Nearly half of all searches have a local intent. How many times have you added “near me” to a search query? That’s local SEO at work. Besides the convenience of identifying local service providers in our own little ‘hoods, we like to support our local businesses. It builds community.
Local Pack is another Google search tool
To help connect users with their location results, Google has changed their algorithm to accommodate location in its search engine results page (SERP). Another handy search tool is Google’s Local Pack–connecting users to specific local businesses they’re looking for.
You’ve used the Local Pack; you just didn’t know it had a name!
You’ve seen the Local Pack a gazillion times—you didn’t know it was a product in the search space. Let’s say you’re going to be in Athens for a month and you’re looking for cafes with wifi near your airbnb. (My local search for the month of May.) You’re served up a map with three listings, your location and that of three cafes. This is your Local Pack. I found a delightful little café in my neighborhood that became my go-to home with yummy food and friendly people, thanks to Local Pack!
How do you optimize for local search?
- Claim your Google Business Profile (GBP). This has become nonnegotiable. It’s the most important thing you can do to boost your SEO value.
- Add your business to local directories and industry listings.
- Get reviews and add them to your website. Include the local city for the person who’s giving the review.
- Make sure your name and address are in your footer.
GBP ranking factors guidelines
- Relevance: Complete and detailed business information will help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
- Distance: How far each potential business is from the location terms used in a search.
- Prominence: Your overall online presence. More reviews and positive ratings will improve your local ranking.
Google’s Business Profile is becoming a workhorse
A recent article suggested that one of the very best things you can do for SEO is to get reviews on your GBP. Reach out to current and former clients and colleagues and ask them to give you a review—make it easy and send them a link. Forget Yelp. It’s just too annoying. Anyone can access your GBP from Google’s apps—Google Maps, etc. Keep this page updated with new business information; upload blogs and images.
Google’s really getting behind their new, improved GBP and making it seamless
Google’s making it easier for users to interact directly with businesses from their GBP pages to book appointments, get quotes for services and message directly. Without a GBP, you’re going to be missing out on opportunities in local search results and Local Packs. The Local Packs, especially, are a nice visual way to package search results. You really want to be taking advantage of Google’s tools.