Ranking high in Google’s local search essentially means coming up at the top spots in both Google Maps and Search.
Since Google shows local search results for brick-and-mortar businesses such as restaurants, shops, and repair services, it helps to strengthen your local SEO profile.
There are several things that Google looks at when determining the ranking for local search results.
Below are just some of these factors that can help your business rank higher locally:
- Make sure your business is on Google Maps
- Claim and verify your Google Maps business listing
- Complete the info of your Google Maps business listing
- Manage and respond to Google reviews
- Be active in posting on your Google Maps business listing
- Have a responsive website
- Use local keywords on your website
- Embed a Google map on your website
Aside from the above factors, Google also looks at the relevance, distance, and prominence of your business listing in relation to a search term in determining local rankings.
Make sure your business is on Google Maps
A Google Maps listing is one of the most important ranking factors if you want your business to show up on local search results.
Since anyone can add a business on Google Maps, you might want to check first if your business is already listed. And if you see that your business is already listed, all you have to do is claim and verify it so you can start using it as your own.
But if you don’t have it yet, make sure to add your business on Google Maps. Here’s how…
- If your business name doesn’t show up on the results, you’ll see an option in the menu to “add a missing place.”
- Click on it so it prompts you to provide your name, category, and location.
And there you have it! However, to use a business listing on your own, you still have to claim it and verify ownership.
Claim and verify your Google Maps business listing
The next step after adding your business details on Google Maps is to claim and verify it. In this process, you’ll have to prove ownership of the business.
Once you claim your business listing, you’ll be able to add more details such as photos, reviews, and operating hours—to name just a few. This, in turn, will then help your business rank higher on local search results.
To claim a business listing on Google, you must first have a Google My Business Account. Signing up is free. Just select the “Own this business?” or “Claim this business” option after creating your account.
Complete the info of your Google Maps business listing
Now that you’ve claimed your business listing on Google, it’s now time to add more details. Some of the additional info you can add are your business description, office hours, website, phone number, and more.
Make sure to add as many details as you can as it will help you rank higher on local search results.
To make your business look trustworthy in the eyes of Google, make sure your business name and address are consistent throughout. Use a local phone number and keep your operating hours updated.
Moreover, make sure to classify your business in the right category and add photos as well as a business description too.
Manage and respond to Google reviews
The thing about Google is that they’re user-centric. This means that if you’re getting positive reviews, Google will more than likely give you a ranking boost.
Before you can manage and respond to Google reviews, you have to have reviews in the first place.
Be proactive in requesting one from your customers. Should you get a negative one, make sure to respond to it so that potential customers would know your side as well.
Be active in posting on your Google Maps business listing
Not a lot of business owners are aware that they can post on their Google Maps listing.
If you post regularly, this sends a signal to Google that your listing is being actively managed which then helps lift its local ranking.
Have a responsive website
Since Google focuses a lot on user experience, it always pays to have a responsive website.
Having a responsive website means that your site renders well on any device—especially with mobile devices. This is because 60% of web searches are now being done on a smartphone.
A responsive website should fit in different screen sizes (no pinching and zooming required). Your links should be working and should also load fast.
Use local keywords on your website
Another way to boost your local ranking is to use relevant keywords on your website.
Since location is a primary key for your business in getting customers, you should use local keywords for a more targeted approach.
Make sure to put your local keywords on key pages of your website such as the homepage, about us page, contact us page, blog posts, and products/services page.
For the blog posts or site pages, include a local keyword in any of the following parts:
- Page or post title
- Body text
- Image tags and captions
However, don’t put your local keyword too much in the body text as this would constitute as keyword stuffing and Google doesn’t like that. Just pick a few strategic areas to include your local keyword in and you’re good to go.
Embed a Google map on your website
Another easy way to rank higher on local search results is to embed a Google map on your site. A lot of businesses do this. They embed their map on their about us or contact us page.
Embedding a Google map confirms to Google that your business is located at the same address that’s stated in your listing.
To benefit from this, make sure you use the same address you published on your Google Maps business listing.
Why Ranking Locally is Important
If you want your potential customers to find you quickly, you have to be visible on Google Maps. Your prospects should be able to get the information they need to make an informed buying decision. Just follow the tips above to boost the visibility of your business on local search results and get found by more customers in the process!