If you own a business operating in a specific geographic area then dominating local search is an absolute must. There are only 3-positions in the Google Local 3-Pack. They’re usually the only results people searching on their mobile phones ever look at. They’re the first results people see on their PCs too…and that first result receives 90% of the traffic.
Which means standing out in a competitive marketplace is more important than ever. Local SEO relies on four key factors, three of which are in your control.
This is the one factor you can’t help. Google will always prioritize locations close to the searcher’s physical location.
That doesn’t mean you can’t rank outside your town or city, especially if you serve multiple cities within a given service area. There are tricks and techniques for helping Google understand your entire service area. If your SEO team has done a good job of addressing the other three factors, you might even push to the top in these cities, even when competitors are closer.
Your Google My Business Listing
This listing is almost more important than your home page. Many customers will never see your website. Most customers will see your GMB profile.
When customers do visit your website, the referral link often comes straight from your GMB profile.
Thus it is vital to get every portion of this listing right, and to use all of its features to the fullest advantage that you can. Our team can guide you through this process, helping you to display your listing to its best advantage.
Seems like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? After all, you just read that many customers never get further than your GMB profile.
It’s true. Many don’t. But Google still uses entity-based algorithms to evaluate your website when attempting to decide whether your business is trustworthy and worth recommending to their users. They link the GMB results directly to the effectiveness of your website. Thus, good old on-page SEO and local link building efforts remain just as important as they always did.
Besides, you wouldn’t want to skimp here anyway. The people who visit are people who are very close to making a buying decision, people who just want to evaluate whether they can trust you before making their decisions. Thus, making sure your website is top-notch remains an important priority.
Besides geographic location, this is the single most powerful determinant of your position in the 3-pack.
It is also the single most powerful determinant for conversions. Customers don’t trust businesses with fewer than 20 reviews. In general, they only trust reviews written within the past 2 weeks. Too many bad reviews, of course, is a recipe for disaster.
Dealing with reviews is a two-pronged process. It requires a solid review-management strategy, which we can help you implement. The most powerful way to get reviews is through verbally asking for them, but there are certain functions which can be automated. For example, the second most powerful way to get reviews is through responding to every single one you receive, both good and bad. It’s possible to automate the process of monitoring those reviews so you can stay on top of this task.
It’s also possible to boost your review profile further by adding email and SMS reminders that make it easy for customers to drop a review on your GMB listing and elsewhere.
The second part of review management involves combating fake review spam. On your own site, this could mean targeting and attempting to eliminate fake negative reviews. It also involves identifying fake positive reviews on local competitor sites and building a case for the removal of those reviews, thus lowering the position they’ve earned unfairly while elevating yours.
If you’re not sure how to do either of these things, Branding Respect can help.