How Google Can Help Local SEO

Just Google it!  Anymore, this phrase is used in public dinner conversations, as well as a night at home on the couch.  Google is one of the best ways to find information, search for service providers and even locate businesses.  With mobile devices’ popularity today, Google’s search results are becoming more and more localized.  What used to be a “top 10” in search results is now more refined.  Anymore, this is referred to as the Google Local 7 Pack.  Essentially, Google displays business names, address, phone number, and maps for around 7 local businesses.  At times, this number could be lesser depending on how refined the search criteria is.  So, how can your business show up in the 7 Pack?  Here are a few quick tips to make sure you’re doing everything you can:

1. Have you claimed your business through Google?

This seems simple to some, but a lot of businesses forget to do this.  By claiming your business on Google, you are able to customize your information.  It’s extremely important to make sure all hours, contact information and addresses are current.  Think of it as an online phone book for other businesses or consumers.  From here, Google can link your business address to maps, showcase user reviews and display pictures.  By completely filling out your information and uploading pictures, your business can look more credible, and also show up more often in searches.  Click here to get started.

2. Create a Google + Local Business page.

After claiming your business through Google, a local business page can help connect you with your customers on more levels.  This page also gives your business credibility, by offering a foundation for communication.  Here, your customers or other businesses can communicate with you through face-to-face chats.  In addition, you can link your business’ YouTube channel and other social media to your Google + page.  Essentially, this gives your business one place to link all of your other information to.  This also gives you a Google dashboard, allowing you to manage your online presence in one spot.

3.Participate in social media, completely.

As a customer, do you trust a company that doesn’t have a website? As a business, do you consider another business credible if they’re not on Twitter?  Google yourself and see what results show up.  Often, user reviews can show up upon Google searches through sites your business doesn’t monitor.  Have you looked at your business on Yelp?  Sometimes a bad review can be one of the first things a consumer sees.  By completely participating in social media, your business can communicate with these reviewers.  In turn, a bad review could still be good PR for your company by showcasing your customer service on these third-party sites.

4. Have a website with your address listed in plain view.

A lot of businesses place their address and contact information on the very bottom of the page.  Anymore, with the popularity of mobile devices, addresses should be displayed on the top of your site or on an easy-to-find “about us” page.  Do you know what happens when you search your business name in Google Maps?  Do you show up on the map?  By showcasing your address on your website, there is a better chance your business will show up on Google maps when searched for.

 5. Make sure your location is listed in your meta description.

Meta elements help SEO, hopefully increasing your click-through-rate from search engines.  These descriptions usually show up in a search result, giving the customer a brief introduction to your company.  Ideally, these will be engaging enough to encourage clicking on your site.  Certain targeted keywords can be used in meta descriptions to help show up on searches.  By adding your address to this description, your business can be found more easily.

Remember, Google can make or break your online reputation.  Keep reviews in mind.  Keep keywords in mind.  Essentially, the more time you spend on Google, the more your business will show up in searches.