Local SEO / Google Maps
If you run a local business that sells to a local market, Google offers an excellent opportunity to promote your business.
We called it Local Search, but you may know it as Google Maps. When potential customers search for local businesses like yours, they will see a map with three companies listed. Ideally, you want to be on this list because it can mean a consistent flow of free clicks and leads to your website.
But this is a highly competitive program. Think about how many other small businesses just like yours – in and around your local community – would love to be in those top spots.
Here are the elements that go into building your presence on Google Maps
Listing Management starts with your Google My Business page, which is Google’s way of documenting and verifying your business. This is the essential first step if you want to be found on Google Maps. If you haven’t already done so, you need to claim your business, fill out the GMB form and then have your listing verified by Google.
Beyond that, you will need to clean up your so-called citations. Citations are third-party references to your business that come from online directories. Many of your references are likely to be inconsistent which creates confusion with the public and with Google. By improving the consistency of your listings, you should improve your ranking.
Like it or not, the public has become very dependent on customer reviews when they are considering a local service. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely Google will look at your business favorably and reward you with higher rankings. There are multiple ways to encourage positive reviews, and, when needed, to address negative reviews.
As with all forms of SEO, content is a central element for getting ranked. For Local SEO, content starts with the creation of your Service pages and your Location pages. For Service pages, you want each of your services to have their own page. Similarly, for Location pages, you want each city, town or county to have their own page.
Location pages are helpful because Google will look at your business address to determine if you are eligible to be listed for searches outside of your home location. Generally, your proximity to the searcher’s location is a key element in your ranking. But having a web page dedicated to the searcher’s home location will improve your chances. These pages need to be unique, however. Do not copy and paste the same page content for each and every location in your market.
Beyond your Service and Location pages, you should also look at creating specific content about the work you do – such as publishing blog posts (and social media extensions) for completed projects and success stories.
Link Building is about getting other websites – authoritative websites – to link to your website. This is viewed by Google as a vote in favor of your website.
Some links are created organically, meaning they occur on their own because of some content you created. Other links need to be orchestrated as part of a link-building strategy which may involve social media, influencer marketing, article/blog marketing, personal outreach and good old-fashioned public relations.