Google doesn’t always make it easy to rank high in the search results, but we’ve got a secret. There’s one area of SEO that you can focus on that will make a huge difference in where your business shows up in search – Local SEO.
In late Summer of 2017, Google released the Hawk update, which was focused primarily on local organic search. Without going into too much detail, the update essentially made it more important than ever to:
- Get reviews
- Claim and update your Google Business listing
The best part is, it’s not that difficult (or expensive) to do. We’ll walk you through the basics of maintaining your online business listings to boost your organic SEO and get found by your target audience. But first, let’s talk about why it’s so important to focus on your business listings in the first place.
Why is it so important to Google that your local listings are accurate?
According to Google, “Nearly 1/3 of all mobile searches are related to location.” With today’s users increasingly focused on finding products and services that are “near me” and open “right now,” it has become critical to let searchers know what’s happening with your business in real-time.
With this information in mind, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of optimizing your local business listings.
Help Customers Find Your Business
The more accurate your listings are, the more relevant and helpful they will be to your ideal audience. By ensuring that each listing provides the most up-to-date contact information and directions to your business, you can help customers find your business whether they’re at home, work, or on the go.
Consistency Builds Trust
How can you expect your customers to trust you when your business is listed five different ways in five different places? By ensuring that your business name, address and phone number (NAP), (website and email, too) are consistently up-to-date wherever your business is listed, you give customers a reason to trust you from the start.
Online Reviews are Crucial
When customers are searching for local businesses, one of the first things they do is look for reviews. If they find two local businesses, and one has reviews while the other doesn’t, they’re more likely to click on the listing with reviews. Even if all of the reviews aren’t positive, it’s at least comforting to see that a business has regular customers.
Google Says So
We know this one sounds like a cop-out; no one ever liked hearing this response from their parents – “Because I said so.” But when it comes to search rankings in Google, what they say goes. Plus, they tell you exactly how to do it on their website, so you can’t say you weren’t informed.
You can find the basic steps to optimizing your business for local SEO below, but you can find all of the how-to information in the support section of Google.
A Checklist for Optimizing Your Local Business Listing
Want to improve your local business listing rank on Google? Here’s how:
- Decide how you want your listing to look.
- Enter your business information into Google My Business.
- Verify your location.
- Make it easy for your customers to find you!
- Maintain accurate business hours (including weekends, holidays, and other special events).
- Add quality, relevant photos
- Encourage and respond to reviews (positive and negative).
- Sign up for a local listing service.
At CommonPlaces, we use Yext, which helps us keep our brand identity consistent across multiple online platforms and directories.