Have you noticed Google has changed the way it displays local search results? Previously displaying a list of 7 organic local searches, last year Google dropped its featured local listings to just 3. With fewer spots up for grabs, it is now more important than ever to optimise your Google My Business listing and increase your chances of ranking in the top 3!
Here are 6.5 ways to help you rank highly on Google Local Search and give you the leg up you need to set your business apart from your competition:
- Verify & Claim
The first step is to make sure your Google Place exists and is verified. Not sure if it is? Head over to Google My Business to find out. When you get there, click on the blue ‘Get Onto Google’ button in the top right corner, where Google will ask you to log in with your Google email address and password. Don’t have one of these? You can sign up there too!
Once you’re in, you can use the ‘Find Your Business’ search bar to type in your business name to see if you already have a business listing on Google, and also whether or not your listing has been claimed.
You will need to verify yourself as the business owner in order to claim your business, which can happen a number of ways (depends on what Google offers you!). It could be by sending a pin to your mobile number, an automated call to your business number with a verification code, or the good old-fashioned postcode via snail mail (generally takes 3 weeks to receive, and we find this is the most common verification option offered).
If Google is telling you your Google Places page is missing some of the basics, take the time to fill out these fields and increase your score to 100%. Make sure that you have used all 5 of the categories that Google offers, added opening hours and photos.
TIP: Your primary category is critical – make sure you choose what your business primarily is and what most customers would search for.
Be sure also to get your name, address and phone number (NAP) accurate – and consistent with everywhere else it is referred to on the internet. This is referred to as a
NAP citation. Accuracy across the net with your NAP citation will impact the positioning of your local listing.
- Sort out your Website
Make sure your business name, phone number and address is listed clearly on your website. Try listing your contact details in the footer of your website so it appears on every page, as well as on the contact page. Also embed your business’s Google Places listing on your contact page, this way Google can be certain your listed location is correct.
- Don’t forget other Business Directories
Google regulates how often your business is listed online, so make sure you list your business on all legitimate and reputable local directories such as Zomato, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Yellow Pages, White Pages, LocalSearch, Your City and other well-known trustworthy sources.
Take particular care to ensure your NAP citation and all other information is correct and completed in full. A match between Google and other trusted local business directory sources will reinforce to Google that you are a trusted provider in your local area and increase your chances of appearing higher up the list on Google maps for your primary category.
Reviews are a big part of Google’s ranking criteria. The more 5 star reviews you have, the better chance you have of a higher ranking in local search results. Google rewards you for providing the searcher with relevant information about your business and they want to present the most reputable business in search results.
Think about how you could implement a strategy in your business inviting customers to provide feedback encourage customer advocates to leave a review on Google.
- Research your competitors
If your competitors are ranking higher than you in Google then find out why! Do a search for their business and if they come up in a directory, make sure your business is listed in that directory also.
6.5 Give us a call if you need a hand!
Improving your Google ranking is, unfortunately, no quick fix. It takes time, effort and consistency to achieve top rankings but following these basic steps will pay off! Don’t feel that you have to do everything at once, take one step at a time and you should start to see your rankings improve in no time.
Still find it all too hard? We’re here to help 🙂 Check our Optimise Google Listing Package for more details.
Image Credit: Alexey Boldin/Shutterstock.com