How to win at Local SEO with your Google Business Profile

Local SEO is all about optimizing your website for specific location-based keywords, which are relevant to your business. The goal is to rank higher on Google when people search for products and services in their locale or city. Undoubtedly, ranking for local-specific is not only easier than ranking for national or global level queries but can also drive a more qualified traffic to your website generating leads and sales for your business.

In fact, local searches made up a huge chunk of the organic traffic.  According to research conducted by Google

  • 76 percent of people who conduct a mobile search on their smartphones visit a business within 24-hours  (see also  impact of mobile first index)
  • 28 percent of those searches result in purchases.

 

Additionally, searches with the “near me” qualifier have seen a tremendous increase over the recent years making the case for local SEO even stronger. People increasingly expect to receive results that are tailored to them without having to ask for them explicitly. Therefore, local relevance is expected, and Google’s algorithms are tailored to deliver the local results for each query.

So, let us identify what are the factors involved and how we can ace local SEO with the right tools and techniques.

How Does Local SEO Work?

Local SEO is different from general SEO because Google uses a different set ranking factors for local search results. While the usual ranking factors such as the quality of links from external websites (off-page SEO) remains important, Google looks at local SEO ranking signals to rank local search results such as – 

  • Content that features local context
  • Consistency in Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) across the online presence of the brand
  • Location of the searchers and Geo-targeting words used in the search query
  • Google My Business (now known as Google Business Profile)
  • Completeness of the profile, user generated content (reviews), and keywords used in the reviews 

Embrace and Excel with Google My Business

Google My Business (or Google Business Profile) is a free business listing that gets you visibility on Google Maps, the Knowledge Graph, and organic results. You can manage your company’s listing by adding NAP details, opening hours, and photos, choose relevant product/service categories of your business, and manage the reviews that your customers may leave behind which play a critical part in local SEO efforts. 

According to recent surveys, Google My Business continues to be the biggest driver of local SEO success. Some of the other benefits are –  

  • Easy to use interface
  • Free to signup
  • Provides complete details about the business
  • Allows you to add multiple locations
  • Integrates seamlessly with other Google properties like Google Maps and Google Analytics
  • Helps to build trust among customers
  • Improves customer experience
  • Gives detailed insights into the performance of your business

Key Local SEO Ranking factors

Now that we have the basic understanding of local SEO and GMB let us know the main factors that determine the rankings for your business. These are – 

Relevance – How relevant is your business and its products and services to the search query that user types in

Distance – how far is your business address from the location of user when he/she is searching

Prominence – determined by the knowledge Google has about your business, from across the internet, like links, articles and directories. Google reviews count and review score factor in local search ranking, these can help your business’ local ranking, so keep them coming. Your position in search engine results is also a factor. Therefore, SEO best practices apply.

 A combination of these factors helps Google find the best match for the user’s search.

Optimizing your Google My Business listing

We know our Google Business Profile is vital for SEO and have a fairly good idea of the factors that come into play. So, how can we optimize it and win at local SEO?  Here you go…

  1. Create a Google Business Profile account
  2. Complete each section of your business profile
  3. Provide accurate contact information
  4. Choose an appropriate category for the product/services your business provides
  5. Select applicable attributes
  6. Add photos and videos to your profile 
  7. Get your customers to write reviews on your profile
  8. Post content and updates to your Google Business Profile
  9. Ask and answer questions
  10. Set up the messaging in the GMB App

 

Congratulations! if you made it this far. You should now be confident to take on the steps for implementation.  And should you want a more overall and detailed idea to do SEO, have a look at our integrated digital marketing course.

 

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Instructor: Azhar Katib

About the author

Azhar Katib is the founder-director of WebSell Solutions Ptd Ltd., a company specializing in online presence management for SMEs in Singapore and Malaysia.

He has a background IT and Digital Marketing for the past 25+ years. He is also a trainer for Singapore SkillsFuture Programs