In the third episode of our I’ve Heard That podcast on the Hurrdat Media Network, host Meghan Trapp sits down with SEO Director Ross Allen and Local Search Manager Alexi English to talk about all things local search, including how businesses can optimize their local business listings for a stronger online presence.
What is local search optimization?
English: Local search is a type of search engine optimization (SEO), and the goal is to increase a business’ visibility for relevant searches related to services your business offers and searches with local intent.
Allen: It’s kind of symbiotic with the on-site website optimization that I do with SEO. Local search is kind of an extension, though it lives by itself. Having a well-optimized website actually helps Google My Business profiles appear higher in the searches. Making sure everything is optimized as much as it can be on the actual website itself will play into the hands of Google My Business and make sure the visibility is there.
What are some of the features and attributes someone can use to optimize a Google My Business profile?
English: Reviews are really important, and not just for ranking, but for converting, too. I know for me, when I’m looking for a nail salon, I immediately go to the reviews, and I don’t just look at the stars. I look at how many reviews there are. And that’s something you can control. You can ask your customers for reviews.
Allen: Even if there is a negative review, it’s an opportunity to communicate with that customer. Just by doing that and seeing that you’re paying attention and that you do care about that review, it can also count as a positive, even though it’s a negative. If I read a review and I see that it’s negative, but that company has tried to respond to that review and resolve it as quickly as possible, that to me is a plus.
How does a business optimize for local search on their site?
Allen: It’s making sure that the information is the same, and it’s correct. The address is the same. The opening hours are the same. Where we can go above and beyond with on-site optimization is by writing some hyperlocal content that will highlight the locality of the business. Yes, we have the address information there, and we’ve got the phone number and everything else that is stationary for that business. It’s black and white. It’s there. But what you can do is embellish upon that by writing some content that pulls out some landmarks and some features and some really hyperlocal content that pinpoints it in the locality. Search engines can come along and say, “There’s the address, and there’s that landmark. There’s that feature. They’re absolutely there.” That can really help the business in local search.
What’s your top advice when optimizing for local search?
English: Make sure your Google My Business profile is complete. I drive this in so much, but your business category is so important. A lot of times I’ll notice a business we work with will have categories that don’t relate to them at all, and that can be a negative. A category is huge, but so is making sure your profile is complete.
Allen: Name, address, and phone number. Making sure that’s the same everywhere. Consistency is key. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are the same.
English: It’s also a bad experience for potential customers. If I call the wrong phone number, I’m going to be annoyed. Or if your hours are wrong, I’m going to be annoyed.