Then you can’t ignore Google.
- Over 46 percent of all searches on Google are for local businesses and recommendations.
- Over 50 percent of all people who conduct a local search on their smartphones and 34 percent of people who search from their computers or tablets will visit the local retail location by the end of the day.
- Over 60 percent of American adults search for local product and service information on a regular basis.
Yes, local search is more relevant to your marketing plans than ever before. Take into consideration the way you search and you’ll understand just how important Google is to how you live.
Pull up something local – a restaurant or advice on finding a good doctor. The moment you hit search, you’ll find the “Google snack-pack” at the top of the results. This includes a small map of the area being searched with markers for the top two or three businesses on the list. The businesses will be featured with addresses, phone numbers, review scores, and links to websites and directions.
Think these search results are having any impact? They will … providing you aren’t making mistakes that will completely jeopardize your local SEO efforts.
- Inaccurate, Unavailable, or Inconsistent Contact Information
It may seem crazy, but many businesses suffer from this very simple mistake. Has your business moved from location to location? Do your shipping and retail addresses differ? Did you start out as a home-based business, afraid to put your address online?
Businesses have a variety of reasons for inconsistency in the way their contact information is listed online. But if it’s not there, Google can’t use it. And it’s one of the core metrics Google uses to rank local businesses in its search results.
It’s not only important to have your name, address, and phone number prominently displayed on your website, but it is also important that this information is consistent from place to place.
Google and other search engine cross check your contact information with several other sites to ensure it is providing the most accurate information available. It looks at sites like Google My Business page, Yelp, Internet Yellow Pages, just to name a few.
And it’s not just the search engines that use it; it improves your sales and conversion rates too.
- 76 percent of all local searches result in a phone call
- 86 percent of people use local searches to find a business on Google Maps
And if it isn’t accurate, you’re losing sales.
- Give Google What It Wants
It probably comes as no surprise that Google is by far the largest search engine in the world, performing nearly 70 percent of all searches. Because the majority of your potential customers are there searching for your products and services, it just makes good sense to make sure Google is happy, and you’re providing it with the information it wants and needs to rank you.
When people perform a search on Google, it heads to your MyBusiness page and uses the content there to pull from and release in the local search results. That means if your MyBusiness page hasn’t been updated or isn’t completely filled out, not only are you missing the potential of providing customers with accurate information, you’re missing out on Google ranking you higher in search rankings.
It’s easy to set up a MyBusiness page. It’s even more important to verify your listing from time to time as nobody else will be able to edit your page in the future. Ensure it includes a proper and unique description of your business, be sure to place it in the correct category, and that all information is accurate and consistent. Start with the basics, then become more detailed from there. You can upload photos to share as well, making it even more relevant to what your customers are searching for.
- Get Local Reviews
You know you need them, but you hate the thought of going out and getting them. Yet, they really do make a difference. The more high quality and high quantity reviews you get, the better it is for your potential search engine results.
Once your MyBusiness page has been created, use it to reach out to your best customers and ask them to leave a genuine review. Work this process into your marketing. You can put it on your website and your blog, include it in newsletters, even attach it to invoices and statements. Realize that only a select few will follow through and leave a review. But in this world so heavily based on customer input, you’ll be surprised at how many you can get just by asking.
- Ignoring Obvious SEO Ranking
If you’ve been marketing online for any length of time, SEO isn’t a foreign concept. And you probably know that what matters most in the search engine optimization industry changes on a regular basis. What used to be considered acceptable practices just a few years ago could now get you banned for life.
But for local SEO techniques, a lot of the same factors that have been around “forever” in this field hold true for both worldwide and local searches.
Backlinks – A backlink is simply a hyperlink coming in from one web page to another website. The more backlinks you have pointing back to your site, the more popular it will be. Of course, not any backlink will do. High-quality sites from a diverse number of websites online will improve your rankings overall. If you don’t have a link strategy, it’s important you create one.
Content – Google loves ranking based on fresh, new content. The more relevant content you have for specific key terms, the more it will send love to your pages. This isn’t a process you can create once and forget. Content is something that needs to build over time to remain relevant.
Click Through – Google also loves observing other people clicking onto different pages from the search results and moving around your site to learn even more. This is a sign of a high quality, relevant site. And Google will shower it with more love. This is a signal that everything is working right on your site and people love what they find once they get there.
How many of these things does your company’s website have in place? Is it time you started working on your SEO strategy?