Local search simply means that your business shows up in the search engine results when prospective customers in your area are looking for your solutions.
For example, let’s say that your business provides 24/7 air conditioner repair services in Sarasota, Florida. When prospective customers in your local marketplace are drenched in sweat because their air conditioner has broken down, you want them to find your business when they head to Google (or Bing or Yahoo).
Local Searchers = Motivated Customers
What’s more, research has shown that people who perform local searches — either as individual consumers, or as employees on behalf of a business — are typically further along the buyer’s journey than people who conduct national or international searches. In simpler terms: folks who limit their search to local businesses often need to solve a problem (or achieve a goal) quickly; especially if they’re on a mobile device.
Here are some compelling statistics:
- 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase. (Source: TMP/comScore)
- 74% of internet users conduct local searches. (Source: Kelsey Group)
- 61% of local searches lead to a purchase. (Source: Search Engine Watch)
6 Tips to Boost Your Local Search Ranking
To boost your local search ranking, the best place to start — and this shouldn’t surprise anyone — is with Google. According to Search Engine Watch, nearly 60% of people use Google each month to find at least one local business, and for many people the number is much higher.
Google’s local search platform is called “Google My Business.” If your business isn’t showing up for relevant searches in your area (e.g. overheated people in Sarasota searching for “air conditioner repair in Sarasota”), then here are six tips to help you shine a brighter local spotlight on your business — and ultimately generate more qualified leads that convert into profitable, loyal customers:
1. Enter all of your business information.
In the past, if you were busy and skipped over certain sections/fields when setting up your Google My Business page, then now’s the time to go back and fill in the gaps. Or, if you outsourced this to a web developer or agency, they might have skipped sections. Unfortunately, this happens quite a bit.
While all information is important here, among the most crucial are your address and your products/services. That’s because Google relies on distance, relevance and prominence to determine relative rank order (we take a closer look at prominence in tip #6).
2. Verify your location.
Google wants to make sure that businesses are legitimately in the area where they claim to be — otherwise, for example, a business that is really based in Chicago or Las Angeles could pretend to be local for customers in Atlanta or Dallas.
If you haven’t yet verified your location, doing so is easy and free. You can choose to do this by postal mail, or you may be able to verify via phone or email. Click here to learn about your specific options.
3. Make sure your business hours are accurate.
Many businesses claim to be open 24/7/365, because in a sense they can receive emails anytime, and their website is “always open.” However, Google doesn’t like inaccurate business hours — and frankly, neither do customers.
As such, double-check to ensure that your business hours are accurate. You should also regularly update your hours for holidays, extended hours during campaigns or seasons, and so on.
4. Manage reviews.
Managing reviews is a very important — and often overlooked — piece of the Google My Business puzzle. Make sure that you encourage customers to post reviews, since that can be your most lucrative source of marketing. You should also respond to reviews to demonstrate that you’re trying to develop a community.
5. Add photos.
Adding photos is another easy and high-impact way to improve your Google My Business page —- and hence your overall local search ranking. Of course, the photos you choose should be relevant, professional and updated accordingly. It’s also a good idea to get permission from any customers who you feature.
6. Build prominence.
As noted in tip #1, Google takes prominence into consideration when it ranks local businesses. But what does this mean?
Simply put, it means that Google looks at information it has about a business from across the web landscape, including articles, directories, and links. Other factors include Google review count and score, as well as position in web results (SEO).
A Word of Warning
Unlike some other review/ranking sites that have come under heavy criticism lately, there is no way to pay Google to boost your ranking. As such, steer clear of any so-called consultants or agencies that claim to have “a contact who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy at Google,” and who will boost your rankings for a (ridiculously high) fee. Plain and simple, this is a scam. The only way to boost your local search ranking is by legitimately improving your profile and prominence — which is covered by the above six tips.
To learn more about smartly — and safely — boosting your local search rankings on Google, contact the Noble Webworks team today. We know what works, and just as importantly, we know what doesn’t! Your consultation with us is free.