Why is local marketing big business? According to Moz, there are “approximately seven billion unique local searches per month on Google in the United States.” More than 50% of mobile searches have a local intent. If you are a local business and haven’t invested in local digital marketing, you should be thinking about it now.
So how do you market your business for local visibility? In this article, we will focus on strategies to optimize your Google Business Listing to increase your chance of appearing on positions 1-3 of local pack listings (also known as Google Map listings) . These listings appear below paid Ads, but above organic listings. As an example, we searched for “digital marketing near me” on Google and as you can see, at the top of the page are the paid ad listings, followed by Google Map listings. Organic listings appear even further below. So unless you’re running a paid ad campaign, local pack listings are your best bet for Google page 1 visibility.
Main Idea: If you’re looking to appear on positions 1-3 of Local Pack listings, work on optimizing your Google My Business listing as that provides more than 25% of ranking success in Google Local Pack!
So how do you go about optimizing your Google My Business Listing?
- Claim Your Listing and Get it Verified – While you can still post content on your GMB listing even if you’ve haven’t claimed it, claiming your listing will provide you with a lot more control, including responding to client reviews, create posts, or reach out to GMB customer service to resolve issues. So make sure you’ve claimed your listing. If you listing does not exist, create one at by going to google.com/business and select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner. Once you’ve claimed your listing, make sure you verify it by clicking on the “Verify” tab in your GMB dashboard. next, you will be asked to verify your mailing address. An postcard will then be sent to the mailing address you entered. Follow the steps on the postcard to get your listing verified.
- Craft the Business Title Well – Add Business Name. Remember that by adding your product or service keyword improves your chances of ranking for those keywords. Notice that all three local pack listings for “digital marketing near me” (and that includes Webtage as well!) include “digital marketing” in their business name. While this is not a guarantee for a top position, it is certainly a big plus.
- Make sure your profile is as close to 100% set up as possible – This includes vital information such as hours, website URLs, services or products, highlights where you can add sttributes such as, “veteran-led” or “women-led,” descriptions, photos and phone numbers.
- Choose Your Category Well – Do not dilute the impact by choosing too many categories. Try to limit to 1-3 categories.
- Gather Testimonials from Your Customers – GMB makes it very easy to collect reviews if you don’t have enough reviews. Simply share the ‘Review Form’ link from your GMB dashboard with your clients. Also, ensure you respond to reviews posted to your GMB listing. Do not ignore negative reviews. Best ways to respond to a negative review is to acknowledge the negative sentiment and provide solutions to your customer.
- Post often – GMB Posts show up in search results in the Knowledge Panel and Google Map search results. You can post about events to promote events at your location. You may also post promotional offers, highlight products, or post announcements.
- Communicate With Your Audience – Answer any questions posed by the general audience. To answer a question posed, navigate to your listing via Google Search and see all questions listed under Q&A section. Navigate to the question you want to answer and hit “answer.” Once you’re done, click “post.” Answering questions posed will help you build customer’s trust and improve search visibility.
Here’s a simple to use infographic on ways to optimize your Google My Listing: