Benefit from local SEO with Google My Business
All small and medium businesses can attract more customers and grow their revenue just by implementing a good local SEO strategy.
This page was created to show you how to improve your visibility on local Google searches, and what are the first optimization steps…
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is about redirecting common SEO techniques to the improvement of your website for local search.
Thus, local SEO is about optimizing your online presence for people searching for your services locally.
A few examples of local searches:
- “Plumber in Montreal”
- “Coffee near me”
- “Roofer Anjou”
The goal of a local SEO strategy is to achieve high rankings in the search results for proximity searches, as well as showing up in the “local pack” (local results from Google Maps).
Merchants and local business owners, this guide is for you!
What are the local SEO factors?
Success in local SEO depends on understanding how users search when looking for a location nearby.
In this manner, implementing a local strategy is essential and the optimization factors will slightly differ from a standard SEO strategy.
Here are the factors influencing the most your local rankings:
- Proximity (location of a person compared to your store’s).
- Google My Business
- External links pointing to your website.
- Your website
- Citations of your business on online directories.
- Behavior and engagement of your visitors.
Why optimize for local search?
With the apparition of online stores a few years ago, local businesses struggle to survive, even though they fully contribute to your neighborhood life and local economy.
In order to address this issue, Google constantly finds new ways to connect businesses with consumers.
This is where the challenge of ranking locally before your competitors comes from!
Why work on your local SEO? Simply put, to attract a large number of online visitors to your offline business.
Relation between online visibility and store visits
Compared with the early 2000s, pedestrian traffic decreased. Instead of shopping physically, people now shop online and then go to the store…
Solely focusing on your shop window is not enough anymore, you have to get the best out of your “online window” (your website) to stand out!
But trigger store visits from online traffic is not easy, yet it is possible!
It is proven that a great visibility online facilitate the process of exchanging information and build trust among consumers towards national and local businesses.
Therefore, if you seize every opportunity to reach out to your audience where its attention is, your store will succeed!
How to improve your local SEO?
A local SEO campaign consists of multiple steps that I will describe below.
Keep in mind that the more you do the steps correctly, the more important the results will be!
Leverage the power of Google My Business
First, if you do not have one for your business yet, you need to create your Google My Business profile.
Then, it usually takes a few days to receive the verification postcard in the mail, unless another verification method is available to you.
When your profile is verified, you can start optimizing your listing.
Do not try to change your information between the time you request the card and its receipt, otherwise the verification code will no longer be valid.
I will summarize the most important points regarding the optimization of Google My Business in the table below:
A good practice in terms of local optimization is to fill in all the fields available on your Google My Business page, in the best possible way.
Also, write a business description including your name, location (city or district) and main activity.
To create products, go to the “products” tab in the left menu and add product collections. Then add your products with an image, a description, and your prices.
This is one of the most important features of Google My Business, so spend some time on it!
In order to create services, go to the service tab, then add your services under the corresponding business categories. Add a description that is relevant, attractive, and contains your main keywords.
If you really want to improve your visibility on Google, publish quality content, often… more often!
Google My Business posts are made for that! You can link to your website using buttons, and add photos to your posts… plus, posts are visible from search results, so make the most of it!
Photos and videos are often the most viewed forms of content.
Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Be sure to add compelling images that will entice visitors to shop. This is the goal after all!
If you sell services and offer appointments to your clients (e.g: hairdressers, tattoo artists, lawyers, dentists), I encourage you to make it easier for your clients to book appointments.
Do as I do, create a Calendly and propose your time slots! It’s simple, fast, and frictionless…
It is possible to create a Q&A section on your listing via the user side of Google My Business (in the search engine results pages).
To do this, search for your business in Google and you will find your Google My Business listing on the right.
In the “Questions and answers” section, click on “Ask a question”. Add your question and then answer it yourself. Repeat these steps several times in order to have enough information.
Pro tip: ask your friends and clients to put a “like” mention on the most relevant questions and they will appear on your profile.
Bad reviews are detrimental to your business!
Reputation is what makes a business succeed or fail.
If your customers speak highly of you, rest assured that other customers will knock on your door!
Set up an automated strategy asking your satisfied customers to leave a review on your Google My Business listing. Many will, guaranteed! (and you won’t regret it).
On-site local SEO
Is your Google My Business profile optimized from A to Z? Awesome!
However, it is not over yet! A big part of local SEO has to do with your website.
It’s about creating the content and information necessary for Google to recognize your business as an authority in your field.
I recommend the WPS method!
What is the WPS method? Well it’s very simple: work, patience, success.
We are talking SEO here… the results don’t come right away. Rome was not built in a day.
So, the most important word here is “work”, and here are the steps to follow:
If you don’t have a website yet, you need to create one! For more help, visit this page.
If you already have a website, make sure it is mobile-friendly. Much of the local research is done from mobile phones, so there is a need to adapt to these “new” devices (is it really?).
Congratulations! You have a website…
Not so quickly! You must create local pages for each location that you own.
Why is it necessary? You want to show Google and users that a complete page of your site is dedicated to your business. They must contain the name, address, and telephone number of your establishment.
Take this opportunity to talk about the products and services you offer, as well as yourself and your strengths! Argue the advantages of going to a store… (we won’t lose our way here!)
The goal is always to make the customer experience easier and faster.
Throughout your content, try to mention your city, your neighborhood… Adapt your titles and subtitles to local search.
Use customer profiling, try to understand how they are looking for your products or services, and why (what is their intention behind a search?).
Incorporate this search intent in your thinking when creating new pages.
Don’t make the mistake of making a sales pitch on your page when your visitor is just looking for information! Otherwise he will flee…
Each local page must be unique and must bring value to visitors.
Differentiate your content on each page by talking about the specifics of each business location, or each service depending on the establishment.
You can talk about your employees (hairdressers in a salon, number of people), the distinctive features of your commercial space (size, advantages) and how to get there (bus ride, metro)… try to be creative!
Get listed on local directories online
Another part of local SEO over which you have control is creating referrals to your business from directory websites.
For example, for Canada there are about 8 important sites to list your business: Google My Business, Apple Maps, Bing Places, Facebook, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Factual, and Foursquare.
If you are in another country, you can find the appropriate websites for you here.
Thus, I strongly advise you to go and create your business profiles on each of the websites mentioned above, paying close attention to giving the same information everywhere regarding your name, your address, your telephone number, and your website URL.
Google considers the accuracy of your information to be a factor of trust in your business. If the information is mixed up, who should Google believe?
Think about it, what is the point for Google to deliver wrong information in the first search results?
If you need someone to do the local optimization process for you, you can contact me by clicking the button below:
Pro tips about local SEO
In order to provide you with even more information, here are some tips that I have learned through practice that could help you a lot.
Find local links opportunities
If there’s one important thing Google values, it’s quality external links.
Put simply, quality links send the message to search engines that your website is worth discovering.
Several types of external links are to be considered here:
- Links from high authority national sites.
- Links from local sites.
Links from national sites will help you gain authority in your niche and eventually bring national traffic to your blog.
Local links will allow you to acquire proximity search traffic and show Google that you are active within your local community.
So, you have to find ways to earn those links!
To do this, you can contact your local network:
- Local businesses
- Chamber of Commerce
You can also sponsor local events, sports clubs, associations, and ask to be mentioned on their websites.
Another good way to be present locally is to appear on online newspapers or local news websites.
There is work to be done, so get to your keyboards…
Embed Google Maps on your local pages
A simple but still interesting technique is to embed Google Maps on your local landing pages.
This way, the visitor who lands on your page knows exactly where your business is.
How to do it?
Search for your business name on Google Maps (on desktop). You will arrive on your Google My Business profile.
At the top left, click on the hamburger menu, then you will find in the list “Share or embed map”. Click!
A popup appears and offers you sharing link. Instead, click on “embed a map” and copy/paste the HMTL code on your website.
There you go!
Geo tag your images
When adding an image on a website or even on Google My Business, it is possible to tag this image geographically in order to show the robots that read the image where this photo was taken.
It’s simple and completely free!
Go to GeoImgr and add your image. Then, zoom in and move the geographic indicator to the desired location.
Finally, click on “Write EXIF Tags” and upload your image.
Note that if you compress this image for the web afterwards, rather than before, the tags will be cleared.
There you go! You are now a real pro with 90% of the information in hand!
Improving your local SEO can be complex and time-consuming, but it is nonetheless a priority for the success of your business.
In summary, here are the actions to take in order to properly optimize your website for local search:
- Create a mobile-friendly website.
- Create a landing page for each of your business location.
- Create a landing page for each of your service area.
- Optimize website content for local search.
- Optimize your local product or service pages.
- Create content that answers the users’ search intent.
- Talk about your city/neighborhood (activities, visits, lifestyle, stores, etc.).
In addition, here are the actions to take in order to properly optimize your Google My Business profile:
- Create your Google My Business listing.
- Add as much information as possible.
- Add quality photos and videos.
- Post content frequently.
- Add products and services.
- Add a Q&A to your listing.
- Make it easier to contact you.
Good luck! 😉