Achieving a high position in the search engine rankings is a bit like finding the elixir of eternal life; or so a lot of small businesses think. In reality successful search engine optimization can certainly be tricky, but it isn’t beyond the realms of a small ‘mom and pop’ rentals business catering for the local community.
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Localization is important. Thanks to changes made by Google, anyone searching for a ‘local’ business will only see three as opposed to seven choices at the top of the page. For example, if a customer is searching for a tools rental store in Chicago, he or she will be given information about the top three local businesses nearby, which will include street address, opening hours and ratings/reviews. Unfortunately, if your business doesn’t hit one of the top spots you will lose a lot of visibility.
The idea behind the Google localization changes to give customers a better experience. This is great for them as they are more likely to see relevant search results for local queries, but it means local businesses need to work harder if they want to appear in one of the coveted top three ‘local’ spots. So what do you need to do?
Check Your Website Details
Since a physical address will appear in any Google local results, you must ensure that the information on your website is correct.
- Your physical address should be close to the geographical area you are targeting in your SEO campaign.
- Does your website have a location map? If not, add one. This will show users your exact location.
- Putting clear directions to your business address is also useful.
- Make sure you include telephone numbers so customers can contact you.
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a useful tool for small businesses, so make sure you develop your GMB for local SEO purposes. Any information you add to a GMB account – and it is sensible to add as much as possible – will be used by Google Search and Google Maps. Your city and town should be mentioned on the title of the GMB landing page and your location must be owner verified.
SEO for Regional Branches
Successful businesses often have more than one regional store or office. If this applies to your business, be sure to create a different page on your website for each branch. Each individual page should include an address, telephone number, opening hours, a location map and directions.
Customer endorsements and product reviews are important for local SEO. Google knows customers look for reviews before making a decision about whether the business will benefit them. Good reviews are important, but they do need to be genuine, so don’t waste time writing your own glowing reviews because if you are caught out, it could cause irrevocable damage to your business.
Local SEO can be challenging, but with a bit of time and effort on your part you will see good results. However, it is sensible to keep up to date with Google’s guidelines because they are apt to change without much warning.