How To Rank Higher On Google Local Search
When you search for a local subject, for example local estate agents, plumbers, shops or restaurants, you’re likely to see Google’s local listings pop up fairly prominently on the search results page. Ranking high for these search listings can be hugely beneficial to a local business, as many users rely on these, rather than looking through the main organic search listings.
Regular listings have been the subject of search engine optimisation for years now, with plenty of articles and books being written every year, helping businesses to rank organically, but there isn’t so much information around about Google’s local listings. These listings are tied into Google maps, so are very location specific, but there are also regular SEO practices that can help the local ranking.
Before thinking about optimising local listings, you’ll need to make sure you add your site via Google My Business and verify your listing. Without completing that step, you’ll struggle to gain traction from optimisation.
Optimise your listing
This is something that you should do when setting up your listing, but in many cases, your listing may be on Google, but it could be poorly written. Make sure you have filled in as much information as you can. Add images, contact details (the phone number is hugely important) and a good, simple and straightforward description.
Be sure to be consistent when adding information. Make sure your address and phone number is the same across the web. If you change your phone number, update it everywhere, including any directory listings, your website and Google My Business.
Register for business listings
When optimising your website with inbound links, directories often have a fairly weak impact, as they are not the highest quality links, but when optimising your my business listings, mentions of your business and phone number in multiple places on the web can make you seem more credible, so get listed.
This is slightly more controversial than it really should be, but getting lots of positive reviews on your Google listing can really help boost your local ranking. This is only really controversial as many businesses have been penalised for incentivising positive reviews by paying customers. Google’s aim is to have only natural, organic reviews showing, so paying people to review, or buying reviews online skews their figures. However, many businesses have seen success by asking happy customers to review them on Google. The ideal is to have so many happy customers that they all flock to Google to write positive reviews about you, without any incentive and without you asking them to do so. For many smaller businesses, it may take a little nudge.
Domain authority can really help your regular organic listings, but many SEOs state that it can help your Google My Business listing too. So build your reputation, create content that people want to link to, and get inbound links (naturally). Even if this doesn’t end up helping your local listings, it’s going to (if done properly) help your regular organic search rankings.