When a potential customer searches for a business or other location near them, Google shows them what it classifies as local results. These search results are displayed both as links and on Google Maps, showing the individual their location and where these businesses are in relation to them. Google understands when you’re searching for a nearby location and when you’re not. If you search for a hardware store, for example, you’ll see a number of local results. If you search for something like "best hammer drills," you likely won’t.
As a business owner local ranking on Google can be crucial to your growth. You need to be taking advantage of local rankings, especially if you own a retail locations serving a given geographic area. You want to bring in new customers who may be in the area but don’t know about our business. By appearing in a local search, these individuals will become aware of your business’s existence and be able to quickly call or visit your location.
What if You’re Not in the Search?If you do a local search for a query you believe should bring up your business but doesn’t, what can you do? The first thing is to go to Google My Business and provide the necessary information to register each location. This will guarantee Google has your information and will help boost your local ranking. Even if you know your information is in Google My Business, you may want to check it regularly to make certain that it’s up-to-date. If you have ten or more business locations, you can update the information for them all at once by creating a spreadsheet and uploading it to Google My Business.
Complete And Accurate DataGoogle likes to provide users with the most relevant results, and it can’t do that if it doesn’t have all of the necessary information. Make certain that you’ve entered everything in Google My Business, including your name, address, business hours, what you provide, and anything else. When something about your business changes, be sure to go back to your profile and update it.
Verify Your LocationsBy verifying that your business is located where you say it is, you will appear in more than just basic Google searches. Your business will also appear on Maps and Search and other Google products.
Make Sure Your Business Hours Are AccurateNothing annoys customers more than driving to your business only to see a closed sign on the door. Make sure your opening and closing hours are always accurate, especially if you change them seasonally. Also, be sure to include any special holiday hours, the days your business is closed, and the times for any special events you’re hosting.
Respond To All ReviewsIf customers leave reviews about your business, be sure to respond to them. This shows that you value the feedback you’ve received and that you’re open to hearing feedback, both positive and negative. Receiving positive feedback will help bring in more customers and make your business more visible. Whenever possible, encourage your customers to review your products or business as a whole.
Include ImagesA picture is worth a thousand words, so be sure to add a few images to your location profiles. Make sure these pictures are good quality, of course, and that they’re accurate.
How Local Ranking Is DeterminedGoogle uses three different factors when determining a business’s local rank: relevance, distance, and prominence. The better your business ranks in these three areas, the more likely Google will include it towards the top of the local search results. There are times when Google will actually show that a business that’s far from the individual is a better fit than one very close to them, so keep that in mind, too. Distance isn’t always the most important factor.
RelevanceThe more your business listing matches the search query, the more relevant it is. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’ve added as many details as you can to your profile. If you haven’t completed it, Google won’t be able to tell how well you match the query.
DistanceGenerally, businesses that are about equal in relevancy will be ordered by how close they are to the user, but Google’s algorithms are very complex, so sometimes this isn’t always true. When the user doesn’t provide a location, Google uses any information it can gain about the user’s location to determine distance.
If a business is more well-known, it affects where in the search rankings that business falls. Sometimes, a business is more prominent offline than online, but Google does try to incorporate that into its rankings. Famous landmarks, well-known brands, and popular destinations are often ranked higher in local searches because of this.
Google also takes into account the business’s online reputation. If your website has links to it from various articles, other websites, and directories, that can improve its prominence. The number of reviews you have and the overall review score are also factored in. The more positive ratings you have, then, the higher you’re likely to be ranked. Of course, Google also incorporates standard SEO ranking practices, too, just as it does in its general searches.
Google is very protective of their algorithms, and they do everything they can to make the ranking system fair for everyone. Because of that, you can’t pay for higher rankings or even request them. Instead, you can make sure your Google My Business profile is complete and updated and encourage customers to leave reviews.
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