You might have heard of the term “local SEO” and are considering if you should allocate some of your marketing budget to improving this for your business. It aims to increase visibility in search results when people close to your location perform a search query in Google or Google Maps using terms like “near me” and “close by”. Those who will benefit the most from implementing local SEO are businesses aiming to reach a local audience to drive footfall to their physical location. If this sounds like your business then local SEO should be a part of your digital marketing strategy.
Claim your Google My Business (GMB) account
The first step is to claim your Google My Business account, this has become essential to enhance your SEO and support your digital marketing efforts by encouraging customer engagement. According to Google themselves, customers are 70% more likely to visit a business with a complete Google My Business listing. It can give you insight into how customers are searching for your business, where they come from and how many people call your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results and Google Maps.
To claim your account search for your business name in the listings, it’s likely it was already created through data from other listings so should come up, and go through the necessary steps to verify your ownership. If no matches come up when you search the listings, then you can register your company and claim your GMB account.
The Google 3-Pack
When a person enters a search query such as “bike shops near me” for example, this returns search results in their local area, the top 3 results positioned under the Google maps link are known as the Google 3-Pack. Search engine results containing a local pack usually have high click-through-rates, typically in the range of 40-60% of total clicks on the page making it a valuable piece of real estate to position your business in. Included with this listing is a call to action button labelled “click-to-call”, this feature allows potential customers to call your business with only one click of the button, a great feature that encourages engagement. The 3-Pack also gives potential customers a quick overview of your business without them having to search further in organic results, a business they can easily find online builds trust in your business. There is also a level of reputation management through Google reviews which are displayed with your listing, this also helps greatly with instilling this trust factor.
People who use local search are very likely to visit your location within one day prepared to make a purchase. More footfall through the door of your business is likely to result in an increase in sales and recent research shows 78% of location based searches resulted in an offline conversion.
How do I improve my Local SEO and rank in the Google 3-Pack?
Implementing the following steps will greatly enhance your presence in local search results:
- Claiming or optimising your existing Google My Business profile; adding high quality photographs and useful content will also position you strongly within Google Maps.
- Claiming or optimising your Bing places for Business listing; Bing has a small share of the search engine market compared to Google but it’s still worthwhile claiming your Bing places listing.
- Ensuring your NAP (name, address, and phone number) citations are consistent.
- Submitting your NAP citations to reputable online directories.
- Encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews.
- Creating profiles on social channels, updating regularly with quality fresh content.
- Improving your website’s internal linking structure.
- On-page SEO website improvements to: title tags, headers, meta description, and content.
- Ensuring your website is responsive and mobile-friendly. 30% of Google searches from a mobile device include a location making this an important area to address.
- Improving your websites loading time and performance on desktop and mobile
- Off-page SEO improvements; getting inbound links with relevance and authority.
Local SEO can be an incredibly powerful driver to generate sales for your business when implemented correctly. If you are selling goods or providing services at a physical location your business will benefit greatly, please get in touch with us if you are interested in including this as part of your digital marketing strategy.