Google displays the local 3-Pack of Google Maps before organic results across all devices. For a local business, there is no better place where you would rather rank. But how do you get there?
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Optimized listings look better and present the best possible information: two things which Google loves.
And optimizing is easier than you think:
1. Claim your listing (s). Visit: https://www.google.com/business
2. Get rid of any duplicate listings.
3. Stick to your actual business name. Avoid using a city name or a keyword unless you always include it in your business name.
4. Ensure that the business name and address on your listing matches with your website and other directories.
5. Get a local number.
6. Ensure that you use the correct primary category and use that same category for all your locations.
7. Don’t forget the profile and cover photos, as well as other relevant pictures to bring your profile to life.
8. Add your business hours.
9. Link back to specific location pages on your website. If you have only one location, then link back to your homepage.
10. Use a login email that ties in with your domain name, rather than a personal one. email@example.com works better that firstname.lastname@example.org
Get Reviews—People and Google Love Them
In 2017, BrightLocal conducted a local search survey and found that up 92% of consumers regularly read online reviews. The survey also revealed that 68% of people are influenced by these reviews to trust (or distrust) a company more.
You know who else loves reviews? Google!
Google Reviews is a major ranking factor for the Google 3-Pack. There is no such thing as “too many reviews”. Follow the following tips to get more reviews:
1. Send an email to customers asking for a review on Google for a product or service.
2. Call your customers and transcribe what they say as a review for your website. Just make sure you take permission first.
3. Don’t wait for too long to ask for the review—no more than a few days after the transaction.
4. Feel free to explain that your SEO expert tells you a review would work wonders for your rankings. Most people will appreciate your candor.
5. Use a service like Yotpo or CustomerLobby to supercharge your efforts.
Make Your Business Website Mobile Friendly
We live in the mobile era, and if you are yet to get on board you are most likely losing business to your competitors. A Google study in 2014 found that 4 out 5 people were searching on various devices for local information, and 88% of people searched on their smartphones with local intent.
Little wonder why Google loves mobile friendly websites—mobile friendliness is a major ranking factor for Google 3-Pack.
Backlinks Still Matter
If content is king, then the backlink is queen—and this remains true even for local SEO. Just remember to prioritize quality over quantity (even though a million high-quality backlinks wouldn’t hurt).
Here’s how to go about getting these backlinks:
1. Get your site listed in at least 30 local directories in your niche. Make sure they have decent authority (remember, quality over quantity).
2. Create and promote amazing content that will be shared and cited.
3. Create a local resource list e.g. best places to get XYZ in your area.
5. Guest posting works great for building backlinks. Just concentrate on the high quality websites and make sure you link back to a useful page on your own website like a resource page.
Optimize Your Location Pages on Your Website
Yes, optimizing URLs, keywords, and title tags still matter. Even though Google has come a long way in their quest to understand user intent through machine learning, keywords and optimization still result in better rankings.
A 2017 Local SEO ranking factors study found that optimization tactics like having your city name in title tags, URLs, and in page copy did influence rankings—even in this age of machine learning.
Each Location Page Should Provide Unique and Quality Content
Sure, it is not easy providing unique content for 100 different locations. However, content matters…if you want to rank, that is. Unique content for a location page could be something as simple as writing a short history of that location, or putting up pictures and descriptions for that location.
Ensure Citations are Correct
Some experts believe that citations no longer hold the same weight they used to when it comes to local SEO. Whatever the case may be, you want to spend some time making sure that the information online about your business matches with your website and your Google My Business listings, even if only for the sake of consistency. Citations in directories also count as credible backlinks so you want reach out to high-authority directories relevant to your niche and start building. Services like MOZ Local and BrightLocal will build citations for you.
Ditch the Toll-Free and Use a Local Phone Number
If you hope to rank for local searches, then you need a local phone number. You don’t have to worry though, most directories allow you to put a toll-free number alongside the local one so you don’t miss out if you have a nationwide business.
In the case where a directory does not give allowance for a second number, use the local number—people that search from the other side of the country are not going to see your business in their local 3-Pack since you don’t have a physical location there.
The above strategies are a little overwhelming to take in and implement all at once, but they will get you to local 3-Pack position. If you would like a helping hand, we here at Eternity would be glad to hear from you. Reach out today!