More people search using mobile devices now than they do on desktop or laptop computers. Because of this, optimizing your company’s Google Places listing is going to capture more local traffic than any other form of online marketing. Our experience has proven this time and time again. So what exactly is Local Search?
Understanding Local Search
When we discuss local search, we are talking about businesses that provide services and products to a local geographical area. If your business provides service in Montgomery County, MD, and you want to get local residents to your website, your message would be geared towards Rockville, Gaithersburg, Bethesda, etc. You want to show up when someone in your backyard does a search on their iPad or Droid. There are several ways to take advantage of the search traffic, but it all comes down to local optimization.
Google My Business
There have been many names used over the years for this service, but you probably know it best as Google Maps. They are the tiny little bubbles and maps that show up on Google when someone does a search. Google wants to provide the best user experience possible, and providing the searcher with results close to home is one way to do that. If you want to have the carpets of your home in Maryland cleaned, you don’t need to know about a company in Florida or California. You want a local company that can provide this service. Therefore, showing up on Google Maps, or as it is referred to now, Google My Business, is critical to your success.
Having a local listing on Google requires multiple steps, but the first is to get verified on Google. If you have a little check mark next to your business name like the image below, you have been verified by Google with a postcard and some form of validation.
If your business has been verified, you have established some trust with Google, and they will reward you. At this point, it is important to make sure that your Google My Business profile is filled out 100% accurately, and you have included photos, videos, contact information, links to other social media channels, etc. The more thoroughly filled out, the better, and the more trust Google will have in your business.
How Far Google My Business Extends
In the past, the Google Maps feature would show the most relevant businesses within a 30-mile radius of the search. Now, Google has trimmed that down to 10 or 15 miles, depending on the competition. Just because you have a business located in the heart of the city you are targeting, and you have the entire listing filled out properly does not guarantee rankings. There is a list of other factors that must be completed to rank. These include:
- Name, address, and phone number is consistent and universal (the same on any site, whether it be yours or a Facebook page)
- Schematic markup on your website
- Verified Google Reviews
- Backlinks from highly relevant and trusted citation sites
- Internal links set up your website
- Geographic areas with unique contact pages
- Locations put into specific categories on your site
While these factors are important, they are just a piece of the entire puzzle that need to be assembled properly to rank well for Google local. We have optimized hundreds of sites with thousands of front page rankings for local business, and can help you do the same.
One Last Item Of Importance
In case you didn’t hear, Google is now going to add the “BUY” button to local search results. Yes, Google is now going to compete with Amazon and other companies in the e-commerce industry. If you provide a service such as carpet cleaning, then in the very near future, you will be able to pay for a service from the search results page on Google, without EVER going to the actual website. This is huge news and is going to make several businesses a ton of money. The fact remains, that if you are not on the front page for Google Local, you will not have the opportunity to include that buy button on your listing. What do you think the value of that service will be in years to come? Who is going to take advantage or this you or your competitor?