The best way for a Local Business to get found by people actively searching for their expertise is to be prominently displayed in the top 3-5 Google Map Search Results. If you are not familiar with Google or “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization), this can seem like a bit of magic.
|“Magic is just science we do not understand yet”
― Arthur C. Clarke, Author
If you have a service people actively search for, you need to be found in Google.
81% of people perform some type of online research before making a large purchase.
70-80% of people ignore paid search results, choosing to only click on organic search results.
Google is a “customer experience” company. The Company thrives on giving searches accurate answers to a search. Your company will not be found, and will not be found consistently unless you stay on top of the most current Google Guidelines and Best Practices.
Let’s Dive In! Critical Google Optimizations for Local Businesses in 2021
- You MUST be sure you are 100% compliant with the Google My Business Guidelines – OR YOU CAN GET SUSPENDED. Aka Disappear – Forever.
Make sure you have on hand, at all times the following documentation in case you are flagged for a manual review, or a competitor happens to report you.
- Business License with the address of your GMB Listing.
- A Lease or contract for office space with the exact name of your business, and GMB verified Address.
- A utility bill such as a cell phone, landline or 3rd bill with your GMB Name and Address on it.
Pay special attention to your GMB hours, you technically need to be able to serve customers at your location at those hours (if your profile is set up to do so). Your phone should also technically ring directly to that location (no cloud voip or call centers centrally located elsewhere).
2. Make sure your GMB Listing Profile is 100% complete and accurate
This means you have completely every conceivable input relevant to your business on every screen. Google also recently added for custom services and expanded description text. MAKE SURE you take advantage of the additional text. SPrinkle in your services, but do not make it spammy.
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3. Consistent Use Photos and Video
You should be high quality posting photos and videos or all aspects of your business at least every 60 days. Make sure you have successfully uploaded photos for every category provided by Google.
4. Consistent Reviews on your GMB Listing
Be the company with the most reviews in your space. Your goal is to be average 4.3 or higher. If your customers can leave reviews with the services they hired you for, that will be to your benefit for ranking, and useful to other potential customers. Ask them to also add a photo or 2 with their review. Lastly, reply a nice 2-3 sentence thank you to each reviewer for their time.
5. Claim and Manage all of your other existing online Profiles
There are a few ways to do this, you can use what’s called a local seo citation scanner, or search your own name. You want to claim, optimize, and complete every single online profile that mentions you or your business. If they allow photos, upload photos. There’s an 80% chance someone will search for your business name when deciding to do business with you. Make sure you provide a squeaky clean, and professional set of results for them to find.
6. Create NEW profiles
The average local business can benefit from between 100 and 400 of these local SEO citations. Here is a shortlist to get you going.
7. Make sure you have Google Analytics and Search Console Set Up
These are the first 2 most basic and critical tools to start collecting data about your business and traffic to your website. You can start to build a story about what’s happening on your website and how you can begin converting more traffic to sales!