Getting started with your digital presence
Seeing how you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re a business owner who, like a lot of business owners, are looking to increase your online visibility or local rankings. You may have already done some research and discovered that Local SEO is likely to help you achieve your goal and you wouldn’t be wrong. Given the vast amount of would-be customers utilising search engines, in particular Google, who dominate the search engine usage by a huge majority. Now is as good a time as ever to make sure your business is as visible as possible for your potential customers searching online.
You may be aware of the benefits of local SEO but have found yourself asking, where do you start when doing local SEO? In this post, we’ll discuss local SEO, in particular what the local Pack is, how being in the local Pack can help your local SEO along with how you can apply some best practices in getting your business into the local Pack for various search queries. We’ll try to answer the title of the post being How to rank your Website on Google to get seen locally? Let’s begin.
What is the Local Pack?
If you’re the type of person who uses search engines then chances are you have come across the local pack in a search whilst having a Google search for goods or services in your area. What you would have likely noticed displayed in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is a listing of 3 local businesses within the niche of which you just searched, after the ads but before the organic search results.
This is the local pack, a list of local businesses which Google shows you along with the following information;
- Business name
- Business Location
- Phone number
- Service offered
- Business Hours
- Google reviews
- Map location pin
According to Backlinko, the search results ranked #1 organically received 31.7% of the traffic. This stands to reason that the remainder of the traffic goes towards the remaining businesses including those displayed in the local pack.
What are the benefits of being in Googles Local Pack?
The obvious benefit of being in Googles local pack would be the visibility for your business locally. When a potential customer searches for a product or service which you provide ideally you want your business to be the one showing up in Google’s algorithms.
If your Business is in the Local Pack your potential customers will be able to benefit from our bullet list above. They’ll be able to see reviews (positive reviews and otherwise), look at your location, check your opening hours and call you straight from the SERP.
If you are somewhat lacking behind on the website department, having a GMB listing and showing up on the local pack is a great place to start with your company’s Digital presence.
How to get your business website in the local pack
So, time for the hard truth (sort of)… There is no surefire way to get your business in the local pack. The fact is, it can be easy for businesses within one industry but much harder for a business in another industry. The same goes for Location, if you are surrounded by competitors, you’ll have a harder time ahead of you than from someone trying to list their business in somewhere more remote.
Much like SEO, all you can do is ensure you follow Googles best practices and, over time, you will likely see results. This being said, you can however take steps to increase your chances of appearing in the Local Pack. In order to do so, you should start by taking the following steps;
1. Create a Google My Business Listing.
Creating a Google My Business Listing is pretty fundamental, an essential first step and generally a good place to start when it comes to increasing your Local SEO. Here, you can edit all the information on your business which will be displayed within the Local Pack. If you don’t yet have a GMB Listing then take a look at our guide on how to create a Google My Business Listing to get started.
2. Optimise your Google My Business Profile
Now that you have your GMB Listing it’s time to optimise it. Generally, you want to fill out every available field with the most up to date and correct information on your business.Google especially look out for information known as the NAP standing for Name, Address & Phone Number pay particular attention to ensuring this is correct for your business.
3. Optimise your Website for local search and mobile devices
Adding Schema markup to your website is great for helping search engines better understand your company and the services you have to offer. Schema is a fairly wide topic so we can get into that another time but to summarise Schema, it is additional code which you can add to your website. This code translates your website into a language take that a search engine such as Google, has an easier time understanding. See here for more detail on Schema.
In addition to adding schema, you should ensure that your website is compatible not only on Desktop, but Mobile and Tablet as well. Google wants to be sending their users to websites where they, not only are getting the correct information, but are going to have a good experience. Seeing how Mobile users are continuing to grow in 2020, your website MUST be mobile friendly in order to be in Google’s good graces.
4. Register to Local Directories
Local Directories are a straightforward, relatively quick way to get your company’s name out there in a Digital sense. You don’t necessarily gain any “link juice” as the majority of links are no- follow, however, provided your businesses NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number) are the same across all Directories, Google will better understand your business as a whole.
Try to pick out directories specific to your niche and ensure you complete as many of the fields as you can, ensuring to keep the NAP consistent across all listings.
5. Gain local links where you can
Links from websites which are local to your business can help in getting your business into the Local Pack and are generally good for Local SEO overall. Just beware, if a website linking back to you has a poor Domain authority you will need to consider whether you want the link in the first place as it could potentially harm your SEO – prevention is better than the cure!
Tip: Consider reaching out to businesses or partners who you have worked with. If you have a good business relationship, you’ll have an easier time acquiring a back link.
I’ve done all this Jordan, I’m still not showing up…
As stated at the start, there is no surefire way to appear in Googles local pack. If you’ve followed all of the steps above and are still not being displayed, consider the following;
- Check the “More Places” tab. If you’re not in the top 3, it’s a good idea to understand where you are. As mentioned earlier, if there are plenty of other businesses competing, you’re going to have a harder time. Start off by confirming that Google is aware of your “place” in the first place by following this step.
- Are your product or services relevant? If Google can’t understand your services then they may not be displaying you when somebody searches a term which you want to appear for. Look at your schema markup to ensure all is as clear as it can be. It’s also worth reviewing your Google My Business listing to see if you have filled it out correctly and included all relevant services.
- Be realistic. If you’re a local business such as a Plumber in Chipping Norton and are wanting to appear in the local pack for a search term such as “Plumber near me” with the searcher being in Oxford, that’s an unrealistic expectation. As mentioned earlier, location along with distance, from your business and the searcher, matters.
That’s not to say that a Plumber in Chipping Norton wouldn’t be able to advertise their services for Oxford, it’s just that going about it this way wouldn’t be the wisest investment in time or money.
Local SEO Summary
As you can see, with this being a small portion of local SEO, local SEO is quite broad but can be very rewarding.
If you have a business website and are looking to appear in the local search results then go ahead and apply the information in this post. If you find that you’re struggling or perhaps just don’t have the time to read all of the information out there let alone apply it, feel free to get in touch, we’ll be happy to hear from you.