Before you start implementing a local SEO strategy to improve your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) ranking please understand some specific strategies that definitely don’t work.
Strategies That Don’t Work for SEO
- Organic rankings do not influence local rankings. FALSE. If your website is ranking well organically it will influence your local ranking with your Google Business Profile (GBP).
- Google ads will increase your local rankings. FALSE. Having a Google ad will have no effect on your local rankings.
- Geotagging photos for your GBP will increase your local rankings. FALSE. It has been shown in testing that Google strips out the EXIF data in photos and it is not a ranking factor.
- Backlinks to your GBP influences your ranking potential in the long run. FALSE. Although backlinks for a website have been a positive ranking factor for Google for a long time, it doesn’t hold true for GBP listings. Testing has shown that creating backlinks, even from high DA sites, to a GBP property will boost rankings but will then lose that ranking gain after a few weeks. It is just not sustainable.
- Using black hat methods to gain an advantage in rankings is sustainable over the long run. FALSE. Using questionable methods to gain an advantage in ranking is usually not a good idea because they just don’t hold over time.
- SEO is a one-time application. FALSE. A good SEO strategy will need to be sustained over a long period to offer continued success.
SEO is Data Driven
SEO, or search engine optimization, relies on data. Instead of listening to the unproven ramblings of so-called SEO experts, rely more on data that shows what works. Way back in 2006 I remember an SEO expert that simply said the biggest influence on ranking is targeted content. He was right then and it still holds true today. Google has changed its rankings algorithms many, many times over the years but one thing holds on, the quality of your content.
Major Local Ranking Factors
If you want to rank your GBP in the 3-pack pay attention to these factors. I am going to assume that you have filled out your Google Business Profile completely with complete and accurate information and you have verified your listing.
Google Business Profile Signals
Proximity – This is how close the searcher is to your business. The farther away a searcher is from your business the less likely they will see your listing in the search results in Google maps. Service area businesses work differently in search than those that have a physical address.
One way you can increase your proximity is by using pin drops on Google maps. Dropping pin locations is easy to do on either a mobile device or a desktop computer.
I won’t go over the procedure with you in this video, but the process entails setting pin locations further away from your business address to increase proximity, or distance. You then add driving directions back to your business location. Make sure you save this map for public viewing and show it on your location page on your website.
GBP Categories – Choosing the correct GBP categories is an important ranking signal for Google. You can see what categories your competitors are using with a Chrome extension such as GMB Crush or GMB Everywhere.
Keywords in Your Business Title – If you can get your major keywords into the name of your business it is a major ranking factor. For example: Joe’s Plumbing Jacksonville FL. If that is not the official name of your business, don’t use it for a title. You can also get a DBA (doing business as) so you can include your main keywords plus city. If you already have a GBP name in your title changing it may cause a problem. Google would have to approve it.
GBP Posts – Regularly posting short keyword infused articles will keep your readers informed and boost your ranking.
Adding Service Areas and Products – Add all the services your business provides and make sure they line up with the services listed on your website. The same holds true for any products you sell locally.
Reviews – Getting and maintaining good reviews from customers is another important ranking factor. You should have a good review generator in place that asks recent customers to leave a review on Google. Many people believe that reviews are not a ranking factor. They may have a few positive reviews in place, but their competitors might have a lot more reviews than you do. How many reviews do you need? That depends on the type of business, the number of reviews from your competitors, the number of keywords in those reviews, and whether you are responding to all of your reviews. Doing all of these things will make a difference in your maps rankings.
To continue improving your local SEO rankings, you might also decide to hire an agency that specializes in local SEO. Choosing the right local SEO agency is an important decision because it can have a positive or negative effect on rankings and traffic. It’s important to find an agency with the experience and knowledge of local SEO and Google’s ongoing changes. Contact Blue Lacy SEO to discuss a personalized strategy that will bring more traffic to your business.