Local SEO

Your potential customers are using apps and the internet on their phones to find their next service provider.  They’re cross-referencing location data with costs and reviews from people just like themselves.  Are you ready to compete at this level?  How do you distinguish your business from the rest to drive customers to come to you?

Why is the Local SEO mission critical?

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to show why you should embrace a local SEO strategy.  Here are some facts from Google:

  • Searches for a product or service “near me” have grown 150% faster than traditional methods for local-based searches.
  • 97% of people say they’ve learned more about a company thanks to the internet.
  • The percentage of people who will choose a business on the first page of local search results is 92%.
  • 88% of people will follow through with their searches by calling or visiting a store the same day.
  • 72% of consumers will visit a store within 5 miles of their location if they have performed a local search first.
  • The amount of Google search engine results pages that contain a local pack in the results is 29%.

A local pack allows for the ability to sort nearby results according to customer reviews and the opening hours.  The image below shows an example of a local pack for “plumbers near me” in the Toronto area.

Local pack SEO

Local SEO Goals:

For your business to realize the gains from being on local traffic, you must concentrate on being:

  • Discoverable: Searchers need to discover your brand when they are searching for a type of business. For example, Electricians Near Me
  • Available: If prospects are familiar with your brand, they might be evaluating it. You need to make sure that they can find it on all the right search engines for your business. For example Plumber XYZ reviews
  • Approachable:  Whether or not you’re aware of it, people will be talking about your company.  Your brand should be authentic and encourage positive user-generated reviews that leave a great impression on the reader.  You should also be clear on your preferred method of communication with your customers.

Discovery Engines

Google may be the most known search engine, but it’s far from the only possible way to be locally discovered.  There are several specialized search engines that can be tailored to local results.  You don’t have to be present in every single one.  We can help you establish an effective presence on those relevant to your business.

Let’s say your restaurant is listed on the first page of your local Google Maps search.  We would recommend that you expand your presence to OpenTable, or food delivery apps like DoorDash, Grubhub, and UberEats.  For a general contractor specializing in home building, your search engine expansion should include Angie’s List.

Your Marketing Company’s Role: 

Your marketing company should provide two key services:

  • Help choose the most appropriate local search engines, and get your listing promoted to the top.
  • Ensure that your brand and marketing message is consistent across every platform.

What about Google My Business?

Google My Business(GMB) is the profile Google has collected about your business.  It was formerly known as Google Local and Google+ Local.   To maintain customer market share, Google aggregates all available information about your brand, so users won’t need to search elsewhere. Users who optimize the information for Google get rewarded.

When you locate your business, the first thing you should do is claim your listing.  Don’t be like the 56% of local retailers who have not claimed their company’s listing on GMB.  (To confirm if your listing has been claimed, use a desktop to look at the right-hand side of the listing.)

What’s visible on GMB feeds into multiple locations in Google, including the Google Maps listing and the local pack results.  Your company’s GMB profile includes a wealth of information both customer-generated and through what you make available.  The most common customer-generated information is reviews, which are powerful enough to promote or kill your business.

Your Marketing Company’s Role:

  • Maximize the use of GMB profile
  • Keep information up to date
  • Post weekly
  • Respond to Q&A
  • Respond to reviews both positive and negative
  • Help in attracting positive reviews

How Google chooses which businesses to rank?

No one can say they have completely cracked Google’s ranking algorithm.  However, the common consensus in the industry (and our experience) is that it relies heavily on reviews and citations.

Why reviews are important:

Recall that 97% of customers search for local services using reviews.   Google designs their searches to show listings that generate the best reviews.  For this reason, it is critical to have constant and consistently positive reviews available to the search.  

People will often post about a negative experience but are less likely to share a good one.  Consequentially, it’s much easier to find negative information than it is to find authentic positive ones.  Therefore you must actively try to elicit good reviews about your brand.

Your Marketing Company’s Role:

To top Google’s rankings, they will need to:

  • Establish processes to generate a consistent stream of real, authentic reviews.
  • Reply to all reviews, positive or negative
  • Flag destructive reviews from competitors, former employees, and spam.

Importance of Citations:

Citations occur when your business’ NAPW information (Name, Address, Phone and Website URL) are listed together.  They are frequently found in business listings or online directories.   Google uses citations as a technical signal that evaluates the legitimacy of your business.

Your Marketing Company’s Role:

For citations, they should ensure:

  • Consistent creation of citations.
  • NAPW are correct and match your website.
  • Duplicates are eliminated.
  • Competitor’s citations are monitored.

Reality of Local Search Engine Results:

Search engines are a business.  Google earns revenue through selling ad space to companies, and this is the first slots that users see.  Google also provides the verified tag for businesses for a fee, especially if you live in a major city.  

A Google search result page is laid out as seen below.  The ads come first after the search bar, followed by the local pack.  Next are the top-ranked results.  Often, these are from Yext and other bigger directories.

Where is your listing? Unless it’s a Google Ad or at the top of the local pack, it’s probably not “above the fold.”

Our Local SEO Process:

There are lots of moving pieces when constructing a successful local SEO campaign.  You must scale the optimization for searchability in several search engines and keep up with Google’s algorithm’s changes.   Our team can manage all these tasks so that all you need to do is run your core business.  Each customer will have the following process tailored based on their location, goal and budget.

Ready to Get Started?

Let’s work together to unleash the power of local SEO, boost your short-term sales and build a reputable, long-term brand. Contact us today!

Call Us at 416-830-0464 or fill out the Form:

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