will have in your business and lessen your chances of ranking highly in local search results. So, make sure your company’s information is consistent across all profiles and platforms.
- Use Local Citation Tools. Websites such as https://www.brightlocal.com/ will allow you to keep track of all your local citations, identify any discrepancies and fix them.
To sum up, any Local SEO strategy requires a lot of thought and decision making in order for success. Perhaps you have so much on your plate, that you just don’t have the time for all of this. If you’re interested in learning more about Snaptech’s Local SEO services, visit here. We’d love to show you the power that a high-level local organic search strategy can have on the success of your business.