As Google decided to reduce its number of listings being displayed from seven to three, putting your business on Google’s local 3-pack map listing is now quite tedious than ever. And consequently, the local competition has increased massively as entrepreneurs now struggle for the few spaces.
The reason for Google to take such a decision cannot be farfetched. The presence of less local businesses on the maps listing means that more local company will have to use extra funds on AdWords to take the highest state above others.
Google exists to generate money – call it a business. And most local business owners have forgotten this fact. While local SEO has its purpose, the “pay and use” business of Google will continue to generate the search engine some billions of dollars. However, the people who have their business among the top three local map spot will know the heavy positive influence of such posts to their business.
The listing attracts site traffic, location check, and phone calls. The peak of the real estate is so influential that paying for it is a good bargain for most entrepreneurs. While, without a doubt, many prefer the organic traffic, when it comes to paying for the view, a majority of business owners will be willing to pay the bill.
Let’s check some random points concerning the state of local search and Google’s 3-pack.
- While phone calls are not as significant as in the past, they are still in use. For businesses that need to attract phone calls to reach their marketing goals, then, it is advisable to use AdWords Call Only PPC advert.
- Currently, Google+ is losing its relevancy. Before, people used to be worried that it is necessary to have a running Google+ account in order to be highly ranked among local searches. Well, not anymore, Google+ is no longer as valuable as before, and the reason why some are still engaged with Google+ is due to the fear of what might happen to their local rankings. Instead of wasting precious time with Google+, such time would have been more productive if spent on social media such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
- Google stars and reviews are still much in use and endeavour to establish an innovative means of getting your clients to drop reviews. Without a doubt, a local listing combined with many high-star reviews will pull a better click-through rate than a listing without one at any time and any day.
Don’t overthink your local SEO
More than half of the local searches are being made from mobile phones, and the figure is expected to increase continuously. Factors such as search query, people’s current location, on-page and off-page optimization of your website determine whether your site will be displayed to people or not.
To be competitive in a local 3-pack, below are five points you must consider:
- Perfect On-Page Optimization
- Relevant Directory Listings
- Optimized Google Maps
- Local reviews
1. Perfect On-Page Optimization
It is essential to allow Google to know where your business is situated so as to deliver your site for searches close to your business location. For a company with many locations within the same city or different cities, there is a need to ensure that each business location has an allocated page. So that when Google surfs through these pages, each business location will be explicitly represented.
One common mistake people make has to do with the text and copy for every individual location page. It is inadvisable to use the same content or merely change the location’s address. Instead, create different content for each page and its location, and see it as a chance to optimize the pages for many location-oriented search terms. Also, endeavour to add an embedded Google map on each location page, and Schema markup should be on your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP).
2. Relevant Directory Listings
Many directory services are available which will submit your NAP data in several lists of business directories automatically. This idea sounds great, but it is a wrong concept. We believe you won’t want your business details to be linked to spammed and low-quality directories.
Hence, use more time to deliver your business to valuable and relevant directories manually. Some of the good directories available are YP.com and Yelp which works for virtually everybody. Also, there is an availability of several industry-specific directories which you can join your business. Another excellent move you should make if you have the fund is to get your brand accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Take note that by the time you are submitting your Business NAP to these directories, it is vital to enter your business name, correct address, and the phone number the same way it available on your business site. For instance, the use of “Ste.” to represent “Suite” on your website can create issues. Hence, be consistent to avoid unnecessary challenges.
You can use many ways to manage and audit your local listings and also gain suggestions concerning other directory listings to use. Moz Local is an affordable option as currently; you only need to spend $84 per year for a location. Also, it is a great choice for people who are new to local SEO and needs an easy way to audit their listings.
3. Optimized Google Maps
Data such as business address, hours, phone numbers and review stars are the four pieces of information which Google Maps reveal. By the time you create your Google Maps Listing initially, you will be asked to submit your phone number and local address of your business. This action will be performed manually; hence, do it meticulously.
Ratings are mostly pulled over; hence, once you have a few brilliant systems to get your clients to drop a review, such information will be widely spread and assist your business to become unique on the Maps. Schema Markup is necessary to use if you would like to see your business hours being displayed on your Google Maps Listing.
4. Local Reviews
Apart from extra free exposure, there is an advantage for submitting your business in several large review sites. You may try and conduct a Google search about the local companies within your vicinity; without a doubt, you will find many Yelp reviews being displayed at the peak of your search outcomes. The implication is that such a website is highly favoured for the search result. Hence, you will gain much exposure by having your business listed on that website.
Aside from making sure that your listing is adequately optimized on review websites, you need to develop systems which will motivate your loyal clients to drop feedbacks on those websites. Because a business which has 100+ Yelp review will gain more ground concerning a display of their business profile than those with nothing. It is inadvisable to force your customers to leave you a positive review – which is against regulations of Yelps. Instead, it is better to enlighten them about their importance to your business and also encourage them to click the link on your website which will lead them to every review profile you have.
For several years now, links have remained as the top Google signal, and it will stay important for many years to come. While the term “Content marketing” is significant, it is crucial to know the reason behind its significance. First, content marketing is an excellent means to earn links. You don’t stand a good chance by posting just any content; you have to create impressive contents which will stimulate social distribution to move across the digital world. The further your content goes, the higher your chances of generating more links through your content.
Hence, if you want links, below are some of the reliable means of getting high-end links:
- Spy your competition: you have to check the profiles of the brands among the Google 3-pack listing and analyze if your business is not one of them. To do this, some tools can be used to get their link profiles, and then use it to develop means of creating a similar link on your site.
- Form local partnership: one of the quickest ways to generate some links is to note every company you perform business with. Check their website pages for testimonial section or partner page. If there is none, then make inquiries if they would love to see a testimonial from you – not many businesses will turn away from such an offer.
- Academic scholarships: you can check for the websites of some universities within your community to see if they run any sponsorship affairs that you can join. By donating little to such a good cause, you are likely to gain many links than you imagined as they tend to show the local brands which support such a purpose.
- Non-Profitable affiliation: this idea is similar to the one stated above. The difference is that instead of using local educational institutes, you will be collaborating with charity organizations. Peradventure you can’t find any donation program on their website, you can ask if they would like to have your support in one way or another.
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