Check out the updated help page entitled: Improve your local rankings on Google. Google went ahead and added more information on local ranking factors to the page, leveling it up. Prior to this update, there were about 5 paragraphs on the topic, but now there’s nearly double that, including more specific details. How does this affect your local SEO campaign? Read on to find out.
What are Local Results?
These results are what appear when users search for a local store, business, restaurant, etc. For instance, have you ever used “find [insert thing] near me” on your phone? Local results are what show up when you use this. Here’s an example of what it looks like:
“find food near me”
As you’ll see, the map shows places near MDPM’s current location. Below the map, you’ll find local businesses and their Google + business pages. Further down the page, which isn’t in the shot, are the organic results.
Some of you may be wondering how your business or practice ranks in that 3-pack below the map.
Google’s updated Google + business page ranking-factors give us some insight.
Why Does This Update Matter?
First, because Google has just given us a deeper look into how they rank Google + business pages, which means that either it will confirm that what we have been doing all along is exactly what they recommend, or there may be new things worth adding to the already full toolbox for local SEO.
Second, Google has confirmed what is mandatory for a local business page to rank. No longer are we taking shots in the dark. Granted, the info doesn’t include as much depth as we would like, but it does go a few levels deeper regarding what Google expects from its local business pages.
How Does This Google Update Help?
It outlines what you can do to improve your local business rankings.
Enter complete and accurate data
Ensure that all the information on your Google + business page is complete and accurate. Include information like your business name, full postal address, and phone number. Add categories and photos to your page. Fill out your page as much as possible, if not 100 percent, and make sure you update it as your business information changes. The goal is to provide the most accurate and relevant information to the user. This is also what Google works to do with each and every query submitted to their search engine.
Verify your business
Not verifying your business decreases the chance that your business page will show up in results, or on the map. You want to go through the verification process, which includes filling out your page, confirming that your business is legitimate by sending Google a postcard or calling them, and finally completing the confirmation process using the code or verbal cue Google provides.
Keep your hours updated
If your business hours change, remember to update them on your page. Google wants to offer the user the most relevant information, and if your hours are inaccurate, it could harm your rankings. Ensure your hours are correct so that the user doesn’t have to.
Reviews deserve management and response
Once your page is created, completed, and then verified, the work isn’t over. Your page is an ongoing process. Eventually you’ll gain some reviews, and it’s good practice, according to Google, to respond to them. Whether positive or negative, if you can respond, do so. Every review, and every business philosophy is different, so use your best judgment on this one.
Photos are a big deal
If you have photos, use them. It gives the user a better idea of what you and your business look like. It also helps confirm, and add value, to the users search when they can see that you have the service they need, instead of just reading about it. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
What are the Ranking Factors for the Google + Business Page?
There are three ranking factors that Google lists in their document:
This refers to how well a business page matches the user’s query. Keeping your page complete and accurate increases the chance of finding more of your potential customers rather than just a few.
This is based on the user’s proximity to the business. The user’s proximity can determine how high your business ranks. If the page is relevant and close, it should rank high. However, if it’s close but not relevant, it may not rank at all.
This refers to the reputation of the business. How well known is your business offline and online? This is what Google is working to reflect with local results. Museums, landmarks, or known store brands tend to rank higher in local results than the not-so-well-known.
Prominence is also determined by your business’s online presence via links, content, and citation directories. A quaint confirmation, but your overall SEO strategy helps your local results.
With this update a few things were confirmed. The first is that every business should have a Google + business page. Second, the page needs to be 100 percent complete and accurate. The third is that you need to focus on your overall presence–including links and content strategies–rather than just one aspect of it, to gain the results you want.
Want to learn more about Local SEO? Not sure if you’ve covered everything your site needs to get the results you want with your online marketing strategy? We’re here to help! Call MDPM today at (972) 781-8861 or Email us at: [email protected]!