Local businesses need to know how to optimize for their specific area. Standing out in local searches is the best way to get the majority of queries and customers. However, there is a lot of confusion about what it takes to be number one in the local digital landscape.
The biggest misconception for many owners, who are new to digital marketing, is that the answer lies in keywords. There is a lot of information out there that talks about the importance of keywords. Because of this, some believe that working in the term “near me” as many times as possible is the solution. This is not the way to improve your ranking. In fact, it can cause more harm than good.
Google is pretty advanced, and there is no way to play the system for the top spot. If you want to show up in the map pack, you are going to need to optimize your location landing page for both users and search engines.
Let People Know Your Details
You wouldn’t blindly follow someone that offers you a great deal but provides absolutely no information about where you are going. The same translates into the online world. If you have a business that has an online presence, it is important to link it to your actual location. It builds a sense of trust for customers and search engines. However, it is essential to do this step right. Make sure you add your Name, Address, and Phone Number. Chances are you will be providing this information on numerous citations, pages, and definitely your Google My Business profile.
Many internet marketing services believe that it is best practice to ensure that all the information you put out is an exact match. The way you put your details into your GMB profile should be the exact way you add it to other locations. This will help search engines connect the address to your precise location and rank you higher.
Get The Images Right
People are very visual. We rely on our sight to make snap decisions and judgments in our daily lives, and the same goes for the internet. Simply putting down a name and an address will not get you far. It is vital to add the appropriate images to your page. You will want images that show the interior and exterior of your shop if possible. Interior images will set the scene and give people an idea of what to expect from your location. Exterior photos are there to help first-time visitors find you more easily. Make sure to add a good shot of your outer appearance, any logos and signs, as well as parking locations.
As with anything else in the world of digital marketing, you will also need to optimize for search engines. This means that picking a good, high-quality photo is not enough. It might catch the eyes of visitors, but it could go against search engines. Images need to follow certain rules for proper optimization. Things such as the size of the image, type of file, and metadata can all affect ranking. Make sure to add the right metadata – title, description, GPS coordinates, alt text, etc. This can be overkill to do for every page, but it is good practice for important pages.
Connect to the Locals
Most of us are drawn to what is familiar. A shop popping up in our vicinity means nothing if we cannot remember it. However, if we see signs that tie that shop to our surroundings, we are more likely to give it a shot. This is why it is important to give people the chance to recognize you. There are two great ways to do this:
- Embedded Maps – Embedding a map helps people pinpoint your location. It helps them determine if the trip is worth it or not.
- Give DIrections – Providing directions is a great way to help locals find your businesses. In addition to the clear steps that guide them to you, it is a great opportunity to add some geo-specific keywords.
There is a lot that goes into getting into Google’s map pack. These are just some of the steps you can take to get on the right track. If you wish to start enjoying good results for your business faster, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to discuss your marketing strategy and help in any way I can.
Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.