Google’s main goal is not to show you search results. No, its goal is to show you useful answers to your questions.
If you search for ‘steak restaurant’, Google guesses you want one nearby. It prioritizes local results, rather than steak restaurants six hours away.
Because of this, businesses that serve a local area can compete with major national businesses—all because they’re local.
50 percent of people who perform local searches on their smartphone visit a business within a day. That makes it worth ranking higher in the Google local listings.
Wondering how to do that? Read on to learn more.
1. Sign up for Google My Business
Have you wondered “How do I get my business on Google?” There’s an easy solution—sign up for Google My Business.
Your account is free and it’s a way to put all of your business information in one place. That includes your opening hours, address and phone number, and business reviews.
Make sure that information is consistent with any other online presence you might have. Update the details on your website, Facebook Page, or Yelp.com entry. This shows Google you’re a legitimate business.
Having an account means you show up on Google Maps, among others.
2. Build High-Quality Backlinks
Google still uses backlinks to gauge the quality of your website. How can you get other people to link to your business site?
One way is to get involved with your local community. Host or sponsor events. Provide products or services where you can.
Send a press release to any local newspapers to get coverage of these events. Being involved will visibly boost your presence with attendees. Then the newspaper website can link to your website in their digital articles.
3. Focus on Relevant Website Content
Google even admits that it prioritizes relevance over proximity. Its algorithms could decide that a business a few miles further away is closer to what the searcher wants than a nearer business.
Help its algorithms choose your business by putting relevant content on your website and My Business account. That could include blog posts on your website.
Reviews on your Google My Business account will help. Use these to help Google figure out exactly what your business does. Then it can decide how relevant you are.
4. Respond to Reviews
Customers can leave reviews on your Google My Business profile. These have a two-fold impact on your appearance in the Google local listings.
These reviews can help influence those customers looking at your profile. Meanwhile, having positive reviews also influences the algorithm. This boosts your visibility in the listings.
If you get negative reviews, don’t panic. You can partner with an agency to improve your online reputation.
5. Look Beyond the Google Local Listings
Don’t make the mistake of only trying to improve your local SEO. Take advantage of this final tip, which will boost your ranking in all listings.
Improve the speed of your website on mobile devices.
Google wants to provide a smooth user experience, so it prioritizes websites that load fast. Seventy percent of mobile pages take longer than five seconds to load.
That’s a real problem for businesses. As the page load time increases from one second to five seconds, the chance the visitor will abandon the site jumps to 90 percent.
Work with a developer or a marketing team to streamline your mobile site so it loads faster. More people will go on to browse your site, telling Google your site is a good result to offer.
That pushes you up the local listings.
Follow These Tips for Success
We’ve given you five tips to improve your ranking in the Google local listings. Each of them will help give your business an online boost.
Taken together, you should see amazing results within a few weeks as the algorithm catches up.
We can help you set up your Google My Business account and implement these tips. Contact us today to find out the next steps.