- Following pandemic-driven shopping trends, lots of local businesses had to explore online marketing opportunities
- Google offers a few great ways for a local company to get found through organic search
- Local 3 Pack is Google’s search element containing the top three local businesses based on your search query.
- To rank in the Local 3 Pack, you must ensure your Google My Business listing is complete and active.
- Third-party local business listings (like Yelp and Tripadvisor) may also drive some organic search visibility, so it is a good idea to claim your business there.
- Hyperlocal content may help discover your business people who were not even searching to buy a local product or service, so produce relevant content regularly.
Local marketing has become even a more trending topic following the pandemic-driven pandemic. Many local businesses that relied on local foot traffic were forced to turn to the Internet to get found by customers. That brought this huge challenge to any local business – how to get found online.
Step 1: Claim your business profile on Google My Business
Google offers huge organic search visibility to local businesses through the so-called Local 3 Pack that shows up on top of organic results when search intent reflects buying (or doing) something locally. Local Three Pack is Google’s search element that includes three relevant businesses from Google Maps results: Ranking your business in the Local 3 Pack is no easy task. It heavily relies on the proximity of those businesses to the customer’s current location. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your local rankings:
- Ensure you have a detailed (and original) description of your business and what you do.
- Add your website (often, Google would grab text from the associated website and rank a business based on that content). A few great plugins allow you to embed your local listing onto your website for better visibility.
- Upload pictures and videos of your office and team
- Add your products and services (Note: Services are not believed to have a huge (or any) impact on your local rankings, but why not add those anyway)
- Your business categories. Keep those categories as relevant as you can, as they can harm your local rankings
Most importantly: Keep an eye on your Google reviews
Business reviews are known to be crucial for your provincial (and hence Local 3 Pack) rankings, so make sure to keep an eye on your reviews and reply to all of them. Note that Google may remove your review if they find you have been using manipulative or misleading tactics when getting those reviews, for example:
- If that review is repeated across other business profiles on other sites (which, by the way, can be quite natural… I’ll be the one to admit that I may leave my favorite business the same review on a few platforms I am registered at. But again, I think we are talking about suspicious patterns here rather than one-on-one cases)
- If you had a massive influx of reviews overnight
- If Google suspects that you and your team are reviewing your business pretending to be clients.
While you may notice your competitors implement these manipulative tactics without no negative impact on their rankings, I’d still suggest avoiding these at all costs. You can invite your customers to review your. But you cannot request positive (five-star) reviews or segment your customer base only to invite happy customers to review you. If you have a budget, investing in google maps and ads are also a great idea. This could bring in more customers and reviews.
Step 2: Claim your business profile everywhere else
Yelp marketing is tricky, but if you start getting reviews there, you can display those reviews on your site to boost conversions. While claiming your business is generally a good idea to get better control over your branded content, it also gives you additional organic exposure because those listings may rank in organic business out there will need to ensure a strong Yelp presence, for example, so that one will always be on top of your list. Here’s a huge list of those you can consider.and bring additional exposure. Hence, your is identifying important local directories (like Trip Advisor and Yelp)and claiming your business everywhere. Just about any local
When putting your business on maps…
- Ensure your business name and address are consistent across all channels, including the phone number format.
- Complete all available fields and use all available characters! More content generally means higher rankings for your listings!
- Monitor your listings for reviews, add updates, and ensure your info is up-to-date!
Step 3: Develop a hyperlocal content strategy
Similar to how foot traffic works for a local business (passers-by may check a store out of curiosity), a well-plannedstrategy can drive customers who never intended to buy anything or didn’t know they needed you.
- Describe (location-driven) problems your business solves. For instance, a Seattle hairdresser publishes an article on haircuts that work well in windy or rainy climates.
- Address some problems that are common in your area. These work best when they are timed to a particular seasonal trend. For instance, a bakery in Albany publishes a checklist of foods to store at home to prepare for a snowstorm.
Here are a few ideas for hyperlocal content:
- Ideas for local vacations and where your business can be of help
- Local events and how your brand participates
- Local partnerships like local charities
Take note of local People Also Ask results because those are great sources of hyperlocal content.
Generally, answering local questions is a great idea!
Look at this search query: “How far is Central Park from Times Square.”
People searching for this may not necessarily be looking to buy anything, but there are still some opportunities here, as your content may give them ideas on where to dine or stay. The beauty of hyperlocal content marketing is that your clients don’t have to be in the area to find your content: They may be planning a trip to your site and discovering your business before going. This is something local maps placement won’t be able to help with. Semantic search is another good way to come up with hyperlocal content ideas because it will help you identify location-based keywords that can generate organic traffic.
Organic search provides quite a few opportunities for local businesses to generate traffic and get found by customers. Keep an eye on your local listings and create hyperlocal content to generate relevant traffic for your local business. Good luck! Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager atNinjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty. Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, , leadership, podcasts, and more. Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.