Outside of Google Maps? Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say complementing Google Maps, because as you surely know, all your digital activity is related.
But let’s start at the beginning: local SEO positioning has become an essential part of the strategy of any local business that wants to be on the Internet. However, many professionals get confused in optimizing and positioning the Google Maps pages of their projects, sometimes forgetting that there are many other actions that we can take.
If you want proof of this, look for any business in your city (I tried “restaurants in Zaragoza”). Have you noticed that Google now complements the local result with other reviews?
That said, I want to make it clear that everything I’m going to tell from now on are theories: totally debatable theories and speculations (in fact, if you think otherwise, I’ll be happy to read you in the comments section) but … aren’t we often acting on factors that we believe affect SEO?
1. Optimizing your Google Business profile
Before working on the external factors to Google Maps, we should start optimizing our own profile, don’t you think? Otherwise, no matter how much we work externally, it is very difficult for our page to reach the first positions of the local results.
Therefore, and as always, optimize your title, your description, upload optimized photos, and involve your most loyal customers so that they leave you a positive review. If you want something more complete, take a look at some tips for local SEO.
2. Take advantage of the merger of Google Business with Google+ and YouTube
It has already been talked about how to connect Google places and Google+.
In the “Information” section we have all the local information of the business. However, in the “Publications” section we can find all the contributions that the project has made on Google+ … and the same would be applicable to the videos that you upload to YouTube.
Where do I want to go? Well, we all know that Google highly values sites that provide fresh content on a regular basis. In other words, if we frequently publish quality content on our Google+ and YouTube pages, we can expect Google to value it and improve our ranking in local searches.
3. 360 degree online activity focus
We already have our Google Business page perfectly optimized and we publish content on it on a regular basis. Now what? If we want to be successful on the Internet, we need a 360-degree vision that covers all areas of action in a way that supports and reinforces each other. Next, I leave you a series of tips that I always try to apply when positioning local businesses:
3.1 You have to be in all the portals related to geolocation
Yelp, Foursquare, other portals related to your topic… We have already seen that Google has begun to include external reviews in its results. By working on these profiles, we will not only be able to differentiate ourselves and stand out in them, but we will also improve the local positioning of our business in the Google SERPs.
3.2 Many business directories are still alive
It is true that with Google updates many of these portals have been penalized … but it is also true that there are still many that not only have not been harmed but, on the contrary, have seen their volume of traffic and their authority increase.
For this reason, I personally bet on carrying out a search and selection work for those portals that may be interesting for my project. And I don’t just look for generic directories. I especially focus on specialized directories. For example, if you want to position a party bar in Barcelona, I will carry out this search and other similar ones on Google to see which portals are well positioned.
But… be careful! Not all portals are worth your attention since, as we have already commented, there are many who have been penalized. To avoid surprises, it is better to check with SEMrush the evolution of the number of positioned keywords (which, in addition, will provide us with an estimate of the traffic captured by the portal).
3.3 Contact bloggers who are well positioned
Sometimes I find bloggers very well positioned for the keywords that interest me (sometimes even in the top 3 of the SERPs). So, as an alternative to investing in Google Ads, we can pay them for a review of our business in an article: we will capture a large volume of traffic for the keyword that interests us and for a relatively low cost, improving, on the other hand, our local SEO.
3.4 Organize events and invite local experts from your city
Contests, auctions, tastings, charity events … well promoted events that attract the right people can become a source of links and reviews. What’s more, in contact with bloggers that we have mentioned above, many times they will appreciate it more if we send them a free sample of our product or invite them to these events than money itself, so we can achieve our goal in a much more important way: personalized, adding value, and getting the blogger (or local expert) involved in our project.
5 SEO Tips for Google Local
As you may already know, Google Local, also called Google Places, is being used more and more, and therefore, for many businesses with a specific location it is much more important to be well positioned for these local Google searches.
Currently, almost anyone who is going to make a purchase in a local business that they do not know usually does a search in the search engines first, either to consult opinions, see the location, check the telephone, etc … Therefore, we cannot ignore all this traffic for our business.
Every time a local search is done, a mix of organic results, organic results based on location, and results from Google+ Local is made in the Google SERPs.
Here are five tips to improve SEO in your Google+ Local campaigns that will give you a competitive advantage over your competition’s local businesses:
1. Complete your profile 100%
It may seem obvious, but the truth is that there are many local profiles that are only 50% complete. Google tends to give preference to profiles that are 100% covered, thus providing you with as much information as possible. In turn, Google provides the best possible user experience.
Google also takes into account the opening hours of your local business–for example, if your business is open during the time period in which the search is performed. If the opening hours have not been filled in on your Google+ Local profile, you may be left out of the search results. Also, do not forget about the photos and videos that, in addition to giving you more relevance, will help you differentiate yourself and stand out from the rest of the business.
2. Keep your name, address, and phone
Keep these in all the local sites and directories where you have to put your name, address, and telephone number. Try to keep three factors the same in all of them. If you have a local phone and a business phone, always use one of the two in all directories, but always the same … if you are on Calle Santa Susana, always write Calle Santa Susana, not in some “Santa Susana” and in other “Sta Susana” (to give an example).
I would also recommend using the name, address, and phone number in the footer or sidebar visible on all your web pages with structured schema data.
3. Use all relevant Google+ Local categories
Google does not allow custom categories, so you have to choose the ones that Google+ shows you by default. Try to choose all the categories that are related to your business, since it is one of the ways that Google+ Local uses to categorize businesses and display them in the results.
4. Get REAL reviews
When I say to get real reviews … they are real reviews, not the reviews of your family and friends, but reviews of your real clients–and happy real clients, since the reviews, in addition to being a local positioning factor, are also an important factor in the user’s purchase decision.
Therefore, try to get these true reviews. For this you have to engineer it (and we will write about it), but a good method is to encourage the client to write them, highlight the positive reviews, “reward” the clients who do so, etc. …
5. Add a Google Local map of your business on your website
For example, on the Contact or Location page, add a Google Local map embedded with the HTML code that Google offers you.
To do this, you have to search for your business in Google Maps. In the lower right part, where there is a wheel, click to open the drop-down menu and choose “Share and insert map,” and then choose the option to embed on your website with the HTML code that Google shows you. It seems silly, but it is a recommendation that I make.
In conclusion, these are five basic tips for the local positioning of your business file that will help you improve positions in local searches. Also, about three or four years ago we wrote a post about local SEO, with many points that are still valid.
These are some of the ideas that I propose to improve local positioning. As I mentioned, they are the result of experience, but of course totally debatable. So now I ask you: How do you position your local businesses? The comments section is all yours!
My name is Jennifer, I work as a digital marketing executive. I create content for social media platforms and write different kinds of blogs. I love to write engaging stories and blogs.