All businesses strive to connect with their local community and customers. The internet has created a landscape for businesses to showcase their offerings and closely understand their most loyal customers. Local search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the digital age’s most vital tools and should be leveraged to optimize your firm’s local results. Google My Business and Google Plus play a tremendous role into your brands presence in local Google search results.
Your Google My Business Location (AKA Google Maps or Google Places) ranking in search results is based primarily on the 3 factors listed below. These 3 factors must be understood and considered to increase your company’s local Google search performance, position, and degree of online transparency.
- Relevance: how relevant your business category/listing is to the user’s search query. For example, the relevant website page and categories should be evident in the associated website URL. Additionally, when posting to Google Plus, relevant hashtags can be utilized, and will help your local search rankings.
- Distance: just like it sounds — how far is each potential result from where the user is enquiring about.
- Prominence: how established the business is, both online and offline.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut in the way of a simple request or subsidy to Google in exchange for a better local ranking. Google does its best to keep the details of its search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone. However, there are several ways you can help improve your company’s ranking and be right where your customers are searching!
In addition to the 3 factors above here’re some steps you can take to improve your local search rankings with Google My Business and Google Plus.
- Enter complete and consistent data: Make sure you’ve entered and confirmed all of your business information in Google My Business so that matches the information to be found on your website, and be sure to continuously monitor the information to keep it up-to-date. Data edits such as your physical address, phone number and category, (among others) can all be updated via desktop or mobile.
- Manage and respond to reviews: Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback they leave about your business. When responding to reviews, be sure to use a sympathetic tone, but don’t be too personal. Keep your message short and kind, thanking the reviewer for their input without coming across as a salesperson. Taking these steps will lead to high quality, positive reviews that will help build relationships with your customers, while also improving your ranking.
- Add photos: Accurate and appealing pictures can show potential customers what your business offers and what they can expect in choosing to pursue your business. Preferred, profile, logo, interior, exterior, employees at work, and cover photos can all be employed to highlight and capture your business in action. The photos should also be refreshed and updated every so often. Photos that are saved as JPG or PNG files work best, and should be sized between 10KB and 5 MB.
- Utilize Google Insights: Google Insights is an incredibly powerful tool that can enlighten business on how customers typically interact with your listing. Specifically, you can learn how customers find your listing, where they find you, what actions they take, and the directions and phone call requests they make. This information is very useful to inform future business decisions and should be taken advantage of using Google My Business to improve SEO.
Hopefully you find this information useful and are able to incorporate these tools for your business.