Local search has become increasingly important over the last few years, especially for small local businesses. The local 3-pack search results is an opportunity small local businesses to out rank big businesses working in their area. The latest data from Google show that 20% of searches now include a local qualifier, such as a place-name, and 80% of people regularly research a larger purchase online before buying it locally.
We don’t know exactly how Google’s local search algorithm works, they won’t tell us. However, there are 10 factors we know have a strong influence on the search results.
- Your physical address matches the search location. It’s important to make sure that you address is consistent across your website, social media accounts, and structured citations (directory listings). Use Moz’s local search tool to check how your business appears across the most important citations.
- Use the correct business categories on you Google MyBusiness page. Dont be tempted to add yourself to related but not entirely appropriate categories, just focus on what you do.
- How far your address is from the centre of the search location.
- The domain authority of your website. If you want to check your domain authority install MozBar on your browser. If you want to improve your domain authority you’ll need to do some good SEO work. Optimise your site, start building up links, and give content marketing a go.
- Quantity of structured citations, get your business listed in any relevant reasonable quality directories you can find.
- Having the place-name and county in your title of the front page or landing page will give your site a boost in the local search results.
- Good quality reviews on your Google business listing will help to raise your business in the local results. They also send a great signal to potential customers. Think of ways to encourage you customers to leave you reviews. You can also approach existing customers.
- Quality and authority of citations.
- Local area code on Google MyBusiness listing, a local business should use a local phone number. Don’t be tempted to use a mobile number, if you don’t want a landline try using a VOIP service that can supply local area numbers.
- Schema markup. If you’re not technically minded you may need to ask your web designer to help you with this. For more information on schema markup start go to schema.org.