Picture this: your potential customer uses their phone to quickly search for the products or services you provide, and they’re looking for a local establishment to get them from. But when they head to Google, input their key terms and hit “Search”, your competition shows up in the coveted first position. Your potential customer breathes a sigh of relief, clicks on their listing, and your chances of a sale have vanished.
Luckily, there are some measures you can take to prevent this from happening to you. By implementing search engine optimization (SEO) on your website, you can improve your business’s visibility on Google and reach your customers during those critical moments when they need you.
Here are some tips for dominating your local search engine rankings:
1. Analyze Google’s Ranking Factors and How You Currently Rank
Before diving into how you can optimize your website for Google, you should first know how Google determines the ranking in their search engine results. Google has given a helpful guide on how they rank websites, which is an excellent place to start to see if you’re living up to their standards.
Next, see your current rankings by using a third-party rank-checking program. Our digital marketing experts like to use RankTracker by SEO Power Suite, but there are many different ones out there that will allow you to check your rankings, as well as your competitor’s.
2. Claim All Local Listings
The next step is to go on all relevant places that your business is listed and claim your listing. For most, this will include Google, Yahoo, and Yelp, for example. Depending on your industry, there many be other platforms that you should focus on. For instance, if you are promoting your apartment listings, you will want to be listed on places like Apartments.com as well.
Once you claim your listing, make sure you complete your profile, including your location, hours, and a list of your products and services, for starters.
3. Use Quality Photos in Your Local Listings
Good photos of your business can be a big factor when it comes to ways to stand out from your competition, so including them in your local listings is a must. Add in photos of your team members (make sure to either use established employees or be prepared to update photos in the event of staff changes), your storefront from different angles (these can be very helpful for those who are new to your business and are trying to locate you), and fun photos of your company at events or helping out in the community.
Try to update your photos quarterly to show Google you are active with your Google My Business profile, which will also help your rankings.
4. Keep Up with Your Reviews
It’s true – managing your online reputation improves your local SEO rankings. The more reviews you have and the higher your rating, the higher your listing will be in relevant searches. Check your reviews regularly, at least once a day is recommended, and respond promptly to both good AND bad reviews.
5. Answer FAQs on Google
While SEO experts can’t agree on if Google Q&A, which was launched in 2017, directly impacts ranking, they all agree that it is a valuable tool that should be optimized for the benefit of your customers. Think about it – if you aren’t directly answering the burning questions of your customers, who will? And will they end up getting accurate information?
6. Increase Visibility by Filling In Google Attributes
In addition to the primary information about your business (main operating hours, location, phone number) it is beneficial to also fill out as much secondary information as possible. This includes information such as secondary hours (do you stop delivery orders at 9pm whereas your dining room stays open until 10pm?), accepted payment methods, and handicap accessibility.
7. Leverage the Power of Google Posts
Make your profile really stand out by regularly utilizing Google Posts, which allow you to post directly from you Google My Business profile. Posts can include text, a photo, and, depending on the type of post, a call-to-action. There are four main opportunities to use Google Posts:
- Showcasing a product or service
- Promoting an upcoming event
- Providing an offer
- Highlighting an exciting new feature
Many times, you can re-use the same content that you use for your social media accounts to make a Google Post.
8. Add Keywords to Your Local Listing
Including relevant keywords in your local listings is also a smart way to increase your online visibility. Use those keywords in your detailed description of your business that you include in your profile, as well as in other places that make sense.
9. Track Performance of Your Listings
Nothing with digital marketing is “set it and forget it”, including your local profiles. Google provides insights as to how your profile is performing, including how many searches it appeared in, how many clicks it received, and how many calls were placed from your listing. Check these metrics regularly to make sure your listing is indeed working for you.
Need help putting the above measures in place so you can dominate your local listings? Contact us today!