Recently, the local SEO community was hit with a large update targeting local search rankings. In their announcement, Google shared a helpful article that gives details on how marketers and business owners can improve local rankings.
Here is what they are advising Google Business Profile users to keep in mind:
Keeping Info Updated Can Increase Visibility
In order to maximize how often your business appears in local search results, Google encourages users to keep their profiles complete, accurate, and engaging by:
- Verifying locations – To be able to first and foremost appear on Google Maps, be sure to verify your location through one of the various options (ex: postcard, phone call, email, or Google Search Console)
- Entering business info – Google states that businesses with accurate and complete business information in their profiles are easier to match with the right searches. So be sure to have your address, phone number, category, and any relevant attributes added.
- Interacting with reviews – Responding to reviews both positive and negative can show that you are active on your profile and care about your customers. Google also claims positive reviews can increase visibility in search.
- Updating your hours – Having accurate operating hours in your profile can help ensure visitors will have be able to visit your location confidently. Aside from your normal hours, be sure to use special hours as well to indicate closings on holidays.
- Uploading photos – Showcase your products, team, and more by adding photos and videos to your business profile.
3 Things Google Says Determine Local Rankings
According to their article these are the things Google factors in when they are determining local rankings:
This refers to how well known your business is, online and even offline. When it comes to online information Google finds about your business, they take into account things such as organic rankings, articles, links, and directories. A part of prominence is also your reviews gathered on your Google Business Profile.
One of the key indicators of where you show up in local search results is your distance from the searchers location or the location identifiers they added into their query (ex: sushi in Green Point.) The closer you are to that area Google has determined, the more likely you are to rank.
Last but not least, we have relevance, which is tied to user intent. This is where Google will determine what businesses they believe are going to match what the user is looking for. The more information you add to your business profile, the better Google can understand how to match you to search queries.
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