Investing in local advertising and using word of mouth are both great ways of generating business for your company. However, these days you’ll also need to think about how to improve the Google ranking of your business.
Did you know that 97% of all search engine users make local searches, and out of all of the search traffic online, 46% of searches have local intent? This makes it clear that you need to find ways to improve your local ranking on Google.
But how do you go about raising your position in the local business Google ranking? If you’re new to local SEO, you may have no idea where to even start trying to improve your Google ranking. Find out more in our local ranking Google guide.
What Is Local SEO?
To understand what is meant by the term ‘local SEO’, you must first understand what is meant by the term ‘local search’. A local search is when someone searches for a local business, product, or service that relates to a specific place.
Users could be searching for ‘plumbers near me’ or ‘electricians in [location]’.
Local search specifically relates to a certain location. Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website and content so that you rank within these searches.
Local SEO helps you to boost your visibility online, it brings you more footfall to your brick-and-mortar location, aids your credibility, and helps you attract more targeted traffic.
Read on to find out ways to improve your local ranking on Google.
1. Add Your Business to Google Maps
If you want to improve your local ranking on Google, you’ll need to start off by making sure that you appear on the map. If you’re not on the map, you’re never going to rank locally.
If you already appear on Google Maps, you can skip this step. If you don’t have a listing, the following steps will talk you through how to add your business to Maps:
- Head to Google.com/maps or use the Maps app on your phone to search for your business name.
- If your business appears in the dropdown menu and has a location beside it, then you already have a listing.
- If your business doesn’t appear, click on ‘add a missing place’.
- From here, you’ll be invited to provide your name, location, and the category of your business.
Anyone can make a business appear on Google Maps. It doesn’t matter who has added your business, they won’t have any control over your listing. Only you will when you claim and prove ownership of your business.
2. Claim Your Google Maps Listing
The next step in improving your local ranking on Google is to claim your listing. You’ll need to do this because when you set up your listing in the first instance, all you can provide is the name, location, and category of your business.
Once you claim your Google Maps listing, you’ll be able to provide lots more information about your business. The more information your listing has, the more chance you’ll have of ranking high on Google Maps.
To claim your Google Maps listing, you’ll need to set up a free Google My Business account. Once you’ve set up your Google My Business account, you’ll be able to hit on the option that says ‘own this business?’ or ‘claim this business’ and follow the instructions to claim the listing.
3. Add Lots Of Information About Your Business to Google Maps
Now that you have a Google Maps listing along with a linked Google My Business account, you’re ready to start optimizing it to rank higher in the local search results. The more information you’re able to provide in your listings, the better your success will be at improving your ranking.
To feature more information on your listing, simply log into your Google My Business account, and select ‘info’. From here, you’ll be able to add all manner of information to your listing, including website, phone number, opening hours, areas you service, products, services, and more.
The more information you’re able to provide, the more helpful this will be to your customers. Google will appreciate this fact and will improve your position in the rankings accordingly.
4. Use Consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number
Google sets out to rank businesses that it knows it can trust. For this reason, you should make sure that all of your information across all of the platforms your business is listed under is consistent.
This means making sure your name is displayed exactly the same way on your Google Maps listing as it is on your website and on other listings sites.
So, for instance, if your business is Mount Pleasant Health Center, you’ll want to ensure it is displayed consistently rather than ‘Mt. Pleasant Health Center’ in one listing, and ‘Mount Pleasant Health Ctr’ elsewhere online.
The same rule applies to your address and telephone number. These too should be consistent across all listings. Pay attention to using an abbreviation of things like ‘road vs. rd’ on listings.
Make sure all of your phone numbers match up too. If you make a mistake, Google won’t know which is the correct number to display. The confusion could lead to your business being penalized in the rankings.
5. Add Photos to Your Google Maps Listing
Google is particularly fond of when you upload photos to your listing. This is because it shows that you’re an active listing and it’s worth them ranking you in a better position in the search results.
Customers also love to see photos of the business, and if customers love it, then so does Google.
If you don’t have photos, your listing won’t be as appealing to potential customers, and as a result, Google won’t rank you as high as your competitors.
To improve your ranking on Google Maps, upload plenty of good-quality images that help capture exactly what it’s like at your business. This could mean sharing photos of the exterior and interior of your premises, adding images of your products, or including pictures of your team.
To add photos, simply head to the ‘photos’ tab on your Google My Business dashboard and click on the add photos button.
Ideally, you should add more photos on a regular basis. The more often you post photos, the better.
6. Harness the Power Of Google Reviews
Google cares about customer experience, and they love whatever your customers love. For this reason, ranking favor is given to business listings that have positive reviews. It’s therefore in your best interests to try and attract as many positive reviews as possible.
But how do you get reviews? Whenever you create a business listing on Google Maps, you’ll be opening your business up to the potential to receive reviews.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get any reviews. To get reviews, you’ll have to ask your customers to leave feedback, and when they do leave reviews, you’ll need to reply to them.
By responding to reviews, you’ll be showing potential prospects how attentive you are and that you’re willing to resolve any issues as they arise.
7. Post Regularly Using Google My Business
Just like with social media platforms such as Facebook, it’s possible to publish posts that will appear in your Google Maps business listing. By posting regularly on your Google Maps profile, you’ll be sending a signal to Google that says that you are proactively managing your listing.
This is something that can benefit your ranking. Not only this, but whenever customers are making searches on search engines, they have intentions of finding a business. Using posts is a great way of getting your offers in front of an audience that is more than ready to engage.
8. Include Local Keywords on Your Website
In addition to using your Google Maps listing to improve your local ranking, you should also turn your attention to your website. By doing this, you’ll be able to target local keywords and as a result rank higher for local search terms.
Not only will adding local keywords such as ‘plumber in [location]’ help your website to rank higher, but it will also contribute to the ranking of your Google Maps listing.
Make sure that you include location-specific keywords within the main pages of your site. This should include your homepage, contact page, about us page, services and product pages, and your blog posts.
Don’t just include these keywords in the titles of your pages either. You should also include them in the body, headings, image tags, captions, and URLs.
Do make sure that your keywords are placed naturally and don’t feel forced or spammy.
By demonstrating to Google that your business is active within your local area, you’ll be making Google more confident in ranking your business on Google Maps for the area too.
9. Make Sure Your Website Is Responsive and Works on All Devices
The next thing that you should do with your website is to make sure that it’s responsive and that it works on mobile devices.
You may be surprised to learn that as many as 60% of all searches are carried out using mobile devices. It stands to reason that many people will be searching for local businesses when they’re out and about and your website’s capabilities could be what stands in the way of you converting a lead into a sale.
If your website is slow to load, requires users to pinch and zoom to see the content on the page, or is littered with broken links, nobody is going to hang around to try and decipher what you have on offer. You will lose them to your nearest competitor.
Pick a design for your site that is easy to see on a mobile device. Make sure your images aren’t too big or too small and that your text is easy to read.
Run your website through Google’s page speed insights to find out the areas in which you can improve on your site to speed it up.
10. Hire a Professional to Look After Your Local SEO Needs
If you really want to stand out from the local crowd, you should invest in local search engine optimization. By allowing Iconic Web Headquarters to manage your local SEO campaign, you’ll see a sharp rise in your local ranking.
We recognize that to hit the ground running in terms of local SEO takes considerable effort. There are no shortcuts, and many businesses lack the time or the resources to dedicate so much time to manage their local SEO.
Not only that, but Iconic Web Headquarters are also able to help with your local listings. This means helping you get onto as many relevant listings sites as possible to improve the visibility of your business at a local level.
How to Improve Your Local Ranking on Google
To improve your local ranking on Google, you should invest some time and effort into developing your Google Maps listing. By keeping your Google Maps listing up-to-date, you’ll be able to enjoy a better ranking position on Google.
For assistance with all of your local SEO needs and to ensure your local listings are complete and consistent, Iconic Web Headquarters are here to help.
For the very best local business Google ranking advice, get in touch today.