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Google search results have become increasingly personalized in the past few years. Take a minute and Google “pizza” on your phone or computer. I’ll do the same thing.
My results show pizza places near Rockville Town Center, where I live (please don’t stalk me, unless you’re Tom Hardy). Your results most likely show pizza places near wherever you are.
So that’s what I mean when I say that Google search results are becoming increasingly personalized. What you see in search results isn’t going to be the same thing that I see.
If you own a local business, you want your business to appear in local search results for keywords related to your products or services. For example:
- If you’re a plumber in Rockville, MD, you’d want your plumbing company to show up for searches performed near Rockville for keywords like “plumber”, “water heater replacement”, “drain cleaning”, etc.
- If you own an HVAC company in Frederick, MD, you’d want your HVAC company to show up for searches performed near Frederick for keywords like “furnace repair”, “ac replacement”, “heat pump services”, and more.
Do I Need to Be in Local Search Results?
If you own a local business, then yes, it’s important that you show up in local search results. Why?
- Local search results often appear before the organic search results, which can lead to better click-through-rates.
- You increase your visibility for geographically-related searches.
- Appearing in local search results allows you to maximize your online real estate.
I want to take a minute to elaborate a little bit on that last point. There are three places that business can appear on a Google search result page:
- The ads section (paid search results)
- The local section
- The non-ads section (which is referred to as organic or non-paid)
To maximize your online real estate, you want to appear in all three of those sections. This minimizes the chances that potential customers will click on your competitors’ listings instead of yours.
How to Get Your Business in Local Search Results
I’ve seen many companies that rank fantastically in organic results, but fail to populate within the local search results. That’s because Google uses a slightly different algorithm for its local search results than it uses for its organic (non-paid) search results.
In order to get your business in local search results, you need:
- A Google My Business page – At least I think that’s what they’re calling it these days, following the Google Places and Google+ transition fiasco. Not only should you have one, but it should be filled out as completely as possible. Most importantly, don’t skimp on your business categories!
- Consistent citation and NAP (name, address, phone) data across the web – Google likes to make sure that you’re a real business, so it looks for consistent business info across online directories like Facebook, Yelp, Bing, and more. An example of an inconsistency would be having a Facebook page that says “ABC Heating” and having a Yelp listing that says “ABC Heating, Cooling & Electric.”
- To be located in close proximity to the searcher – Say you’re a remodeler located in Bethesda, MD and you’re willing to travel all the way to Baltimore to complete remodeling jobs. Unfortunately, because your business location is in Bethesda, it’s probably going to be difficult for you to rank in Baltimore local search results. Basically, it helps if your physical address is in the city the search is performed.
- To have reviews (preferably positive ones!) on local directories – I just did a quick search for “plumbers in Waldorf, MD.” The top listing had 19 Google reviews!
- A website optimized for your location – If you’re unfamiliar with search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll probably get a little lost here. You should have your location in your website’s title tag, meta description, body copy, and other on-page elements to help ensure that Google and your customers know what areas you service.
There are several other local search ranking factors. Moz weighs them as follows:
Need Help Maximizing Your Online Real Estate?
Blue Corona helps with SEO, local SEO, paid search, and more! Now that you know your business should ideally appear in each three segments of Google search results (paid, organic, and local), you might need help actually making that happen. You’re not alone!
What we’ve found is that most small businesses don’t have the time or resources to maximize their online real estate. Hiring a one stop online marketing shop like Blue Corona is much more affordable than hiring a full time marketing person—and our results will blow your mind!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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