Local SEO is an integral part of the SEO strategy for a Local Business. Optimizing your Google My Business listing & website for local keywords can be a huge advantage for a local business when compared to a nationwide business.
In this article, I have put together a list of 14 factors in my “Local SEO checklist” to help you optimize your Google My Business listing like a pro SEO Expert.
So, let’s get started:
Table of Contents
Create your Google My Business Listing (if not done yet)
If you already have a Google My Business Listing, then you can skip this point and move to the second point. If not, then stick with me.
Below is the exact step by step process for creating a Google My Business listing:
Step 1: Visit Google My Business Website: https://www.google.com/intl/en_in/business/
Step 2: Click on “Manage Now” at the left uppermost. Then sign in with your Google account.
Step 3: Type your Business Name, select the first option “Create a Business with this name” & then click Next.
Step 4: If you have a physical location, then click “Yes” and then “Next”.
Step 5: Fill all the location details and click next
Step 6: Position the marker on the exact location in the map and click next
Step 7: Now choose yes, if you deliver your goods and services outside of this location also. Select No, if your customers come to your shop for purchasing the goods and items. Then, click on Next.
Step 8: Choose the most suitable category for your business and click next. You can add more than one category later also.
Step 9: Add your contact number and website URL (if available). This information is optional and can be skipped if you don’t have a contact number or website available for your local business as of now. Once done, click next
Step 10: Verify your Business Listing by one of the options available on your location such as Postcard by mail.
Step 11: Now, you will receive the postcard from Google within 12 days with the code for verifying your Google My Business listing.
Once you are done with this, you can move to the second point in this SEO Checklist.
Accurate Contact Details (NAP- Name, Address & Phone) at all Places
I bet you must have heard of term NAP when it comes to Local SEO.
So, why this term “NAP” is so important for Local SEO?
NAP stands for Name, Address & Phone.
A lot of SEOs believe that having the same NAP’s everywhere helps in better ranking in Google and I also personally think that having the same NAP everywhere, helps Google recognize your business easily.
Let’s, look at some of the places where we use NAP for our Business other than Google My Business listing:
- Domain Registration: It is the first of all the places where we are required to put the contact address for our business.
- Company’s Website: It is no doubt that almost all businesses have a contact page or a footer section where they list down their contact details. Having the same NAP on the website and Google my Business listing helps Google to verify your contact details easily.
- Business Listing Website: These are the website which allows local businesses to create their profile and promote their products & services on these websites.
These were some of the many places where you might be using your NAP. Wherever you give your contact details, try to keep it the same as your Google My Business listing.
Choose the best Category
Defining a category is a way of segregating similar businesses.
According to Google’s guidelines for Local Business, you should choose the most appropriate category for your business.
Choosing the best category helps google to show up your business listing for the related searches in Google search results.
Guidelines for choosing the category in Google My Business:
- Choose the most appropriate category from the list which defines your local business,
- Google My Business provides an option for choosing more than one category but it is advisable to use the least number of categories possible,
- Do not choose a category solely based on keywords,
- Do not choose a category that defines other businesses contained within the premises of your local business.
Define Service Areas
If your local business delivers a product to customers, then you should always define your services areas.
Service areas are nothing but the areas where you deliver your products or services.
Having a defined service area helps Google to show up your local listing at the correct location for related searches.
Add all your services
Google allows Businesses to add the services they are offering to their Google My Business listing.
I am not sure whether they ever show up these services in front of customers or not, but it can be one of the factors which affect the ranking of a Google My Business listing in Google search engine.
Adding products (new feature launched by Google My Business)
Google has recently launched a feature to add your products on Google My Business listing and its super helpful for local businesses.
Now, if you can add your products to Google My Business listing, it shows up in front of the customers.
Keyword Optimization (Business Description)
You should always use your company name for the Google MyBusiness profile name.
But as time passes, Google starts taking other factors into account such as reviews, keywords used in the website, etc, and it will start performing better after some time.
Other than business names, one can use their important keywords in the “Business Description” section. Business descriptions do affect the ranking of the business listing.
A Google My Business listing having description ranks better than a business having no description in my experience.
Upload high-quality images
This point is the most relevant for local businesses where images of your business matter most to your customers.
For example, a student searching for an institute will have an impact of images on his/her decision on joining this institute. In my experience, high-quality images can significantly boost image views of your business listing.
We at Ralecon, always ask our clients to upload high-quality images to their business listing to improve the visibility of their business listing in the Google search engine.
Posting regular updates (offers & news)
If you login to your Google My Business accounts today, chances are that Google will prompt you to create a new post for your customers and if Google asks something, You Better Listen to Google!
And, according to Sourabh Rana (SEO Strategist at Media.net | Speaker | Digital Marketing Trainer), posting new images & updates has a very good impact on local businesses and it helped him get more traffic and results for his clients.
Ask for reviews from Customers
Reviews are a great way to show your expertise. Having a lot of positive reviews on Google My Business can help your customers choose you over other businesses.
Remember one thing, if you don’t ask for it, you ain’t gonna get it. Asking your customers to rate and review your products and services will also help you rank for relevant keywords.
For example, if an institute offers a very good Digital Marketing Course and students are writing positive reviews for you, chances are, your Google My Business listing will start ranking for terms such as Digital Marketing Course in that location.
I have personally analyzed a lot of local businesses for the last 3 months, and I found reviews to help in ranking a lot. Also, I have written a “Local SEO Case Study” based on 3 months of work at a local institute in Bangalore.
This takes us to our next technique.
Website Optimization for Local SEO
So, how do you optimize your website for Local SEO?
The most significant factors for optimizing your website for local SEO are:
- Contact details on the website (it can be in the contact us page or footer)
- Use of Local Keywords in the content
- Linking to your Google My Business Listing
If you want to know more about how to optimize your website for Local SEO, check out this article on “10 WAYS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR LOCAL SEO” from Brainchild Studios.
Hosting Local Events
This thing works!
Hosting local events is not very popular among the local business but it is a good technique to get more leads and traffic to your website.
Thanks to websites like Eventbrite, Meetup, etc, they help us reach a lot of prospects and sell more tickets in no time.
Linking to your website from Eventbrite has a whole lot of good effect on the ranking of the website and ranking of the local business listing as well.
Let’s take a real-life example, suppose if I am an owner of an Institute in a local area, how can I leverage this technique to get more students?
Well, you could offer a free course for a limited time and then ask these students to take the paid courses to continue their learning. This way, students will also be familiar with the trainer and the institute will also get admissions to their institute.
This takes us to our next technique.
Listing your business on Local Directories
Listing your website on local directories or local listing websites can really help you boost your local business and get more number of leads and inquiries for your business.
Since some of the local directories such as JustDail, Sulekha, Urbanpro, etc. are set up for a long time and have very good authority, they tend to rank better for local keywords in Google.
Participate in local Quora threads
Quora is a great way to get more brand awareness for your local businesses.
When someone is not able to find their answers on Google, they tend to go to websites like Quora and ask questions from others.
And this provides local businesses with an opportunity to interact with the customers looking for products and services in the local area.
Quora is a great way to interact and promote your local business to your customers.
And guess what:
Quora helps in better search engine rankings too!
I hope you guys must have learned something new from this article today.
Did you apply any of the points in the checklist to your Google My Business listing?
Do you have any other techniques that you have applied and got results?
Did I miss anything in the article?
Do let me know in the comment section below!