Although you may be doing all you can to optimize your website for SEO, and your domain name is still showing up high on the search results page, you may still find that you’re not showing up in the “Local Pack.” This is the map that shows up on the Google search results page, typically displaying 3 top businesses in the area. So how does Google choose which businesses to display, and how can you better optimize for local searches?
How Google Determines Local Search Rankings
Google primarily uses 3 factors to determine local search rankings. The first one is relevance, or how closely the content on your site matches what the user has searched for. Having complete, detailed information on your Google My Business page helps to improve your relevance. Next, Google considers the distance between your business’s listed location/service area and the location entered in the search query. The last factor is prominence, meaning how important your business is to the offline world. Gathering quality reviews and ratings can help to show Google that your business is prominent.
Improving Local Search Rankings
The first step is to claim and verify your Google My Business listing. You can verify your business easily by getting a verification code sent to your phone, or sending a postcard to your business address.
Ensure NAP Consistency
It is important to make sure your business name, address, and phone number are consistent across all listings on the web. If you already have your business listed on Yelp, Facebook, other review platforms, etc., use the exact same information on all sites. For example, if your address is 1 Main St. #1, list it as just that every time. If you leave out the #1 on some listings or spell out “street,” it can confuse Google.
Monitor Online Reviews
Google has made it abundantly clear that reviews have a major impact on your local rankings and rewards those with a significant amount of positive reviews. Show your customers that you appreciate their feedback by taking the time to respond, whether it be positive or negative. Remember, you’re not only responding to them but all other potential customers that come across the review. If you do not have many reviews, be proactive about asking your customers. Send a link after your service asking for a review, post the link on social media, etc., to make it easy for them.
Create Location Pages
If your business serves multiple towns or neighborhoods, creating different location pages on your website can help Google to identify the locations in which you should be found for. Be sure to optimize your content with relevant keywords, testimonials, and pictures to make the page attractive.