In 2013 there was a film called The Internship where Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn try to get jobs at Google.
It was interesting to me because it showed how ruthless Google is at business.
Owen and Vince save the day by getting an expanding, family-owned pizza joint to sign up for Google Ads (Mmmmm, pizza!)
In the film the pizza bosses sign up for Google Ads so that when someone was chomping at the bit for four seasons, they could search “pizza near me” and Google would show them an advert for the nearest pizza place.
But, did you know that pizza joint in the movie could have gotten this magic for free? They didn’t have to pay Google a cent + would have gotten more foot traffic than if they had paid for Google Ads.
By the awesomeness of optimizing Google My Business, which is known as Local SEO.
Local SEO in a Nutshell
Google can figure out your location so when you search for “pizza near me” Google will show you which pizza joints are closest to you.
The results above are known as the local 3-pack. Ranking in the 3-pack is great for business!
Why is local search important?
- 64% of local customers use search engines as their main way to find local business
- 50% of local mobile searchers look for business information, like a local address
- 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase
- 46% Of all searches on Google are local
- 93% of searches with local intent result in the Google 3-pack ranking in the top position
- 50% of consumers who conduct local searches on their smartphones visit a store within a day
- 68% of searchers use ‘get directions’ and ‘click to call’ actions on local listings
- 76% of local searches result in a phone call.
Sweet! How do I get my business into that 3-pack thingy?
I’m glad you asked. Read on, awesomenaut!
Google My Business
Setting up your Google My Business (GMB) account is the first and most important step. Google has provided GMB so that business owners can give Google all the information it needs about their business.
Sign up for Google My Business at: www.google.com/business.
IMPORTANT: If your business has been around for a few years, you probably already have a Google My Business listing which you can claim. Search for your business name and if your business listing shows up in the search results you can claim it by clicking “Own this business?”.
Depending on your industry, GMB will give you one or two options to verify that you are the owner of your business, a phone call or they will send you a flimsy postcard with a verification code. Hopefully, the option to get the verification code via phone call pops up because it’s the easier option.
Once you’re in you can update any information that you need to for your listing.
It’s important to ensure that your business name, address and phone number (NAP) is correct and exact on your website, GMB and any social profiles and directory listings (Yellow Pages etc.)
Submit your exact business NAP and website address to as many local directories as possible. This is known as a citation and helps Google verify that your business name and location is valid.
Google will look at a business’ website for signals that the business operates within the location specified in GMB. For this reason, it’s a good idea to include your location in the page title + include the NAP on the page as well. Inserting a Google map of the business location is a solid idea too. If a business serves one location then I would suggest adding these local signals to the site footer. If a business serves multiple locations then I reckon to create separate pages for each location that have their own unique local signals.
A great way to get a boost into the local 3-pack for a business’ location is to encourage customers to leave reviews on their Google My Business listing. The more real reviews the better!
Links are what makes the Google rankings go round. Getting good quality links to your business’ website from other local and national sites will ensure that Google considers your business to be an authority in your specific industry and will give you the recognition for that in their search rankings.
So there you go. The above should be enough to get your business ranking locally. Questions? Chat me up on Twitter.