Search Engine Marketing

If your business is a local service or brick and mortar location, you depend on mobile consumers to find their way to your brand. Do you have the visibility for these potential customers to find your services across every app, map, search engine and device?

It’s critical that you reach your customers in their moment of decision.

Prospective customers in today’s age of digital commerce have become savvy buyers. Long gone are the simple days of opening the yellow pages to find a business. Or simply calling a number from a radio ad. These days, buyers utilizing the tiny computers in their pockets to research their needs. Furthermore, the smartphone has created access to those who otherwise could not afford a computer.

Local Ranking Factors

Online Reviews

This is now the #1 factor Google looks at for establishing who to place in the top of their search engine.  It’s also builds trust. 

Online Visibility

Is your location found on every corner of the web?  From business directories to online maps, GPS navigation and review sites.

Links

Links are powerfull signal for Google.  Tehy are votes of confidence from other sites.  Links are one of the only way to establish authority. 

Google My Business

Do you have a claimed GMB location?  Is it filled out to 100% with the correct categories and fresh images of your company?

Website Authoriy

Google Looks at your website in many ways.  Does it get traffic.  Does it have authority and links? Is it mobile friendly?

On-Page Signals and Social

Google looks to see how many people interact with your site and your social network.

Google My Business Signals

The key component to showing up in Google maps is to create/claim your business on Google Maps. Google calls this Google My Business (GMB). The key components to focus on in GMB besides correct and consistent NAP is the proper service categories, having an address/location in the city you want to show up in and a keyword in the business name/title. Using a keyword in the business name is a tricky one though. Google guidelines state that business name should appear exactly as they do on your tax documents. So stuffing a keyword in the name could get you in trouble. However, businesses that use the keyword in their name tend to rank better than than those that do not.
Google My Business signals make up 19% of local ranking factors

Factors:

  • Proximity to the person searching for your services
  • Proper Categories selected
  • Keywords in the business name
Link Signals
Link signals are still worth their weight in gold not only in local search but also in organic rankings. Google’s algorithm is still heavily based on the authority that in bound links provide a website. In today’s age of Local Search, your website plays a bigger factor in your map rankings than ever before. Links to your website utilizing keyword anchor text translate to map buoyancy more than ever. These link factors include: Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority & linking domain quantity.

Factors:

  • Inbound anchor text (keywords) links
  • Links are from authority websites (domains)
  • Quantity of Links
On-Page Signals
Is your business address, and phone number represented on the site.  This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many websites do not include the locations of their buisinesses.  This is an important signal for Google to index.  An advanced technique is to use schema markup language (aka microformatting) to properly communicate your name address and phone number (NAP) to Google.
Have you implemented any SEO on your site?  (Target top keywords. Create title tags and meta descriptions)

When was the last time you created content on your site?  Is it fresh or stale?

Does your site have any domain authority?

Factors:

  • Presence of NAP
  • Keywords on site
  • Domain Authority
Citation Signals
There are hundreds of online channels to tap in to: directories, maps, review sites, apps and gps navigation.  In the SEO world, we call these citations. How many of these citations is your business listed on?  Is the information consistent across all of them?  Common errors include variations in business name, address & phone number.  (pro tip,  use the same local phone number for all citations)

Factors:

  • Consistency of Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP)
  • Citation Volume
  • Citation Velocity
Review Signals
84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation

Your online reputation is your BEST form of marketing. Even with local visibility, you still need social proof to stand out among the competition.  This is done through online reviews.  Today’s customers are looking for the best services and find them by looking at companies online review ratings.  If you are not engaging your clients for positive reviews, you are missing a major piece of online marketing. (Pro tip: If you are not engaging your clients for positive reviews, you are missing a major piece of online marketing. Likewise, if you are only collecting negative reviews publically, you are destroying your reputation. The key is to collect reviews privately so that you can deal with the negative reviews offline and promote the positive ones)

Factors:

  • Quantity
  • Velocity
  • Diversity
  • History
Traffic Behavior
Google is measuring the interaction of the public with your brand.  They do this on your website and on Google Maps.  They are looking to see if people leave your site as soon as they get there (bounce rate).  They are looking at how many pages they go to and how engaging your content is (including images and video). On Maps, Google is looking at the click-through rate from the maps to your website.  They are measuring how many mobile users click to call your company. (Pro tip: Update your website to be modern, mobile friendly and engaging. Refresh your content and images if they are getting old.)

Factors:

  • Click-through rate
  • mobile clicks to call
  • check-ins, etc.
Personalization
It’s important to add photo’s to your Google Maps (Google My Business).  I spoke to a top engineer at Google and he mentioned that Google is looking at this as a major signal.  He advised companies to add new photos every month. Other factors incude a profile that is 100% complete. (Pro Tip: Use a professional photographer. The pro images will make your profile stand out among the competition)

Factors:

  • Photos of your business
    • staff
    • interior
    • exterior
    • services/products
  • Velocity of new photos
Social Signals
How is your company doing on social media?  Do you interact with your audience?  Post new content?  Get likes from your customers and fans?  Well, Google is looking at this. It’s not a major factor but a factor nonetheless.

Factors:

  • Google+ engagement
  • Facebook engagement
  • Twitter engagement
  • LinkedIn engagement

THE LOCAL SEARCH ECOSYSTEM

 

Customers are searching in your area for your services.  Are you visible to them?

Showing up online in your local market for your services and procusts are result of many factors.  First and formost, it’s critial that your business info is consitant accross all onliine business directories.  We in search marketing call these citations.  Consitant and structured data across all the top citations sites will help your onine authority and visibility.

Here is a breakdown of this local search ecosystem:

I have a free tool you can use to see how your business is showing up in the above local ecosystem.  Feel free to give it a try:

Get found online today