What is Local Search Engine Positioning
Local search engine positioning refers to the ranking position of your business in relation to a location. This can be based on a keyword or the proximity of your business in location to the search. Local search engine positioning can play in a role in the local pack and organic search listings. Studies have revealed that the local pack area of the first page on Google receives 47% of all clicks. Alternatively, search engine results garner around 40% of clicks.
What is My Google Business?
My Google Business is a tool that allows you to manage your business across Google’s landscape. You can create a profile that transfers consistent information across Google. This includes Google Maps and Google Search. 85% of all internet experiences begin with on Google. This is the most important place to have the correct information displayed for potential customers and internet users.
My Google Business allows you to post content and share updated information with users. You can also reply to reviews which is very important for good customer service. Listing your products and services on your Google listing makes the search process smoother for users. User do not want to click on multiple websites to find what they are looking for.
The most important information listed on your Google Business Page is your hours of operation, your phone number, and website address. If you have a physical address, list that as well since it can be a strong factor for Local SEO.
Claim Your Google Listing For Search Engine Positioning
Sometimes if Google has enough information, they will automatically generate pages for businesses. If you were to type “businesses near me” into Google right now and look at the local pack, you would see that many of the business listings have not been claimed. Unclaimed Google listings can create quite a few problems. First, unclaimed pages are not optimized for local search. Second, if a page was automatically generated, the information may be incorrect. You do not want to have inconsistent information about your business across multiple internet platforms.
Here is an example of a scenario that could happen if there is incorrect information on your Google Business listing.
Bob gets off work at 5:00pm and starts driving home from the office. After traveling about 5 miles down the road, Bob starts to realize his vehicle is not accelerating as it should, and the steering wheel is shaking. He pulls over on the side of the road and performs a Google search to find out what the problem could be. Bob learns that the symptoms his vehicle is experiencing could possibly be related to a catalytic converter issue. He decides it is probably best to take his vehicle to a local shop to get it checked out.
Bob does not know any mechanics in the area, so he performs another Google search for “car mechanics near me.” The search results reveal 3 businesses in the local pack. Two of the 3 listed businesses closed at 5:00pm, but “John’s Auto” is open until 8:00pm according to the Google business listing. “John’s Auto is 17 miles away, but it is the only shop that is still open. Bob decides it is worth it to drive there and heads that way. When Bob arrives, the shop is closed. Bob checked his phone again to be sure that he saw the listing correctly and sure enough, it said “John’s Auto” was open.
Bad Customer Experience
This experience was horrible for Bob. His vehicle started malfunctioning randomly after a productive day at work and then he drove 17 miles to a repair shop that was not open. Was this the fault of “John’s Auto?” Maybe not, but Bob had a frustrating customer experience and could possibly leave a negative review for the business. Not only that, but studies have shown that 95% of people who have a bad customer experience share it with someone else. 54% of people share it with 5 other people.
“John’s Auto” never knew Bob existed, but now their reputation is damaged. Therefore, failure to maintain your online presence is bad customer service. Claim your Google Business Page so Bob does not show up to your business after hours and damage your ratings.
How Does My Google Business Listing Affect Local Search Engine Positioning?
Having your Google Business Page optimized properly can also positively affect your local organic search rankings.
Product / Service Keywords in Google Business Landing Page Title
This means that you need to have your website listed on your Google Page. The website URL connected to your Google page is landing page. The keywords in the title of your landing page can influence local SEO.
Location Keyword in Google Business Landing Page Title
If the title of your landing page includes a location that can positively affect local SEO. An example of such a title would be, “#1 Auto Repair in Charlotte NC.”
Quality of Inbound Links to Google Business Landing Page
Having good backlinks referring to your landing page increases the domain authority and positively effects local search engine positioning.
Load Time of Google Business Landing Page
Fast load speed on your landing page is another strength factor for local SEO. The recommended load time for a web page is 0.4 seconds.
These are just a few examples of how your Google Business Page can positively affect your organic local search engine positioning.
Why is Local Search Engine Positioning Important for My Business?
Depending upon what type of business you are, customers are limited to a product or service within a certain location. For example, a citizen of Charlotte, NC would not need to see results for mechanics in Los Angeles, CA. When a user is searching for a contractor or service-based business, users are more likely to use location-based searches. Search terms such as “Auto Repair Charlotte” or “Mechanic Near Me” are likely to be used for services. Therefore, the results are more likely to be weighted toward proximity to the location of the search.
How to Leverage Google My Business for Local Search Engine Positioning
Create a Google Business Page or Claim an Existing One
When you start a company, one of the first things you should do is create a Google Business Page. If you have already been in business for many years without one, stop reading this article and go claim it right now. There have been many instances where competitors have claimed Google Business listings and purposely put wrong information to gain an advantage.
List Your Business Hours, Physical Location, Phone Number, and Website URL
Google allows you to list a service area instead of a physical address. Some business owners do not include a physical address because they do not want prospective customers to rule out their business based on location. An example of this would be “John’s Auto” listing a service area of “Charlotte and surrounding areas” instead of a physical address.
The reason “John’s Auto” would do this is because they think if someone in the neighboring city of Concord sees that the shop is on the far side of Charlotte, they might not consider them. The truth is, “John’s Auto” is hurting their search ranking in Charlotte more than they are gaining anything in Concord by doing this.
Here is an example of a strategy used by a business to who wanted to take advantage of having a physical address in a larger market.
Gutter Co is a seamless gutter installation company located in City A with a population of less than 15,000. They do most of their business in a City B, a nearby city with a population of over 195,000. Gutter Co has twice as many reviews on HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and Google than any other business in City B.
Lead Generation Problem
Because Gutter Co’s physical address is in City A, they do not appear in the local pack. They also do not appear in the top 20 local business listings for City B although they are rated higher than other business. Naturally, there are going to be more Google searches with the keyword “City B” than that of “City A.” This is a lead generation problem for Gutter Co.
To get the benefits of a physical address for local SEO, Gutter Co rented an office in the heart of City B and moved some of their staff to that location. Once Google sent the verification post card to the new address, Gutter Co updated their physical address to City B. Shortly thereafter, Gutter Co started showing up in the local pack for searches including the keyword “City B” or “near me” searches in proximity to City B.
Return on Investment for Physical Address Change
If the rent for the office costed $1,000 per month, that would equal $12,000 per year. Gutter Co would need to make one more sale per month to pay for the office space since their average sale is $1,500. 43% of all clicks go to the local pack. Since Gutter Co has far more positive reviews than any other company, they would likely receive a lot of those clicks. Gutter Co would have a great opportunity to make far more than one sale per month based on their investment in a physical address in City B.
This is just one example of a strategy you could use to leverage local search engine positioning.
Your Google Business page does more than just display information. It can help you generate leads not only in the local pack but also in organic search rankings. Keeping your information up to date is critical for staying relevant and to prevent bad customer service experiences. Hopefully the scenarios provided some insights for real world applications regarding local search engine positioning.