Almost two-thirds of smartphone users are more inclined to make a purchase from businesses that customize location information. Businesses that optimize their local search presences are primed to convert searchers into sales.
To improve the odds of appearing in local searches, businesses should take full advantage of their Google My Business (GMB) page. When searching locally, Google will display GMB pages before more traditional website links. For example, search for "Chinese restaurant" on your smartphone. Google will display the GMB pages of restaurants that fit that description in the Maps results at the top of your screen. As a business owner, you can leverage your GMB profile to improve your local search visibility and increase potential customers.
How Google Assigns Local Ranking
Google uses three major characteristics to determine which local results to display for a search: distance, prominence, and relevance. For instance, Google may suggest a business located further from you if it's likely to better suit your needs. Here’s an overview of Google’s local ranking factors:
This is basically how well a business matches a consumer’s search query like “plumber near me.” Complete, consistent and accurate business information improves relevance matching. Using local keywords on your GMB page helps Google easily match your business for the given search queries.
If a user hasn't specified a location, Google uses GPS to calculate the closest relevant businesses to their search. Ideally, being closer to a searcher places your business at an advantage, but not always.
Search results try to reflect businesses that are more prominent, even if they are slightly further from the searcher's location. Reviews play a key part in improving your popularity in local results. Additionally, information (social posts, links, directories, articles etc.) being shared about your business around the web will influence your prominence score.
Now that you understand how local search works, here are some tips to customize your GMB profile to increase your Google analytics and achieve better local visibility:
5 Steps to Increase Your Local Rankings
1. Complete Your Data
Businesses that provide more relevant information like business categories, menus, and services have better odds of appearing for a local search. Providing complete and accurate information on your GMB profile is an easy way to get ahead of the competition and stand out to consumers.
Ensure that all your details are entered on your GMB profile so that interested customers can see who you are, where you are, when and how to reach you. Critical details include a phone number, physical address, attributes, and category. To begin, learn how to edit your GMB information.
2. Verify Location(s)
In order for your profile to appear in local search results, you’ll need to verify your GMB page with Google. Verification is simple and typically requires entering a verification code on your GMB page from a postcard or phone call. Additionally, you can work with a listings provider to verify your page instantly. Once verified, you’ll be able to make edits to your GMB profile and view reporting on how your page is performing in local search results.
3. Indicate Operation Hours
Listing your normal operating hours, as well as special holiday or event hours, is critical for capturing local searchers. If Google can’t confirm your hours for special events, consumers will see a warning on your GMB page that your business may not be open. Scheduling changes to operating hours is easy if you have a listings management provider. These providers can make any necessary changes to your business hours and schedule changes for up to 12 months in advance!
4. Manage Reviews and Business Questions
Reviews play a key part in a consumer’s path to purchase. They also influence your ability to show up in local search results. Better, more frequently reviewed businesses have a leg up in appearing for relevant searches. Interact with your customers and request that they leave reviews on Google. Once they do, respond to those reviews, both positive and negative, to show them that you value that feedback.
High-quality, positive reviews will increase the chances of appearing for local searches. However, do not offer any rewards for any feedback as you can be penalized for this.
5. Include High-Quality Images
Including photos of your business will help your GMB page stand out in a potential customer's mind. Images must be high-quality, appealing and accurate. This shows potential customers that you offer what you say you do, and gives them a preview of your facilities.
Following these steps will ensure that your GMB page is fully optimized for local search. As you look to further enhance your search presence, other factors like social posting, responsive web design, and engaging content can provide a boost in local results. Once you have the basics down, working with a search engine marketing provider can help you maximize local search to increase in-store sales.