Google is all powerful when it comes to bringing consumers to you online, in fact recent surveys have shown that more than 90% of all local search traffic is directed through Google. Companies have been “made” by simply putting out the right “signals”, making them easy to read and demonstrating to Google that their listing is a good option for the consumer’s search query. The following information will provide an overview of the 3-main drivers of Local Rank. Google holds the specifics of their algorithm close to the vest, but they have shared that these three components are measured as part of the ranking process.
Distance may seem like an obvious one. I’m looking for a service, I live in Shaker Heights, Ohio. You have a company located in Shaker Heights that does what I need, BOOM, perfect fit, right? Maybe. Most home service providers, ie. plumber, contractor, fence company, pool company, etc. operate as what’s known as a Service Area Business or SAB for short. You need to tell Google where you are located and more importantly, where you work. This is a challenging process as with everything Google related, there are an awful lot of shady companies or websites, looking to game the system and to make off with YOUR leads. Setting up your service area is imperative and can be one of the first hurdles to overcome when establishing your Google Business Profile.
Distance comes into play in other ways as well. Are the customers who are reviewing your business local to you? Does the information you have established with Google match the information on your other directories and on your website? Be sure to work with a professional before modifying your listing. Especially when it comes to your location itself…. any sudden move, may lead to dun, dun, dun….. SUSPENSION – the purgatory that Google puts you in while they review the changes you have made. These suspensions cost U.S. businesses millions of dollars each year and though they may be unavoidable, it’s smart to ensure that you are working with an expert who understands how to navigate this delicate topic.
Relevance is another piece of the puzzle which can have major influence over your Google rank in the local market. The signal here comes from establishing the right company type and adding content, links and imagery which support that in fact, you are Tucson, Arizona’s number one provider of artificial putting greens (or whatever it is that you do). Enhancing your listing with photos and using all the available fields and widgets to maximize your listing is a good start. Remember that whatever you are adding should tell the tale… what you do, where you do it, why consumers should do it with you, and how to take the next step.
Asking yourself these questions can give you a head start as it relates to Relevance:
Have I described my business properly on my website?
- Do I have the Google Business Profile’s Q&A section seeded with questions that relate to my services?
- Do the images I have added support what my company does?
- Are my reviews mentioning the services which I provide in some detail?
These are all things which say to Google, “this listing is relevant for this search.”
Finally, Prominence. Google wants to make sure that if they are to award a company with a solid rank, that that company has demonstrated an ability to provide the service they have advertised, and done so in a satisfactory way. Here is where the reviews come in… how many reviews are you receiving? An abundance of reviews would demonstrate that your company should be taken seriously and is doing a substantial amount of work on a consistent basis. Making sure that you have a system for reviews or customer surveys which end up on Google is important.
Once you have the volume, now it’s about your response. Are you replying to each review regardless of star rating? How are you responding? What kinds of things are you including in your response? These are all factors which have been proven to be “signals” which Google reads and uses to determine your rank. Making sure that you are aware of these important elements and have a solid plan in place for addressing them is becoming more important with each passing month.
OMG National has developed its flagship marketing program, Local Marketing Essentials (LME) with all of this in mind, and then some. Our clients have been utilizing this Local SEO program for more than 9-years and through many iterations of Google’s algorithm. LME is dynamic and will grow and evolve alongside your business and the changing online marketing conditions.
Get to know more about Local Marketing Essentials today. Start with a quick consultation with an OMG Internet Marketing Pro!