Follow our 5 step guide to improving SEO for your local business!
#1. Set Up Google My Business #
If you have a local business, setting up your Google My Business (GMB) account is one of the best things you can do for your local SEO. By setting up a GMB account, your business is eligible to appear in Google’s local map pack results and you can add important information about your business.
The Google Map Pack, also known as the local pack or 3 pack, is a set of three highlighted Google Maps based results featuring the most highly ranked businesses. These results are shown at the very top of Google’s search results and look like this:
Here are key things to add to your GMB account:
- Business name and location
- Photos (interior and exterior)
- Contact information (phone)
- Business hours
- Website link
- Business category
To get started with Google My Business, go to https://www.google.com/business/, and create a new account. Follow the instructions there to add your business.
P.S. This may take a few weeks as Google will send a postcard to your business address (or home address). If you don’t have a business location, you can use your personal address and use a service area (you don’t have to share your home address with everyone on the internet!).
#2. Use Consistent Business Information #
Using consistent business information wherever your business is listed online ensures that customers (and search engines!) get the right information. This important information primarily includes your business name, address, and phone (NAP).
Using the same name, address and phone number makes sure everyone knows exactly what your business is called, where it’s located, and how customers can reach you. Search engines will also know it’s the same business.
An inconsistent business result includes using small nuances like Avenue and Ave or Suite and Ste. Pick a format and keep it consistent!
Once you have a consistent NAP format, update your website, social profiles, business listings, and anywhere else your business is listed online!
#3. List Your Business in Local Directories #
Getting your business in local directories can be helpful because (a) it will help promote your business to new and existing customers and (b) it’s a positive sign for search engines.
These local directories include sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook. Set up a profile, add correct business information, photos and other relevant information.
You can also interact with customers and respond to reviews within these local directories.
#4. Encourage Customer Reviews #
It’s important to encourage, manage and respond to customer reviews online. Having business reviews builds trust with customers even before they come into your store.
Make sure to check and respond to reviews regularly, especially the bad ones – acknowledge it online and take it offline to handle.
The quality and quantity of reviews can help your business rank better in local search results. Reviews on Google will prominently show in search results when someone searches your business.
Industry studies show that more than 3 out of 4 consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations!
P.S. Do you need help getting reviews? We can help set up beautiful forms that you can send to your previous customers to fill out! The forms can then add the best reviews (4 stars and up) to your website for social proof! Just reach out to us if you’d like to give it a try!
#5. Understand Local Search Behavior #
Understanding how people search for your type of local business is important to integrate throughout your content. This includes (a) understanding keywords people use locally and (b) using these terms when you describe your business online.
For example, localized search behavior might include searches like “city + coffee shop” or “city + grocery store.” Once you know these terms, you’ll want to add them to your content and use in important search features, such as:
- Title tag (this is the title shown in search results)
- Meta description (this is the description shown in search results)
- Heading tags (these are your web page’s main headlines)
- Web copy (this is the content on your web page)
These elements can show in organic search results and provide important signals of relevancy to search engines (and users).
BONUS: Create Location Pages #
Creating a standalone web page for your business location is equally important for a business with one location as it is a business with multiple locations.
By having an individual page for your business location(s), you will be able to integrate important information about your business and help customers (and search engines!) find that location easier.
Each location page(s) should have unique localized content, NAP, and business information. This includes things like store directions, hours, map, contact information, and any special events. This will help your business location rank better in search results.
Your Contact Page is a great place to add this information if you only have one location. If you do have multiple locations, go ahead and create a Location Page for your first location, then use the Clone button when hovering over your page on the All Pages page to duplicate that page. Update the information for your second (then third, fourth, fifth, etc.) location on the new page and voila! two new pages created in just a few minutes!