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How to Improve Your Local Business Ranking in Google

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If you’re a small business owner investigating how to get more local customers to your business, this one’s for you!

You may have heard of SEO or search engine optimisation, but did you know there is a subset of SEO commonly referred to as local SEO, specifically for improving businesses’ online visibility in local searches on Google? Now you do!

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a strategy aimed at improving the visibility of businesses in local searches on Google and other search engines like Bing by striving for higher search engine results page (SERP) rankings.

What does a local SEO search result look like?

Google identifies search queries as a local search if they include the following elements:

  1. A geographic area, such as a town or city, accompanies the search term (e.g., electrician Townsville)
  2. The phrase ‘near me’ accompanies the search term (e.g. electrician near me)
  3. A search term that would typically be accompanied by a location is used (e.g., electrician)

You can see that each time in the search results, Google displays a map of the local area with 3 business listings. This is referred to as the “Google Local Pack”. In other words, Google has deemed these businesses the most relevant search query results.

Conversely, if I was to search for a service that typically isn’t geographically dependent, I likely won’t see a Local Pack result at all. 

As an example, I performed a search for ‘seo’ while based in Townsville. As you can see, no Local Pack is displayed in the SERPs. 

You will however notice that Townsville is still mentioned (see the 2nd listing below). This is because some companies pay Google to appear in the local SERPs when internet users type in particular keywords such as ‘seo’. 

Local Pack vs Organic SERPs

Google applies a different algorithm to display Local Pack results vs organic results. 

Local Pack results focus on clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs), displaying the ever-important NAP for businesses (name, address, and phone number) and links such as ‘Website’ and ‘Directions.’ 

It also provides a snapshot of how long the business has been operating, its review rating, and opening hours to help inform users how they should act. 

Google typically determines which businesses to list in the Local Pack based on:

  • The distance from the user’s current location,
  • Relevance to the search term, and
  • A business’s prominence and reputation (using Google Reviews)

Comparatively, organic SERP results prioritise search-engine friendliness regarding desirable keywords. They will always appear below the Local Pack for any localised search queries. They also will display NAP data if this has been incorporated into the meta-descriptions of ranking pages. 

Why Local Pack Matters

Securing a top 3 local pack result for your business could be the difference between a customer visiting you or choosing a competitor.

Increased visibility and traffic

Businesses that appear at the top of Google’s search results get more eyeballs than businesses ranked further down. 

Given that the Local Pack is the first thing people will see when performing local intent searches (besides Google Ad listings).

More eyeballs generally mean that these businesses are also getting more click-through traffic, including more phone calls and local in-store visits. 

Greater local relevance

Statistics show that 46% of Google searches in Australia have local intent. The Local Pack is designed to provide users with local and relevant search results; therefore, showing up as one of the top 3 businesses on the map results is a huge advantage if your business relies on local customers. 

Enhanced mobile-friendliness

Over 70% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device, and to add to that, nearly 1 in 3 of those searches are location-specific. With this in mind, I hope you can see why you should secure a Google Business Profile listing. 

How Can i improve my chances of appearing in the local pack?

Only businesses with a Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly Google My Business (GMB), are eligible for Local Pack business listings. 

To optimise your listing, you must fill out as much information about your business as possible. In addition to the crucial NAP information, you should also include:

  • Hours of operation
  • Website URL
  • Business description
  • Social media profile links
  • Tags
  • Photos
  • Service options

The next thing you should focus on is getting customer reviews. These reviews are linked to your GBP and provide that essential social proof I mentioned earlier. 

have you secured your GBP listing?

Suppose you’re one of the 55% of Australian businesses that have yet to claim their Google Business Profile listing. In that case, you could be missing out on the potential to drastically improve your online visibility and, ultimately, the number of customers you see in-store. 

Thankfully, GBPs are free for all business owners and relatively easy to set up – Google provides a step-by-step process to fill out all necessary business information. 

If you’re still in doubt or need extra reassurance, I set up and configure Google Business Profile listings as a part of my website and SEO services. Get in touch for assistance setting up your Google Business Profile listing.

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