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Rule The Local Search Results – the Infographic

Nevyana Karakasheva

posted by Nevyana Karakasheva in:

As most of you local entrepreneurs have already figured out, creating a website and a Facebook page for your business alone won’t be enough to ensure satisfactorily site traffic and conversions. The revenue earned through online sales may still remain scarce and your website visits often would be rather disappointing.

Don’t give in to desperation just yet: there is much you can do! You can improve your rankings in the local search results and boost your business online visibility if you put some effort in it. Of course this process will require time and persistence, but ,hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right!

We have prepared a detailed guide for you that easily explains what you should pay attention to and what factors you should closely monitor. Read carefully, take notes and of course, in case you have any questions, just share these with us in the comments.

And now sit back and learn how you could Rule the Local Results!


Optilocal Infographic Rule the Local Results


Full text for the infographic:

RULE THE LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS

Local SEO 2014

Why Should I optimize for local?

  • To get included in the Local Carousel
  • To pursue higher exposure in Local Organic Results
  • To have your own Google Map Pin
  • To get listed in the Local Pack Results
  • To have your own Knowledge Graph Pannel

Rank before your competitors!

How to get higher visibility in the local results? By optimizing your:

  • Google + Local Page
  • Citations
  • Reviews
  • Website
  • Inbound links

1. GOOGLE+ LOCAL PAGE OPTIMIZATION

Focusing your efforts on optimizing your Google+ local page can lead to:

* Higher rankings in the Local Pack Results

* Inclusion in the Local Carousel

* Having your own Pin in the Local Pack Map

*Having your own Local Knowledge Panel

DO’S

  • Verify your local page.
  • Have your company profile 100% complete.
  • Use your exact Business Name (as shown on your website).
  • Create a detailed company description.
  • Make sure that the NAP (Name Address Phone) on your local page is consistent with the NAP on your company website (All of the web mentions of your business should be NAP consistent).
  • Have a physical address in the city you want to rank for.
  • If you list a mail box or suite number, place it in Address Line 2.
  • If you are a doctor, dentist, lawyer, or real estate agent you can create separate practitioner’s local pages from the official company local page with your distinct phone number and working hours.
  • Departments within businesses, universities, hospitals, and government buildings can also have a separate local page if they have a separate phone line.
  • Hide your physical address (select the “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” option) if you provide your service at the clients’ location only.
  • Select every relevant category you find for your business.
  • If you have a single location – link to the home page of your website.
  • If you have multiple locations – link to the location-specific page on your website.
  • Claim and delete all duplicate local pages of your business.
  • Encourage your customers to leave you local page reviews.
  • Regularly update your local page with images; videos, etc.
  • Report to Google spammy local pages in your industry to clear unfair competition.
  • Use a local phone number instead of a call center number.

DONT’S

  • Don’t keyword stuff your business name field.
  • Don’t stuff your description with keywords.
  • Don’t use P.O. boxes as your business address.
  • Don’t create more than one local page for each business location.
  • Don’t select categories that list the products you sell, but ones that describe your business.
  • Don’t use words that do not pass Google’s local listing filter. (e.g. Brothel, Beer, Erotic, Mob, Pill, etc.)

REMEMBER

  • Custom categories are no longer an option except if you use bulk uploads.
  • Centroid refers to a city bias where the actual city center does not coincide with the concentration of the business  offices of specific industry professionals (the centroid). Nowadays the proximity to centroid has lower weight in terms of rankings, yet it is still worth keeping an eye on.

TIPS!

  • Check what type of categories your top 5 competitors have selected and use them, if relevant.
  • If you cannot find a proper category for your business, choose the most relevant one and add a business name identifier to your title for a more clear picture (e.g. Gary Manual Salon, Fainting Goat Gelato, etc.)
  • If you wish your practice local page to rank higher than the local page of the distinct practitioners (lawyers, doctors, etc.) you could leave the most relevant category for the practice listing, and select a broader yet still relevant category for the practitioners’ local pages.
  • You are allowed to use a one word descriptor in your business title, but avoid marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs.
  • Use email account under your business domain when having troubles verifying your local page.
  • Check if your local page has a penalty: search for www.google.com/search?q=location+keyword&num=100&as_qdr&tbm=plcs and compare the results to a standard localized Google search for location+keyword.
  • The local pages that are omitted from the standard search (that renders the 7 pack) most probably suffer from some kind of penalty or automatic filter.

2. CITATIONS

Focusing your efforts on optimizing your business citations will lead to:

* Higher rankings in the Local Pack Results

* Higher exposure in Local Organic Results

Complete citations are the NAP (Name, Address, Phone) mentions of your business.

Partial citations may include your business name and phone number only. Citations don’t necessary include your website URL.

DO’S

  • Ensure NAP consistency between your citations, local page and website.
  • Select high quality sources for your citations.
  • Select niche specific (relevant to your industry) websites.
  • Select area specific (relevant to your service location) websites.
  • Claim and edit all citations of your business that have a wrong NAP.
  • Remove all duplicate citations of your business from the (major) data aggregators.
  • Select the most relevant business category when listing your company.
  • Before you create new citation on a website, check if your business has not already been listed there.
  • Add as much useful info when creating your citations as possible (add images, videos, company descriptions, etc.).
  • Check where your high-ranking competitors are listed and follow their lead.

DONT’S

  • Avoid business listing networks that automatically create multiple listings of your business in various low quality directories.
  • Don’t put quantity before quality.

TIPS!

  • Your citations could be both structured (business directories) and unstructured (newspaper articles, blog posts) ones. Diversify your citations!
  • Checking the PR (Page Rank) and/or DA (Domain Authority) of a website could somewhat help you verify the quality and authority of the source.
  • If you hide your address in your local listing, look for data aggregators where you could hide your address as well.

3. REVIEWS

Focusing your efforts on gathering online business reviews will lead to:

* Higher rankings and review snippets in the Local Pack Results

* Adding review snippets to your Local Knowledge Panel

* Adding review snippets to your website in the Local Organic Results

90% of people who read online reviews claim that positive reviews influenced their buying decisions.

86% said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.

DO’S

  • Encourage your clients to post a review on your Google local page.
  • Check which of the websites that host your business citations welcome customer reviews and encourage your clients to review your business there.
  • After completing a project, don’t forget to ask your client for a review.
  • Print out special handouts with visuals on how your customers could leave a review and where.
  • Try to attract top reviewers in your niche to review your business.
  • Reply to your reviews even if negative. Stay in touch with your customers.

DONT’S

  • Don’t use on-site review station in your shop, hotel, restaurant, etc. The same IP used for leaving the reviews would be interpreted as a definite spam signal.
  • On the same note do not send out a newsletter with a link to your local page and a review request.
  • Don’t create an onsite page that redirects your customers to your listing when requesting them to leave a review.
  • Don’t offer monetary reward for a business review.
  • Don’t ignore the problems mentioned in your negative reviews. Handle those immediately and send your feedback to the offended client.
  • Never indulge in writing fake reviews.

REMEMBER

  • Your reviews should come on a regular basis and not in a single big wave or they will be considered as unnatural.
  • Yelp doesn’t allow business owners to ask their clients for a review. Simply informing your clients that your  business is listed on Yelp will suffice.

TIPS!

  • Regularly email a few of your clients and ask them for a testimonial or a review on a given site or local page.
  • Leave a review from your business local page to a partner company of yours. They may consider reviewing you back and you’d get a valuable B2B review.
  • On your business card add a logo of the site you wish to be reviewed on, like Yelp for instance.
  • You can add a review request even on your payment receipts.
  • Place a banner in your shop/office saying “Find us on Yelp”.
  • Even if it is not in your power what kind of reviews your customers write, take time to advise them to mention either your business name, or the service that they have requested, or better yet the area that you operate/they live in.

4.ON-SITE OPTIMIZATION

Focusing your efforts on optimizing your website will lead to:

* Higher rankings in the Local Organic Results

* Higher rankings in the Local Pack Results

* Improving the info shown in your own Local Knowledge Panel

DO’S

  • Ensure NAP consistency with your local listing and citations.
  • Create location specific pages.
  • Create unique content for your multiple service locations. How?

• Describe specific local sights, attractions, history, festivals, events, etc.
• Use local reviews as local specific content.
• Write about your local company team.
• Include contact details, directions, working hours, where to park &
towing service info.
• Include photos and mention the specific location in their file names and
alt attributes.

  • Embed a Google map associated with your local page on your location landing page or on your Contact us page (if you have a single location).
  • Optimize your site content, title tags, meta tags and urls for the specific location (if you cover several locations do not optimize for all of the locations throughout your website, but focus on the most profitable one instead).
  • Use schema.org to mark up your NAP, hours of operation, reviews.
  • Use location and a keyword in your location landing pages.

DONT’S

  • Don’t use spun content for your local specific pages.
  • Don’t keyword stuff your website content – repeating countless times “divorce attorney London”, could actually hurt your rankings.
  • Don’t forget to check Your webmaster Tools account for any warning messages from Google.
  • Don’t forget to regularly check your organic rankings and your website traffic for sudden drops that might be a sign of algorithmic penalty.

5. INBOUND LINK PROFILE

Focusing your efforts on having a quality inbound link profile will lead to:

* Higher rankings in the Local Organic Results

* Higher rankings in the Local Pack Results

Quality inbound links could also increase your referral traffic and your conversion rates.

DO’S

  • Get included in your local industry associations, business chamber, etc.
  • Pursue inbound links from bloggers who write about local news, events, etc.
  • Reasearch your top competitors’ inbound links and borrow link ideas from them.

DONT’S

  • Don’t pursue links from low quality or spammy websites.
  • Do not keyword stuff your anchor text – go for a branded anchor text instead.
  • Don’t pay for links.

TIPS!

  • Ask your locally based partners to link to your business website.
  • Interview a local community member and distribute the article in the social media networks.
  • Distribute press releases to the local news sites.
  • Remind the organizers to list you on the event/organization page when you:

• Participate in local events;
• Sponsor local activities;
• Take part in local university discount programs;
• Fund a scholarship in the local college or university.
Leave a testimonial on a local business website in
your area (it might be a partner, supplier, etc.)

 

SOURCES:

https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177 Google Places for Business Quality Guidelines
http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/google-places-duplicatelisting-dentists-doctors.html Linda Buquet on How to Minimize Google Places Practitioner Duplicates.
https://blumenthals.com/blog/2010/12/15/compendium-of-banned-words-in-google-places-terms-not-allowed-by-the-nanny-bot/ Mike Blumenthal’s List of Banned Words in Google Places.
http://www.directorybug.com/checking-google-places-penalties Directory bug Team on Checking Google Places Penalty
http://www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-and-lifetimecustomer-value The impact of customer service on customer lifetime value