Finding local businesses has become an online pursuit. In 2019, 90% of consumers searched the internet to find a local business. In 2020, the pandemic pushed the trend further; 57% of consumers purchased from a local business for the first time because they offered pandemic-friendly services. How did customers find the businesses they were looking for? How did they know which ones offered curbside pickup or delivery? They used local search.
Google’s Local Pack is prime real estate in the search engine world. Local results are displayed above organic ones, and they are visual in nature due to the inclusion of maps, star ratings, and more. Results are linked to Google My Business (GMB) listings, and according to MOZ, GMB factors are the most important when it comes to ranking among the local pack. Any business that wants to appear near the top of a local search needs to have an optimized GMB profile.
What can a business do to ensure their GMB profile is top quality? The first step is to verify they have one. Next, they should keep every section of the profile thorough and complete. This step ensures that Google has key information like business name, address, operation hours, and phone number available to searching customers. Finally, businesses need to keep their GMB profile updated. Ways to do this when key information about the business isn’t changing include answering public questions, responding to customer reviews, and creating weekly posts.
For a local business with a single location, an owner can simply optimize their GMB listing and link it to their website homepage to ensure a fair local pack showing. In the case of businesses with multiple locations, local landing pages (LLPs) are essential. In short, and LLP is its own webpage that was created for a specific business location. Using LLPs allows business owners to link each page to a separate listing on GMB, thereby casting a wider net in local search results which better reflects the business’s scope of operation. Crafting an effective LLP includes many of the same principles as any webpage; clear, concise, keyword-inclusive headlines fare better in searches, consistent and easily understood formatting is a must, and keeping important information near the top of the page improves user experience. Additionally, LLPs should include features such as hyperlocal content, location photos, and Google Maps embed to improve their local search ranking. Behind the scenes, meta descriptions and geo tags that match the GMB llsting’s information are likely to boost search engine performance.
On top of search engine optimization, businesses should keep their mobile features at the top of the line. 84% of local searches are made on mobile devices, and a website frustrating to mobile use will not generate happy customers. Some examples of good mobile features are call to action buttons, click to call phone numbers, and mobile friendly coupons. Convenient 2-way communication like texting is another mobile feature designed to make customer experience better. Get ahead of the pack on local searches.