How to dominate in local search results
More than 20 years ago CERN put the World Wide Web software in the public domain. And it changed everyone’s life.The Internet gives endless possibilities for any business. And it doesn’t matter where you or your clients are located. You will still have a chance to reach them out. Nevertheless, not everyone is ready to cover the planet while running the business. Especially, a small business. In their case, all clients will be within one city or country.
In fact, Google, for instance, in a great measure considers user’s location when serves SERPs. For example, if you enter “buy a smartphone” in the search box, the search engine will automatically serve you results for your city. Google understands that if you are in Los Angeles you won’t be interested in purchasing a cellphone in New York. If you search for the nearest cafe, you can use Google Maps pack. Three cafes located within a radius of 10 km will be offered to you.
Such search engine’s behaviour plays into the hands of a small business. If your aim is to reach potential clients that are in your city or region, you should dominate in local search results. It may seem unreal to a small company. Nevertheless , you can forereach big companies. The thing is that huge companies promote themselves not like the small business does.
- Ignoring SEO basis. Popular brands don’t have to optimize their websites pages to get to the TOP of any search engine SERPs. They naturally get there. That’s why huge companies can afford to ignore basic rules of SEO without any risk to lose positions.
- Focusing on keywords that are associated with their brands. Big companies don’t have to artificially inflate keyword list. They don’t have a necessity to seize keywords that are not directly associated with the brand. Due to this fact, they attract targeted traffic only from search engines.
- Using shady SEO-methods. Content with a lot of anchors, widgets with hyperlinks – websites of the well-known companies sometimes can surprise SEO-specialists. Besides that most of them don’t scorn black SEO methods, understanding that they will get away scot-free.
It is pretty hard to compete such rivals, but big companies have weak sides too, such as:
- Heaviness. Corporations almost never think fast. To agree upon all details they waste weeks of talks and meetings. And only after final approval of a new decision, it will be put into effect. Small business can switch from an idea to actions really quick, experiencing everything in practice. In such way, the flexibility is your main benefit. Try and test different methods and tools, choose the best ones and make decisions that help to increase the effectiveness of your business.
- The limitation of creative approach. No doubt, famous brands representatives can hire experts and pay fabulous money to them. But the most bold decisions can be ignored as they don’t pass the strict censorship of brand positioning principles.
- Dominance is not in all areas. There are many spheres in the network where huge companies are not the winners. You can use this possibility, for instance, offering popular brand products at your online store. In a proper way, it will have a certain influence on how your clients see your store.
- Dominance is not in all locations. If your business is located in a small town, there could come a point that there are no offices of big companies. Or the number of them is not big. In this case, you should mention your town in the query.
Consequently, your aim will be the first position on the 1st page of the local search. Also, you will need to increase brand recognition and improve user experience at your website. Let’s consider the details that will help to reach the aims.
How to become number one at the local search
According to Google every third query made in the USA is local and 87% of users search using a mobile device. Also due to Google’s researches, 95% of mobile users call directly to the company or visit an offline store after they find the company’s contacts.
Local results, according to the trends, dominate in the mobile SERP, that’s why working with them is an important part of any business. To improve your positions, you will need:
1 Optimize pages content. First of all pay attention to the tags <title> and <h1>. For the qualitative optimisation, it is necessary to have your city mentioned in these tags. The same rule should be observed in the case of meta tags. Add the name of the city where you plan to promote your business to the <description>. Besides that take care of pages content. It should be up-to-date, interesting and satisfy your audience needs. It means that you should focus on local consumers and take into account their exact needs.
2 Certainly, fill all the information fields about the location of your company. Make sure that the name of the company, its phone number are available to any user. Also, check if all the information is written and formed in the same way all over the website and in the lists where you register your website (we will get back to it later). Contact details should be the same wherever your company is mentioned. This includes details such as “St.” vs. “Street” and “CO” vs. “Colorado”. If, for instance, you’ve moved and changed the address, you should work hard to change the details everywhere it is mentioned.
3 Correct NAP filling is very important for the citation. Citation is any brand mentioning on the off-site sources, including name, phone number and company address. Submitting your site to local business directories such as Google+ Local, Yelp, Foursquare, etc., is, therefore, critical for building your local search presence.
4 Create an account at Google My Business. It will let everyone find you using the Google Maps navigation (business gets a geotag on a map). Finally, at the Google Reviews tab users can leave a review about your company that will help others to make the right choice. What is important to do? First of all, a Google My Business account should be verified by a company owner. Secondly, a geo keyword should be added to the company name. Thirdly, a user shouldn’t face any difficulties when he tries to find your company from the point where he searches. It should be noted, that correctly created Google My Business account can improve local search results on 15%.
5 Pay attention to how you create ads at AdWords. Don’t forget that Google offers such service as Expended Text Ads. It will help a user understand what it is all about. Here are the main examples of extensions:
- Location extensions
- Call extensions
- Offer extensions
- Sitelinks extensions
- Product extensions
- Social extensions
- Dynamic search ad extensions
- App extensions
Please note that you can use few of them at the same time.
6 The citation is considered to be as one of the important SEO factors. The more you are mentioned, the better it is. It increases your website authority, brings new clients, increases search engines loyalty. If you are a popular resource you should get a higher position 😉 Such services as YP.com, HotFrog, and Best of the Web are used for creating the citations. If you write qualitative and unique content by yourself then you will be cited. You can also mention some authoritative source. In such case, you might have questions about how to correctly arrange a quote.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team said that if you are a blogger who publishes posts regularly and you want to cite some part of your favourite author work or another blogger post, put this text into the quotes and leave a link to the original post – then you can feel free and don’t be afraid of anything. There won’t be any Google penalty. The search engine distinguishes inoffensive citation from impudent copypasting. But if under citation you mean literal duplication of somebody’s work (or few materials) without adding unique content then quotes won’t help you. The reputation of your resource will be tainted in the Google’s eyes. Although, while you add your remarks to the huge citations, your website doesn’t look suspicious for Google. Such things are legal and absolutely organic. The only issue you may face it is the problems with the original source. As can be seen from the above, if you follow the citation rules, then you won’t have any problems with Google.
7 Reviews are extremely important for the building of the user trust. Encourage your clients to receive reviews from them. The reviews left on special websites can have a positive influence on your business. There people have an ability to share their impressions about products or services. If the positive reviews about your business are published there, then you may notice the increasing of the popularity very soon.
Don’t ignore negative reviews! If a client is not satisfied with something and posted a review, don’t you dare to delete it! You should react to such things and work on them. In such case, your customers will see that you work on improving your business, fix the mistakes and pay attention to all your clients. Everyone makes mistakes and if you have many customers then someone can be dissatisfied. It is important to react on critic and show that you are getting better.
8 Social signals are an amazing marketing tool. For now, Google takes into account mentions of your website on the social networks. It means that if a user recommends a website to someone or publishes a link to one of its posts at his page then it is a signal that the post can be interesting to others. The philosophy is the same as in the case of links from others websites to the resource that is being promoted. The more trust your website has on the social networks, the more authority score it gains.
The main principle of promotion in the social networks – boosting of the thematic group. To get the result you should have the content that the most active social networks users will be able to save on their pages, share and recommend their friends to read it. It can be compared with the newspapers sellers from the beginning of the last century, who provoked potential buyers interest by catchy titles from the newspapers.
Thanks to such viral spreading the information is distributed to different profiles. You can automate the process but it won’t look organic and won’t help to promote your website. This fact has been proved by webmasters who work with social signals for leading the website to the TOP. Since a lot of social networks allow to place links on a big amount of their internal pages to the same source, the door to black, low qualitative SEO is always opened . That is why the organic distribution of the information is very important, but, nevertheless, not links purchasing at few dozens or hundred accounts which have been indexed not long ago.
9 Promotion in Google Maps can help to win in the local search. For the successful moving to the top, you will need Google account which should contain all the information. To be visible at a map you should:
- Provide true information about where you are located;
- Add information about working time, including days-off and holidays, so your potential customers know when you are opened;
- Pay close attention to customer care, react to each feedback and comment;
- Download logo to your profile.
The Google Maps results are ranked according to topicality and distance. Google thinks that if a user searches for results at maps, it is necessary to provide him with the places that are not further than 10 km. As for topicality, Google should know that your business is very popular in your city.
10 Choose right keywords. If your aim is to be a winner in the local search, then it should be taken into account when you create a keyword list. Use the name of your city in the list of your keywords, it will be useful to specify your brand as well. Correctly created keyword list is very helpful when you choose the way you are going to promote yourself in the search engines. If you want to dominate exactly in the local search then it should be kept in mind while creating a list of keywords.
These are the main methods that will help you to get to the highest position in the SERPs. Remember, you have all the chances to overcome the famous brands. You should not only follow the tips above but also wind up your brain and be creative. The better you show yourself, the more successful you business will be.
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