Imagine your local business in the Google Maps Local 3-Pack for multiple keywords in less than three weeks. And while we have been able to achieve these results, I wouldn’t call them typical. However, I mention this to illustrate the point that local SEO is different from Organic SEO, which typically takes at least two to three months to see any significant results. Local SEO requires specialized knowledge, tactics and procedures. And while implementing the standard SEO process used for organic SEO may eventually get a local business into the Google Maps Local 3-Pack, there are much better ways to achieve this goal.
Since the main goal of local SEO is to get your business listed highly in Google Maps, with the ultimate goal of being listed in the Google Maps Local 3-Pack and preferably for multiple keywords. There are a number of reasons for this, mainly that 3-Pack listings are very prominently displayed in search results. visible. And that local searches are highly likely to turn into a visit to your local business or website, resulting in a sale and revenue in a short period of time.
For this blog entry we are going to focus on Google. However, the techniques discussed will generally work for other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo and YouTube.
First, you need to understand goals, with Proximity, Relevance and Prominence being the three primary ranking factors that Google uses when determining how highly to rank a local business in a search:
Since this is a local search, it only makes sense that Google will be looking for businesses close to where the user is conducting the search. By using information such as the IP address on a laptop or desktop computer and GPS in a mobile phone, they are able to determine a user’s location with a high degree of accuracy. This is why it’s so important to help Google determine exactly where your business is located. It’s also important to have your business name, address and phone number (NAP) accurately displayed on your website. And you need a map on your website as well. There are a number of special, little known (but still totally white hat) techniques that can be used to give your business an advantage here as well. And being an agency with a strong focus on local SEO, NewStar SEO will use all techniques at their disposal to give your business an edge over your competitors.
This is where having great content comes into play. When a search engine like Google indexes your site, they analyze the content. They then take your content, along with all of your competitors’ content and try to match it to search queries. Basically, whoever has the best content wins. But it isn’t just information about your business that’s important. Your SEO agency needs to understand how to properly use and distribute your keyworks into your site’s content. Also, of great importance is the making sure the context of your keywords is clear. For example, Google has to be able to tell the difference between a company building boat docks and a company selling computer docking systems.
Google loves prominent companies because they believe that a prominent company will be able to best serve the needs of a customer. From an SEO standpoint the best way to make your website prominent is through references to it on relevant, high authority websites. However, local SEO differs from organic SEO here as well. With a site that’s focused on only achieving good organic search results, backlinks to the site are the number one priority. However, while backlinks are still important for local SEO results, local citations are at least, if not more, important. A citation is any time the name address and phone number (NAP) of your business is a website is mentioned on the Internet. Almost all citations will be set-up by building listings for your business on local directories and while a good local SEO agency will initiate a citation campaign for your business, a great local SEO agency will know which niche and location-specific directories will be best for your own particular business. And what specific business information and ranking signals need to be included in each citation to make sure it will be as effective as possible for your business. A citation in the wrong directory could actually hurt your search rankings and a citation that isn’t indexed by Google and the other search engines has pretty much no value to you.
And while there are no guarantees in life, including search rankings, when all three of these ranking factors are properly addressed, the likelihood your site will rank well, including appearing in the Google Maps Local 3-Pack, will greatly increase.
For over 20 years SEO has been great way to grow your business and increase your leads, sales and profit from your website. If you have a local business and are looking for a great local SEO agency, let us know. The team at NewStar SEO can help you reach your goals and help your business grow.