Google accounts for 92% of the global search engine market share (April 2021). That may not surprise you, but did you know 46% of all Google searches are about local information? Customers want to lookup local business easily & quickly. Therefore, Local SEO for Small Business is critical, especially for those who might compete with big commerce with SEO planning.
Here’s good news! To help with Local SEO for Small Business, Google offers other ways to rank Local Listing. They do this by using 4 factors.
- Google My Business
- Local Citation / Listing
Before going into details about these factors, we must first talk about:
Local pack / Google Local 3
What used to consist of seven local listings is now called the ‘3-pack’. According to Kate Maugeri, blogger for Sagapixel, this local pack shows up in 93% of local searches. In the below example, the top result for ‘Diner in San Diego,’ the local pack displays three local restaurants. Being on the Local Pack is critical if you rely on people finding your business.
How to get listed on Local Pack
While there’s no magic wand, there are steps you can take:
- Create & Maintain Google My Business
- Manage Local Citations / Listings
- Request & Manage Reviews on Google My Business
- SEO Planning
Any Small Business can manage the top 3 items, which will undoubtedly increase your Local SEO for Small Business, and 4th item may not be too far out of reach.
Google My Business Optimization
What is Google My Business?
Chances are, if you run a small business, you know what this is. Just in case you don’t, it’s a free tool from Google that helps businesses be listed on Google. With Google My Business account allows you to share basic information about our business, interact with customers, update posts & business profiles. Optimizing your Google My Business can help your Local SEO greatly.
Local Citations / Listings
In addition to Google My Business, get listed in many other directories and on other search engine listings. The more places Google finds a business listed, the more relevance and authority that business will have with Google. A local citation or directory means that a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP data) appear in a local search. Like Google My Business, Bing Places is also a citation. Directory sites like Yellow Pages and Yelp also play into the local citation landscape.
It’s extremely important in local search to claim and own all relevant citations. A business that doesn’t have local citations will be unable to rank in a local search. If listings exist, but the business doesn’t own them, an outside source can easily be manipulated with incorrect information.
If you prefer to do it manually, here is a list of basic local databases that you should be listed & keep updated.
- Google My Business
- Bing Places for Business
- Yellow Pages
- Better Business Bureau
Or we can set you up with Local SEO package that includes Local Citation / Listings. Let’s Chat!
One last step in optimizing a Google business profile is to request reviews. Most businesses will have an email list that can be used for this purpose. If not, they will have to start collecting customer information. It is important to note that reviews on Google My Business are all publicly available and cannot be removed by the listing owner.
The best way to manage reviews on listing sites is to answer whether they are positive or negative. Negative reviews can easily be resolved offline with a quick apologetic reply that includes contact information for the business owner. Google sees timely review responses as engagement and will favor a business that is active online over a business that leaves reviews without a response.
You should definitely maintain all major review sites, at least Google, Yelp, Facebook. Our Local SEO package includes Review Management Tools. Let’s Chat!
This is the SEO you heard about everywhere. And SEO is important. But due to the competitive nature of SEO, it’s not cheap. You can always get a proposal from us on SEO planning, but if you’re a small business serving local clients, we would always suggest doing the above 3 steps before even starting true SEO planning. Google is giving you, a small business, a chance to rank alongside big, nationwide companies spending thousands on local SEO. Whether you take this opportunity or not is up to you.