If you own a business, there's no question that you should have an SEO strategy in place in order to get your business website ranking on the first page of Google for your chosen keywords.
But if you've paid attention to your Google results, you might have noticed the map that appears at the top of the search listings whenever you search for something location-based (e.g. SEO agency Melbourne). These are the Google Local Listings (also known as Google My Business).
For the simple fact that people tend not to want to spend too much time searching for information (and hence may not bother to scroll down the page, nevermind click past the first page of search results), your goal should be to get your business website listed as close to the top of the first page of Google for each of your keyword phrases. That means being one of the 3 websites that comes up on the map on the first page for Google Local Listings.
Here's what you need to know about Google Local Listings.
Google Local Listing Results Can Vary Depending On Your Location
Just like with the normal organic search results, Google Local Listing results may vary depending on where you're located. For example, when you search for "SEO services Melbourne" while in Melbourne, you may see 3 different businesses listed under the map on the first page of Google than your friend in Sydney who searches for the exact same phrase.
To remedy this issue, make sure that you set a specific geolocation while tracking your keywords. This will show you the true keyword rankings, including the local listing rankings, for your chosen location no matter where you are searching from. If you've hired an SEO agency, they should have already set this up in whatever rank tracking software they're using (we at Captivate Digital use SEMrush).
Local Businesses Sharing The Same Address May Not Be As Visible
As per the Possum update on September 1, local businesses with the same street address may not be visible in Google search results. Google is always attempting to filter out duplicate content, and now when it detects multiple businesses using the same address, it will attempt to filter out all but one.
What can you do to ensure your business is the one that shows up on Google? Preferably, you should use a unique address for your business - but if that's not possible, you need to ensure your Google My Business profile stands out enough to be the chosen one (more on that below).
Make Sure You Completely Fill Out Your Google My Business Profile
First off, make sure your business has a Google My Business profile. If it doesn't, well, that's why you're not showing up on Google Maps, nevermind the local pack results on Google searches!
If you've got one, great - now make sure it's filled out completely. Ensure the address on it exactly matches the address noted on your business website. Upload several high quality photos that will entice users to click onto your website or contact you straight from the local listing. And perhaps most importantly, get your customers to leave you reviews on Google. Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor reviews are great, but you'd better believe Google values reviews left on its own platform more than it values reviews left elsewhere.
You Can No Longer Add Keywords To Your Google My Business Profile
Up until recently, you were able to add a description of your business to your Google My Business profile as well as a list of keywords related to your business - both of which you could optimise in order to boost your organic search rankings.
As of now, you are no longer able to optimise your profile. However, Google says that "soon" you'll be able to edit more attributes - no word on when this will be a reality, nor which attributes will be editable.