Local businesses understand the need for a prominent position on Google. Many business owners, though, don’t always understand how crucial to long-term success search engine visibility really is.
The Mobile Movement Study found that 77% of mobile users contacted a local business after conducting a local search.
BrightLocal also reported that 98% of web searchers visit a site featured on the first page, with very few people even bothering to move onto secondary pages.
If your business is reliant on web traffic, it is clearly important to focus on SEO. However, trying to get your website ranked is only the start if you are ambitious.
Local search rankings offer the chance for businesses to seize the initiative and take multiple spots on the first page.
Google doesn’t just rank individual websites but instead likes to offer a variety of options to users. Each of the following platforms can be used to get extra listings, potentially leading to a domination of the search real estate for your favored keywords.
1. Main Website
Ideally, your main website will achieve the top position. Most of the following platforms allow you to link towards your main site, so you should naturally generate authority.
For local terms, gaining citations can be enough to rank, with local directories, forums, and blogs linking to you.
If you are struggling to rank, search for powerful authority sites in your locality and niche, then look for content syndication opportunities with guest posts.
2. YouTube Video
Google naturally likes videos featured on their own platform. Most local businesses, though, don’t produce video content, so don’t realize how easy it can be to rank.
When creating the content, ensure you use keywords within the title and include a detailed description. With some backlinks and embeds, you can quickly see your video ranking.
3. Industry Directory
There are many directories online, but some will be harder to rank than others. Specialist industry directories can rank well, but check to see if they already feature on one of the first few pages before you attempt to promote them.
Choosing a powerful site means the domain already has authority, so you may only need a small amount of promotion to rank your own page.
4. Google Local Pack
The number of sites featured in the Google Local Pack has gradually been reduced, but that does mean you will stand out more if you can be included.
Getting listed involves joining Google My Business, completing your profile in detail, getting clients to leave reviews, and getting citations with your full address details included.
A local listing can feature your site name, map listing, images, and street view, so it is good for branding and click-through rate.
5. Google Images
For many niches, images are featured on the main Google results page. Images naturally stand out, increasing the chances of searchers clicking further.
To raise the prospects of your images being shown, use alt tags with keywords, ensuring the image is correctly labeled.
Also, add geotagging information to the metadata, so the image is recognized as a local term.
6. News Reports
Press releases and news reports can often feature in the search results, particularly if the news has a broader context.
It might not always be possible to target a relevant news story, but getting alerts on keywords and industry news should flag opportunities for creating news stories.
It is also possible to become a featured writer for an established site, whether this is industry-related or a larger site like The Huffington Post.
7. Paid Advertising
Finally, you can secure a prime position by paying for Google advertising. Of course, you need to make the ad cost work by carefully tracking your spending, but local advertising will usually be far cheaper than broad search terms.
It is important to track and test your results, calculating how much it is costing to find leads and make sales.
Depending on the competitiveness of the search term, it is possible for a local business to have multiple listings on a page.
The first few listings receive the bulk of the traffic, with numbers falling as you move down the page. If you can rank a few sites, you should receive most of the traffic while heavily branding your business as the major authority.
There is a lot of potential to be found in local search, so there is no reason you shouldn’t make an ambitious plan for a strong Google presence.