List your business on Google My Business / GMB & Claim it on Google Maps
1. Optimize your Google My Business Listing(s)
Optimized listings perform better because they look better and provide more information. Google is always looking to provide the best information and experience to viewers. Aim to 100% fill of your Google My Business profile(s). There isn't a description field anymore, so it's straightforward to complete.
How to optimize your Google My Business listing(s):
- Claim your listing(s) on Google.
- Get rid of duplicate listings.
- Use your actual business name. Do not add a city name or keyword if you do not always include this in your business name.
- Ensure that your address is how it is also displayed on your website and other directories.
- Use a local number and not a toll-free number.
- Ensure you are using the correct primary category & be consistent with its selection for all locations.
- Add profile, cover, and other relevant photos.
- Add business hours.
- Link back to the specific location page on your website if you have multiple locations. Just use your homepage if you only have one location.
- Use a login email that you associate with your domain name.
2. Get Maximum Google Reviews from your Users
Google Reviews happen to be a top ranking factor for the Google Local 3-Pack. People & Google love reviews. One must develop a strategy to get more reviews (for both onsite and for Google).
Here are some ways to get more reviews:
- Send your customers an email and ask for a quick review of your product or services on Google.
- Call your customers and ask them if it's okay to add their review to your website. If you have reviews on your website, make sure you use the correct schema.org type. Most people will do it for free.
- Don't wait too long. Try to do it within a few days of someone receiving your product or service.
3. Develop a Good Link Profile:
Links are still important to get rankings on Google. The end goal is more for quality over quantity, though. (Although, a million high-quality links will likely find you at top of the search results.) A high number of low-quality links will get you booted from search results. A high number of quality links will get you promoted.
The 2016 Local SEO Ranking Factors study also found that links optimized with your key phrase + city, have a strong impact.
How to get more links to your website:
- Submit your site to local directories and in directories related to your niche. Make sure they have a decent site authority.
- Promote amazing content. Examples are whitepapers, infographics, super cool widgets people want to share, etc.
- Create a local resource list. Example: a restaurant can create a list of the best places to buy fresh, organic and local produce in the area.
- Use link building tools, like Ahrefs or Majestic SEO.
- Contribute content to a high ranking website. This is best if you don't associate yourself with your own website in the bio. Also, check for link backs to a useful page on your website, like a resource page. This seems more natural.
4. Optimize Your Location Pages On Your Website:
Google is big on machine learning to understand human search queries and user intent. Yet, on-page keyword usage and optimization are still a necessity.
From a usability point, having your city name and Province/State in your title tags, in URLs, and in page copy still have an influence on Google My Business rankings, which is pretty big news. So, make sure you add it to your title tag for click-through.
Here’s what you need for each location page:
- H1 tag with the location in it; as long as you can keep it from sounding spammy.
- Title tag with your keyword target, business name, city and Province/State.
- Meta description; written with a click-through in mind. Add a call to action if possible.
- Alt tags on your images.
- Breadcrumbs e.g. Locations > Province > City. Also add Schema for your breadcrumbs as well.
- A schema for your location information.
- Hierarchical folder structure e.g. www.yoursite.com/locations/location-A/
- No duplicate content on location pages.
- Your full address listed for each location that is readable to bots (i.e. in HTML) and matches your Google My Business profile.
- The local phone number of each location.
- Business hours (more for usability vs. ranking though).
- Optional: embed a Google Map to your location.
5. Create Unique & Quality Content for Each Location
It’s easy and quite common to have similar content on each location page. Content matters. And if you want to rank, don’t cookie cut your location pages.
Ways to produce unique content for multiple locations:
- Feature employees with a picture and a quote about why they love working for your company. Or why they love living in that location. Or a little fun and interesting bio about them.
- Ask the manager of the location to write something without looking at the website first. It will likely be different than what is already on there and to add pictures of the location with a description.
- Provide a bit of history about that location, like when it all started. What used to be in that location before your company moved there?
- Provide a list of local clients and reviews from the customers who use your products or services.
- Add a little section on why you like working in that specific city and what you like about the people that live there.
6. Get lots of Citations and ensure that they are Correct:
Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) accuracy is an important part of local SEO. Anything that lists your NAP is generally referred to as a citation. Getting as many citations as possible is a helpful way to rank high in the Google Local 3-Pack.
Citations are relevant in local directories that you need to be in (sites like Yellow Pages and Yelp) & are also considered as a relevant link back to your site. Look for websites that are relevant to your niche and have high domain authority. Services like Whitespark and BrightLocal will build citations for you. Oftentimes, this is more cost-efficient than doing it yourself.
Where to get citations:
- Data aggregators
- Get local citations from sites like Yelp, Hotfrog, or Foursquare
- Local blogs
- Local directories. Search for "[your city] directory" or "[your state] directory".
- Industry specific directories. Search for "[your industry] directory" or even "[your keyword] directory".
7. Use a local phone number
Use a local number and not a toll-free number as Google Local disallows it. This is important for local search. Especially if you have multiple locations.
8. Read and reply to reviews:
Reviews from your customers can provide valuable feedback for your business, and reply to reviews can help build your customers' trust. When you reply to a review, your response will appear below the customer's review on Google Search and Maps under the label "Response from the owner". People on Google will see both the customer review and your response when they look at your Google reviews.
Tips for responding to reviews:
Business owner responses allow you to build relationships with customers, but they’re also public. When replying to your customers, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Keep it short and simple, be nice and don’t get personal. This isn’t just a guideline—it’s also a good idea as a business owner. Keep your responses useful, readable, and courteous. In addition, responses should comply with Google’s local content policy.
- Thank your reviewers. Respond to happy reviewers when you have new or relevant information to share. You don’t need to thank every reviewer publically since each response reaches lots of customers.
- Be a friend, not a salesperson. Tell reviewers something new about your business, or share something they might not have learned from their first visit.
- Flag Google reviews those violate the posting guidelines as inappropriate.
9. Write a review or describe a place:
On Google Maps, you can write reviews for places you’ve visited. Your reviews are public, so anyone can see what you write. You can’t add an anonymous review.
Note: Google has a zero tolerance policy for fake reviews. Google reserves the right to take down any review that they deem to be fake or which doesn’t comply with Google’s user content and conduct policies.
Here are some other things that users will be able to see:
- Your name appearing on your About me page
- Other reviews you’ve written on Google Maps
- Photos you’ve added to Google Maps
Complete your About Me section on Google:
RedAlkemi was created out of the desire to deliver measurable online success to its customer base. The founders consider themselves the alchemists who work with passion (Red) to develop processes (Alkemi) that turn a basic digital presence to a measurable and successful one, therefore the name RedAlkemi.
Yes, it’s possible! Motivated by innovation, RedAlkemists believe they can help take your business to the next level. In an ever-evolving online environment, our vision is to keep “Shaping a holistic digital presence for businesses through innovative processes.”
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