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Google Local Optimization

This service can quite literally put you on the map. Google's first page will show local results in the maps section and being present in that section puts you at the top of the first page, places your reviews in plain site and localizes you. Have multiple locations? Even better.

What is Google Local Optimization?

Google Local Optimization is the process of having google recognize your listing as relevant enough to place in their 3 pack.

The Google local portion of the search engine results page has changed over the years. We started off with a 7-pack (a-g) then that was reduced to a 5-pack (a-e) and now we are down to a 3-pack shown below. Sometimes this listing will show a 4th listing that is a paid placement.

The Local 3-Pack

Google's primary mission (aside from revenue generation) is to organize the worlds data. Google wants to ensure that they deliver the most relevant results to searchers. Google does this because it is the only way to ensure people continue to go to them for answers.

While local google optimization is a form of search engine optimization, the factors Google considers are different.

Google Maps Ranking Factors

  • Proximity of the business to the searcher/user
  • Authority of the local business listing based on the number of credible citations that point to back to that listing – as well as consistency between the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of each citation
  • Optimization and completion of the listing itself
  • Number of reviews on the listing
  • Regular updates to the listing such as photos related to the business
  • Inclusion of a Google 360 Business virtual tour

Why is it Important?

Making sure you're present on Google Local is important for a variety of reasons, but we'll offer 2.

1. Google's local 3-pack show at the top of their regular organic listing. This means that they get more attention and more clicks. While it is especially true for desktop searches it goes double for mobile. On a smartphone, many localized searches only show paid ads upon screen-load. You will only see the local 3-pack when you scroll past the first screen of results. Regular organic results are buried below all of that.

So the question is, what's more valuable? Showing up in the regular organic listing or in the local map section.

2. Users pay a lot of attention to the 3-pack results because they can see the location and proximity to them and they can also see the review ratings. The section takes a lot of space, offers a lot of information and for that reason gets a lot of clicks.

These two reasons alone, are reasons to be on top of your Google Local Optimization. There are others...

How to Setup a Google My Business Listing?

It's actually really simple to set one up. The first thing you want to do is head over to the Google My Business page.

Next, you will want to fill out your business information exactly how you would want it to be shown everywhere. This means that if you're ABC Company 'Inc' and you want to be shown with the 'Inc', include it.

Using the same phone number for many locations is tricky when it comes to local optimization because a lot of listings will have that number associated with different addresses. That will confuse Google. Right now they show up, but if another pizza shop opened in liberty they may become invisible.

After you've filled in all of your information accurately, the next page will determine for what searches you will show for

It is here that you can choose how you want to target and if you want your address to show. Keep in mind, that if you do show your address Google does expect you to be able to service customers in person during opening hours.

From here, once you pick 'Continue' you'll be asked to verify if the information is correct or is unique from another address in the system. If you continue from there you'll be asked to verify that you are authorized the manage / create the listing.

Then there's the verification and depending on the industry you'll be given the choice to verify by post card. Of if you're lucky, you can verify by phone call.

Once you're verified there are a number of things you will need to do to optimize those listings. The most important thing to focus on is name, address and phone number (NAP) consistency.

Why is N.A.P the Most Important Factor? 

Image that you’re planning to take your family to a drive-in movie. It takes you some time, but finally the car is packed, chairs, snacks and the kids! You finally get there only to realize the drive-in isn’t there. You’ve actually driven to the wrong address. By the time you figure out where the drive-in actually is it’s too late and the show has already started. You would be frustrated and disappointed with the whole ordeal. This is the worst experience Google could provide you as a user. If they made too many of these mistakes they would lose market share.

That’s why Google will only put results in the map section that have a high probability of actually being there. That is why N.A.P is the most important factor for Google Local Optimization.

Be Consistent

If your business name is Acme and Acme Inc. always write it like that. Even small inconsistencies such as “Acme & Acme Inc” or “Acme and Acme” will cast doubt for Google. After all, one of the first things you had to get right in school was to accurately spell your own name. It’s the same for your business.

Keep in mind that one mistake on one directory can be compounded by other less prominent directory sites scraping and copying that incorrect data. Then, you want to make sure you’re updating your Google My Business page with new pictures (showing you’re fresh and relevant) as well as encouraging customers to leave reviews. You can read more about that in our blog, How to get more Google Reviews.

If you have more questions or need more details for Google Local Optimization fill out our form below or give us a call.

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