Looking to improve your local rankings and presence on Google? With the recently updated guide on Google My Business, everyone has a chance to learn more about local signals and what Google deems important when it comes to local businesses and SEO factors. Utilising Google My Business has been a popular method for businesses trying to implement digital marketing on a local scale, but prior to this recent update, the limited information available and the lack of direct confirmation from Google sources has led to many SEOs speculating on what techniques really work, and what the best practices are.
Thanks to the update on Google’s help page, improving local rankings through Google My Business is now a little easier. The newly enhanced guide gives everyone a reliable structure to follow in order for businesses to stand out and know what’s important when it comes to local search results.
The new help page covers over how Google calculates rankings in the local 3-pack results and SERPs from local searches. The document goes to explain that businesses need to display as much information as possible; simply put, the more the better. Properly following the setup procedures are crucial, which includes verifying your business, posting opening hours, and managing Google reviews written by customers. Posting photos is also very helpful, and is given a boost in the local algorithm so that search users can find the relevant business they want from the local results.
Google outlines the three areas below as the main factors that affect rankings:
One of Google’s priority is to provide search users with the best user-experience possible. Listings which best match user intent will get favourable rankings in search results. If a user doesn’t specify a location in a search term, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
Google also prefers business listings that are close to the location of the search user. However, optimised listings which contain more information still beat listings that are closer to your detected location.
The ‘popularity’ of a business plays a part in determining its rank on Google search results. Prominence refers to how well-known a business is based on what Google has from across the web. These include articles, directories and links. Reviews are also a big factor, and the theme and ratings are used towards your business’ local ranking. This is because Google looks for any helpful information about the business throughout the internet to determine its overall prominence.
This was a change made last year when Google revised how local search results displayed the businesses tied to the maps. The reduction of this pack means stronger competition to stand out and rank higher. As explained above, it is crucial that your Google My Business listing is verified, and that you fill the listing with all the necessary details to give it every chance of ranking well.
Name, Address and Phone number – consistent NAP is important because Google wants to be as confident as possible that a business listing in its search results accurately represents what the searcher wants.
There is another mobile-related update coming, on top of 2014’s Mobile Armageddon update. It’s been confirmed for a while that Google favours mobile-friendly content, meaning it has to look good when displayed on a smartphone or tablet screen. So if your site isn’t optimised for your mobile, you’re missing out on potential business. Many mobile searches are local in nature – that’s even more incentive to be mobile friendly.
Google Reviews help your business from an SEO perspective. The quality, diversity and velocity of the reviews help Google define your business service, and improves your chances of appearing in Google map results for various keywords. Not to mention that Google Reviews are essentially the online version of ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendations!
Through Google My Business, your business has a platform that aids search users find companies based on specific searches. It makes it easier for customers to get information about businesses online (opening hours, map address, site photos etc.)
A business listing through Google My Business will get you onto Google maps. This allows people using Google maps to source your business including directions to the address.
Building reviews posted by real customers provide potential patrons with first-hand information about your business. Reviews can help form a positive impression without your business doing a thing!
Mobile searches now exceed searches made on a computer – meaning your site should definitely be responsive by now! With a verified Googly My Business listing, your business will appear in Google regardless of device type.
For further information on local SEO and how effective listings on Google My Business are, head over to our SEO services page and see how we can help maximise your leads and conversions. Quantum can set up or help manage your business listing to ensure you get the full benefits from local SEO.