What is the most important thing businesses can do to improve their Local SEO efforts?

The foundation layer of Local SEO

All Local SEO efforts begin with Google My Business. Google My Business is a free tool for businesses and organisations to manage their local online presence; it literally puts them on the digital map. Once a business has claimed or created their Google My Business listing, they can optimise it for Local SEO purposes. They can then go on to third party listings to build authority in Google’s eyes.

A Google My Business listing helps customers to find your business when searching via a desktop or mobile browser. Businesses without a Google My Business listing are not in the Google Maps database and cannot appear in the “3-pack”. However, businesses can appear in the “3-pack” without having a website. That is a key differentiator between Local SEO and Organic SEO.

Claim your GMB listing for Local SEO

Another reason why it is so important to claim a Google My Business listing is that an unclaimed listing cannot be optimised. It could contain wrong information, even linking to a competitor’s website, and there would be nothing you could do about it.

In particular, if someone were to leave a negative review on an unclaimed Google My Business listing it would not be possible to respond. Unscrupulous competitors have been known to take advantage of this by leaving poor reviews on unclaimed listings.

Each Google My Business listing comes with a dashboard enabling you to ensure the details are always correct. These details include NAP, business categories, hours of operation, and business photos and videos divided into relevant categories. Google sets great store by business images and they can be used to create a favourable impression on prospective customers.

Depending on the business category, the dashboard allows for additional functionality. Most business categories can “post” information and this is definitely worthwhile for all businesses. A post stays live in search results for 7 days so a good strategy is to do weekly posts. Some categories allow “products” to be listed and these are also very visible in search results and so are definitely worth adding.

Mobile GMB App for Local SEO

There is a mobile App version of the dashboard and this can be very useful if you turn on “messaging” to allow customers to communicate with you through the App. However, it does require you to be responsive and is yet another channel to monitor

The dashboard includes “Insights” or analytics, which show how people are interacting with your listing. This helps you to monitor the effectiveness of your Local SEO. You can see how many people found the listing, asked for directions by using the link to Google Maps, viewed the website by clicking the link to it, or telephoned the business. Please note that a large number of customers may make a purchase without ever seeing your website simply because Google My Business or another local listing gave them all the information that they needed.

These statistics are a powerful validation of your Local SEO efforts and something that is not usually provided by other forms of advertising. What statistics do you get from advertising boards or adverts in local papers?

Google determines which businesses appear in the 3-pack by Relevance, Prominence & Proximity. A business cannot change its Proximity but it can change its Relevance and Prominence and the first step is to optimise its Google My Business listing.


About MyLocal

We work with your website designer to improve your ability to be found in Google and other search engines. And to look good wherever you may appear online. We specialise in local SEO and most of our work is off-site. But there still needs to be some on-site work undertaken by your webmaster to complement what we do. If you would be interested in finding out more, please use the Contact Form on our website.

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