Google Local Search Engine Optimisation

Google Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) For Local Businesses

Running a small business or a sole proprietorship can be daunting enough, left alone, focus on the one task that keeps the business on its feet i.e. sales and marketing. In this day and age, technology helps in reducing the stress associated with sales and marketing and it’s time small businesses, tradesmen and professionals turn to technology to harness the advantages it provides.

In this blog series, we’ll be exploring the importance of local searches on search engines such as Google and Bing as well as how businesses and professionals can harness local searches to their advantage.

What is a Google Local Search Engine Optimisation (Local SEO)?

Google Local Search Engine Optimisation or Local SEO (in industry parlance) is an effective marketing mechanism geared towards local businesses for product and service promotions. Local search helps consumers and potential customers find what they need at the right moment they need it. Local search or Local SEO has led to an increase in the use of the “near me” phrase such that consumers expect to have a product or service shown in search engine results which is locally relevant. Local search has been around for ages however, the advancement of technology and an increase in competition has made it even more important to be closer to your customer than ever before.

What Triggers Local Search Results?

It’s been 5 years since Google made local search results a prominent feature of their Search Engine Results  Pages (SERPs) and yet, we still see local businesses who have neglected this vital component for business awareness and exposure. Some may argue that they do not know how it works. Well, fret not! Help is here.

To be found in local searches, there are a series of tasks which needs completing on the various search engines i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Apple Maps etc. An effective local search strategy for tradesmen and professionals will aim to have citations built all over the web, known as Web 2.0 (Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, Google+ etc.) citations. An effective citation building strategy should help search engines identify local businesses relevant to the search query of the user. For instance, a Google search for the phrase “dentist near me” will produce the results shown below:

Google Local search - Indexsio Digital

It is quite interesting to note that the results shown will differ from person to person, as the results are based on the physical location of the searcher, within a reasonable radius.

It’s also quite interesting to note that the top three local businesses (known as the Local Snack Pack) listed on the map will receive a greater majority of clicks and potential business which results from this search query. Infact, a Moz study showed that the Local Snack Pack are so relevant to search queries that almost 50% of click on the snack pack, with a further 33% clicking on the first listing. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what that means to being number one in the snack pack….exactly…sales, new business, revenue growth, business awareness, bookings/appointments etc. Local search or local SEO is an invaluable component of any marketing strategy and should not be overlooked.

How to Start with Local Search on Google

It’s pretty self explanatory that for your business to be found on Google search results, you need a website. Websites have become a “must-have” business asset, if you are to attract potential customers and build your business. In the absence of a website, Google My Business offers the possibility to build a standard website within the service. Let’s examine how Local search on Google works. The following steps outline the process of listing your business on Google My Business:

  1. Create a Google account and claim your business
  2. Verify your business
  3. Optimise your listing
  4. Download the GMB app on Mobile

Create a Google account and claim your business

  1. Log in to www.google.co.uk/business
  2. In the top-right hand corner, click “Start now” or “Sign In” if you already have a Google account associated with your business.
  3. If you click “Start Now”, you will be required to create an account. Complete the form as shown below to create a Google account for your Google My Business listing.

Google My Business - Indexsio Digital

  1. A verification email will be sent to the email address provided which you need to key in on the next screenGoogle My Business - Indexsio Digital -2
  2. Once verified, you will proceed to the next page

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Complete the information as requested and click “Next”

 

  1. Agree to the Privacy and Terms and click “Create Account”Google My Business - Indexsio Digital -4
  2. Enter the name of your business and click “Next”

Google My Business - Indexsio Digital -58. Enter your business address and specify if you deliver goods and services to your customers by ticking the box as shown below.

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9. Indicate your service area by selecting any of the following options

  • Using mail order or courier: This is for online businesses with no location limit
  • Distance around your business location: This option is for local businesses who serve their customers within a geographical radius
  • Specific areas: This option allows the option to specify names of specific town and cities served.

Click Next to continue

  1. Category selection is a vital step where you will specify the category your business falls into. Start by typing your industry, branch or type of work to see if any of the options aligns with your core business. As an example, a plumber will starty typing “plumbing” to see if this is an option which is presented.

Google My Business - Indexsio Digital -7Click Next to continue

  1. Specify the contact details for your business which you want to show to customers

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12. Specify whether if you want to receive communication from Google by selecting “Yes” or “No”

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13. Finally, click “Finish” to finish the setup of your business.

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14. Once completed, you will be required to verify your business. This is so that Google can confirm the authenticity of the business. Currently in the UK, verification options are limited to postcard by mail. Verify the information provided below and if everything looks alright, click “Mail” to have a postcard with a verification code sent to you from Google.

Alternatively, you can elect to verify your business listing later, however, please note that your business listing will not be live on Google local searches until verified.

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Optimising your Google My Business (GMB) Listing

The next screen is your Google My Business dashboard. This screen presents several options for managing and optimising your Google My Business listing.

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On the left-hand side of the screen is the GMB menu

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Home: The Home button leads to your dashboard from anywhere on the GMB listing.

Posts: Posts allows you to create offers and discounts, news articles and blog about your business.

Info: The Info section is where you can review your business details i.e. name, address, opening times, special opening hours, business description etc.

Insights: Insights allows you to see how your business is performing. Insights provides information on how your business compares to other businesses within the same industry.

Reviews: Google My Business allows users to review your business and services. All reviews are collected and stored in the Reviews tab

Messaging: Currently in the UK, it is not possible to use the Messaging functionality. This feature allows for customers to message your business for quick responses.

Photos: The Photos tab shows photos of your business which have been uploaded by your customers.

and the business. The more optimised photos, the better.

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Website: Your business website address

Users: Users who can manage your GMB listing. If your GMB listing is managed by a third-party agency, this is where you would grant access to the agency.

Further down the screen, you have the option to create an Ad or Add new locations, if your business has presence in several geographical locations.

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Ads created using this option are automatically managed by Google, using their machine-learning algorithms and Al. This is a hand-off approach and was previously known as Google AdWords Express, geared towards small business owners who did not have time to be managing their Google Ads.

Below that, we have the Location, Settings and Support sections

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Locations are used for managing multiple business locations for the same listing. Optimisation your Google My Business listing to prominently appear within the top 3 listings, populary known as the Google 3 pack involves building local links from local directories and local websites with a significant domain authority.

Need Professional Advice To Achieve Higher Rankings on Google?

At Indexsio Digital, we help local businesses and ecommerce businesses achieve business growth through targeted digital marketing. We are expedrts in what we do. We do not only write about digital marketing but we live and breath digital marketing. This is our bread and butter. Contact us on 0800 699 0054 to learn more about how we can help you take your business to the next level.

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Indexsio Digital is full service performance marketing digital agency. We offer professional SEO, Shopify, PPC and Web Development services to Small and Medium-sized (SMEs) businesses across the NorthWest of Englang. We help online stores increase their organic and paid search rankings across medium to highly competitive keywords. Request a free SEO or PPC audit today to identify opportunities within your paid search and SEO strategies.

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