How to appear in Google’s local listings
(9 easy steps)

By Naeem Dollie | Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Nov 23
Tablet and Iphone

Gone are the days where consumers pick up a phone book to find a local business. Nowadays, most of us just whip out our mobile phone and do a Google search to find what we’re looking for, and Google automatically delivers local results.

Using BSSID information from your WLAN Access Point, Google can pinpoint your exact location. Using that information, they’re able to provide users with more relevant local results (a Google local listing), displayed in the ‘Local 3-pack’.

The Local 3-Pack is a type of Google search result pulled for local searches, which draw upon Google’s distinct local algorithm. Here’s a screenshot of an example:

local-pack

How do you optimise your Google My Business listing?

1. Add or claim your Google My Business listing (it’s free)
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google. To add or claim your business, follow these simple steps. Ensure that you select the most relevant, specific categories available for your business.

2. Verify your Google My Business listing
The verification of your listing is crucial for its visibility and performance. The best way to do that is by mail, where Google sends a postcard to the address you provided, which contains a verification code used to verify your online listing. For more details from Google, click here.

3. Dress up your Google My Business listing
To have a well optimised Google My Business profile, make sure that you complete as much (accurate) information as possible. Here are some checks:

   Select the most relevant, specific categories for your business.

   Add accurate operating hours, including holidays.

   Add a local phone number that matches the number displayed on the landing page being used for the listing.

   Upload high-resolution, quality photos, following best practice.

   Consider adding a 360-degree virtual tour, as they naturally generate more interest).

4. Make use of Google posts
It was recently discovered that Google Posts impact local pack rankings. Google Posts is a feature that allows businesses to create content directly on Google, in their local search listing. Here’s how you can create Google Posts through GMB.

5. Encourage reviews from customers
Ask your customers to give you a review on Google – it should only take them a couple of minutes. All they need to do is search for your business on Google, then give it a star rating and write a quick review. If you ever receive a bad review, make sure you attend to it, rather than ignoring it. Turning a hater into a lover can go a long way.

6. Optimise your landing page
Ensure that the landing page you’re using for your Google My Business listing is well optimised. Here are some checks:

   Ensure that the Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) are included on the page and exactly the same as the details used for your GMB listing.

   Incorporate relevant keywords in your meta tags and copy.

   Add schema markup to your page.

   Create content with a local focus.

7. Acquire links from local websites
Most SEOs would tell you that you need to acquire relevant, high-quality links if you want to rank well. Yes, that’s true. But to rank well for local search, any link from a (genuine) local business’s website would help – you won’t get penalised. So, go ahead and ask businesses in your area if they’ll link to your local landing page.

8. Ensure that your NAP is consistent across the web
The NAP is the Name, Address and Phone Number of a local business. Previously, you might have added your business and its details to some online directory. Or other websites might have made mention of your business. Check to see that the NAP is consistent across these websites. If not, try and get them consistent.

9. Build local citations for your business
Citations are simply mentions of your business somewhere on the web (your NAP). These are generally acquired by submitting your listing to quality, trusted local directories, such as Yelp, Yext, Foursquare and even Facebook.

Following these steps would give you a strong chance of appearing in Google’s Local 3-Pack listings for relevant searches.

Once your listing is up and running, monitor your Google My Business listing with the available analytical, called Insights. It allows you to see how customers interact with your GMB listing. With Insights, you’re able to monitor:

   How customers find your listing.

   Where customers find you on Google.

   Customer actions.

   Direction requests.

   Phone calls.

   Photos.

Getting your Google My Business profile well optimised is a great start. Thereafter, I’d ask customers for genuine reviews, as it builds trust.

If you feel that you don’t have the time to do any of this, we can help.

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