How to Rank Well in Local Searches on Google

If you have a business that serves a local area, this post is for you. Google has put a lot of effort into refining search results so the large, national chains aren’t always at the top of results. Even the little guy can rank well in local searches!

How do you stand out? The main factors that influence a site’s position in local search are:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence
  • Plus, all the unstated factors built in to Google algorithm!

All joking aside, here I will focus on the three stated factors in ranking well. Google heavily replies on your Google My Business listing to determine your rank.

Relevance is how well your Google My Business listing matches the phrase being searched. If your listing contains the words or phrase used, you have a good chance of being among the top results. Adding complete and detailed business information to your Google My Business listing is important.

Distance is how far you are from the person doing the search. Google knows where your business is located based on the address in your listing. If you have more than one primary service area, be sure to designate multiple locations within your listing and/or creating service area pages as part of your website.

Prominence is a ranking of how well-known your business is. This is based on the information Google gathers about you from across the web. If you are regularly mentioned on social media, in website links, articles, directories, etc, Google will rank you well. Consistency in your business name is critical here, as Google bots may not connect all variants of your name to the same business.

In sum, Google will rank you highly in local searches if your Google My Business listing and website is highly relevant to the search query, your business is in direct proximity to the searcher, and you are mentioned frequently online.

Content That Meets People Where They Are

The content you provide in your marketing isn’t for you. It’s for the people who you want to market to and to engage with. Never forget this critical element.

Keep in mind that the people you want to reach have different needs at different times. Align your strategy to ensure you are there for them with what they need, when they need it.

Address People at All Levels of Awareness

Not everyone has the same relationship with you, and their engagement with you will change over time.

When they are first learning about you, they are likely to pay attention to content that provides the basics of who you are and what you offer. As their understanding grows, they dig into deeper material that shows the nuances of what makes you and your brand different.

If your content marketing strategy only satisfies one aspect of the customer journey, you aren’t connecting with people at all stages. Be sure your mix speaks to newbies, people who know you, and people who love you. They are all out there.

Understand Today’s Problems and Concerns

A variety of factors influence what people care about most. Interests and issues change over time, and your content needs to stay current.

Pay attention to the questions and comments you get directly as well as comments you are seeing elsewhere. Each one indicates an interest that is likely shared across your target audience. Your ability to provide content that targets what is top-of-mind now is key to your success.

Ack! Don’t Do These Things on Social Media!

I’m mostly all for looking on the positive side of things. Sometimes, we all need a reminder of what not to do. Here are some social media landmines to avoid.

Don’t try everything.

Have a plan for your social media and overall digital marketing. You need to know your goal and where you can reach your target audience. Trying everything without a sense of the overall strategy is a waste of time and money. Period.

Don’t engage with haters and trolls.

Some people are out there just to stir the pot. Let them be. Battling them is a lost cause. If you try, you’ll waste the time and energy that would be better used to build your brand and serve your customers.

Don’t ignore your followers.

Keep tabs on activity on your social media accounts and respond promptly to your followers. No one likes to be ignored. Your silence will undo any progress you have made in your online marketing.

Don’t get distracted.

Watching your competition is essential, but more critical to your success is developing your business and delivering excellent service to your customers. Let the competition have their wins, but don’t dwell on them. Nurture your brand’s unique strengths and capabilities rather than trying to copy or beat another company.