5 Simple Tactics to Help You Rank First on Google Locally (Updated)
Have you ever wondered why your business doesn’t show up on Google when you type in your industry keyword, even when you include the suburb or city name?
If you run a local business, Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is exactly what you are looking for.
You will knowing exactly what to do to start doing local SEO for your business without spending a penny if you stay and read to the end.
Let’s define a few things together.
Google has been trying their best to optimise their local search results to make the results more relevant to the local users.
With GPS and location history, most search queries that we make on Google are now localised and there’s no need to include the suburb or city name.
For example, if you live in Melbourne and you search for “Plumber Melbourne”, you are likely to get the same local search result as you search for “Plumber”.
Wait, what is local search result?
So, what exactly is local search result and how to rank higher in your suburb?
I’m sure this looks familiar to you. This is what we call the Google Local Search, also known as the Local Pack.
Back in a few years ago, Google used to display 7 packs and it has been trimmed down to 3 packs only, which means these spots are much more valuable and competitive now.
Why does it matter?
If you are reading this post, it’s very likely that you don’t run an international corporate which you target customers from all over the world. To make this reading more relevant to most of us, let’s say you own a local business.
Ranking on the local search result is the most efficient and free way to rank your business on the first page of Google.
- It’s free unlike running a paid ad, for instance, Google Adwords.
- It has a higher conversion rate because the searchers might just next to you.
- It’s fast. We had a business ranked in top three within 24 hours.
- It has a much larger exposure and CTR (click-through-rate) than the organic search result.
- It shows your phone number and address.
- It doesn’t require a website (That is not a recommendation).
That should be enough to convince you to pay attention to your local search result ranking.
There are many things you can do to rank higher in the Local Pack, but here’s a few simple tactics you can do right now:
1. Make sure you have a Google My Business account
Everything about local SEO and ranking on Local Search Result has to begin with a Google My Business account.
If you don’t have a listing yet, go to Google My Business and submit your business to Google to start getting all the free benefits that you’ve been missing.
Once you’ve finished providing all the information about your business, Google will send you a postcard with a PIN number on it to verify your business address.
Base on our experience, the postcard will normally arrive within 14 – 20 days and you can go back to your Google My Business account to verify it.
One of the cool things about Google My Business is the Insights. It tells us how many people visited the website, made a phone call, or requested for directions from the listing.
It’s a great idencator of
Google My Business Insights
2. Choose the right category
If you already have a Google My Business account, you’ll notice that there are hundreds of categories you can choose for your business. Choosing the most relevant category for your primary category is critical to rank well on Local Search.
For example, if you run a car repair shop, you need to specify what are the types of repair you do and try to get as many relevant secondary categories listed as possible.
The above screenshot was captured after we’ve started managing the account for the client.
As you might have guessed, there was only one category “Car Repair Shop” listed before we took over. So, you just really have to dive deep into to the options and see if you are missing any relevant one.
Your primary category must be the most relevant service or product that you provide as this gives Google the best understanding of what your business is about.
3. Standardise your business details across the internet
This is a big mistake a lot of local businesses make including ourselves.
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone.
Just like everyone else, we all like shortcuts.
We used to hire someone oversea to register our business on all the business directories such as Yellow Pages and Yelp and those tiny little that no one never heard of, but we didn’t realise, it was a bad mistake because some details were incorrect causing an inconsistency in NAP.
After all, it’s about the quality of the listings not the quantity.
Google crawls the details of your business across the internet and see how consistent the details are.
In other words, Google looks at your business details on all the citations (Yellow Pages, True Local, Yelp, Facebook, etc) and see if they all have the same name, phone number, and address.
Google does this because they need to make sure that the businesses that they are presenting to their users are legitimate and the information is correct.
Other details to keep in mind as well for consistency s are opening hours, website address, categories, and keywords.
4. Put your business details on your website
If you want to appear local, claim you are a local.
Local SEO is all about telling Google that your business is relevant to the city that you are targeting.
Make sure you have your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) on your website, ideally in the footer (The bottom section that appears on every page).
Embedding a Google map of your business to your website will also help Google to identify where your business is.
Want to learn more about website design? See the 10 Secret Elements of All Successful Websites.
5. Get reviews (Positive)
Make sure your Google My Business listing has as many positive reviews as possible. The more positive reviews you have, the more trust Google has in you, so do your potential clients.
Always encourage your customers to leave you a positive review after they finish the purchase.
Positive reviews will also give you a better CTR (Click Through Rate), which is another factor in the Google ranking algorithm to determine whether this listing is attractive to a real human.
Google can’t really use the robot to judge everything, so the use the help of real human being’s behavior to be a part of the ranking factor.
Just look at the picture below, come on! Who would you click?
Okay, I get it.
Sometimes asking for a review face-to-face is awkward, especially if you are a dentist that just put someone through the worst time and you ask “How was it? Can you leave us a review?”.
Nevertheless, there are many tools and tactics you can utilise to gain more positive reviews without those awkward conversations.
For instance, you can include a direct Google review link in your thank you email.
A link that will take your customers directly to the Google review page. Here’s is an example of a direct review link, click on that:
This simplifies the troublesome process of letting your customers finding your business on Google, look for the review button and so.
You can get a diredt Google review link for your business on the White Spark’s website.
All business owners understand a one-star review can their business and reputation, but they don’t seem to understand it also affects their business when there are not enough reviews.
The reason why Google is putting so much effort and money to optimise our Google local search experience is because they want to create an equal opportunity for all businesses and organisation of any size to be found on Google.
Small businesses can’t afford to spend big money on ads nor hiring SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) company to boost their ranking. The local search result is the most practical and the easiest way to preeminence the bigger companies.
Do you struggle to rank on Google in your local suburb?
Have you tried other tactics that boost your ranking?
Let me know in the comment below.
I hope this article is helpful. If you found this helpful, be sure to share this with your friends.