- Does This Matter For Local SEO
Nearly all local businesses should strive to have a presence online. Website optimisation, local business listings, and local reviews are all aimed at increasing online engagement.
Google is the centre of most of the talk on local SEO. That’s odd.
According to mid-2020, Google’s market share was 92.06%. While Bing and Yahoo still have a large role to play, their market share is tiny compared to the 2 trillion Google searches per year.
Google’s 2018 representative stated that 46% of searches have a local intent that is a huge number of local searches performed every day: this illustrates how much prominence in Google’s local and organic search results can benefit the area
- Are you ready to begin? To Learn More About Local SEO
Before starting your audit and strategy for a local SEO project, you must make sure you have four key factors in place.
- Google Guidelines for Representing Your Business
Google’s policies govern Google’s technologies.
How you think about and market a local business online will be heavily influenced by Google’s local search approach. These guidelines for Representing my Business on Google govern what I could and cannot do. I took the time to understand them before I got started.
The Google Guidelines for Representing Your Business is a must-have document for any local business marketer. I needed to reframe my thinking in Google Terms and through its Business Platforms. This avoids timely mistakes and errors.
Violations of the guidelines may result in the loss of rankings, various levels of penalty, and even the removal of local business listings. Bookmark the guidelines, study the rules within them, and return to them frequently because Google frequently adds new provisions and clarifications.
The most important guidelines to understand at the start of your journey are those describing eligibility for inclusion in Google My Business. This requirement must be met by any location:
“A business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours to qualify for a Google Business Profile.”
In other words, if a business location does not serve customers face-to-face during its open hours, it is ineligible for a GMB listing and cannot run a full local search marketing campaign. Local SEO is dependent on in-person service, whether it is provided in a store, kerbside, or at the customer’s location.
After determining the eligibility of any location you intend to market, the guidelines go on to describe in great detail how to fill out the various fields of the Google My Business profile, such as how to name a business, how to handle its addresses, departments, and forward-facing practitioners, how to set hours, and more.
- Local SEO – Fundamental business information
Audit basic business information with key people at each location. Double checking that your Business Name, Location, phone number, hours, and other information for each location. Ascertain that all relevant business departments are in complete agreement about the canonical state of this data. Inconsistencies can wreak havoc on a local search marketing campaign from beginning to end.
Skipping this step will land you in hot water later. Make a copy of this simple, free spreadsheet, assign a store number/code to each of the company’s locations, and fill out all of the fields. If the brand you’re promoting qualifies for multi-department or multi-practitioner listings according to Google’s guidelines for representing your business, make sure to include a column for each of these entities.
If you require more fields, add them to the spreadsheet. Consider adding fields for franchisee contact information, for example, if the business is a franchise, so you can quickly reach out to them when you need to communicate.
Finally, if the company has 10 or more locations, you will use Google’s bulk upload functionality, dependent on filling out their bulk upload spreadsheet.
- Unambiguous Identification Of Your Business Model
Please take extra care to identify your business model in particular. Among the business models are:
- Customers visit a brick and mortar location, such as a retail store or a restaurant.
- A caterer who visits customers is an example of a service area business (SAB). A pizza restaurant that also delivers is an example of a hybrid.
- Home-based, similar to a daycare centre
- Co-located/co-branded business, such as a KFC/A&W franchise location
- A multi-department business, such as a hospital or an automobile dealership
- A multi-practitioner business, such as a real estate company or a dental
- Practice a stationary food truck is an example of a mobile business.
- Kiosks, ATMs, and other unusual business models
These business models have their individual set of conditions and opportunities for representing your company on Google. We won’t reproduce the entire document in this guide because it is subject to frequent editorial changes — take the time to read the entire set of guidelines to ensure you know how to navigate Google’s online terrain.
- Clearly State Your Business Objectives – For Local SEO
In some cases, your project will entail creating the full range of online (and possibly offline) assets for a local business location. Everything from the website to local business listings, email marketing, social media profiles, and review management will be under your control. At times, you may only be looking at a small portion of the picture. However, whether the scope of the work ahead of you is broad or narrow, setting goals from the start is the only way to know whether you succeeded or failed after completing your tasks.
It is usually best if the business owner can state their objectives by answering the question: Try to answer that question with something along the lines of success looking like:
- a rise in foot traffic
- a rise in phone calls
- a rise in transactions
- An increase in the number of form submissions
- An increase in the number of requests for driving directions
- An increase in the number of links
- An increase in the visibility of the local pack for X search phrases
- An increase in positive customer feedback
Avoiding answering this question with consideration to vanity metrics such as “I want to be number one” or “I just need more website traffic.” At the end of the day, most businesses want to increase their profits.
Getting from point A to point B is where strategy comes in, defining which tactics and messaging are likely to result in the stated goal, which then translates into increased profits.
Set a timeline after any relevant contributors have agreed on a goal. When it comes to developing a realistic timeline, both in-house and third-party offsite digital marketing agencies. It takes time for the effects of nearly all local search marketing efforts to fully mature, so make sure any timeline you provide does not over-promise and under-deliver.
I know that you want to get started your local SEO journey now that you have the canonical business data, understand the business model and goals, and are well-versed in Google’s guidelines.