Google Local SEO StrategyThe following article appeared in LinkedIn as one of Bipper Media’s featured articles and discusses the core strategy we follow about local SEO – the process of driving clients into the top search results of Google’s front page map listings.  

Written by Bobby Holland, Owner / Founder of Bipper Media.

—————

Back in the day, when “Google My Business” was actually divided into Google Places and Google+ Business Pages, it was nearly impossible to pin down a systematic approach to local SEO.

And what I mean by “local SEO” is… the process of getting your business ranked in what’s called the 7-pack, 3-pack, and now even a 2-pack or 4-pack, of the Google local search results. You know, the A thru G (7 pack) rankings you see at the top of Google local search results.

Also read:  3 Keys To Reaching #1 in Google Local Search Results

But thankfully, Google has come a long ways in cleaning up their local platform by combining Google Places and Google Plus Pages into what is now called “Google My Business”.

And even as early as last weekend with Google’s Penguin 3.0 update, Google has continued to refine and optimize the way businesses get ranked in the local search results.

Because of these recent consolidations of platforms and algorithm updates, a systematic approach to local SEO is now more possible than ever!

Below I’d like to share with you 6 areas of local SEO – techniques if you will – that are common across all the campaigns we manage for our clients and that have produced the greatest results in driving Google business pages into the top local search results.

These are not ranked in any order of relevance or importance – all 6 are present in every one of our local SEO campaign efforts:

#1: NAP matching the verified Google Business Page

When you verify your Google business page, you are required to have a business name (N), business address (A), and phone number (P), matching this to the NAP published on your business website is critically important.

#2: Consistency of Citations

A citation is an NAP that’s published on the web outside of your business website. For example, if your business is listed in the Yahoo Business Directory, the NAP for your business is what’s called a citation. It’s important to make sure that all NAP citations published across the web are consistent with the NAP listed on your verified Google business page. I often refer to the collection of citations as the “citation portfolio”.

#3: The Authority / Quality Of Your Citation Portfolio

As I mentioned, your citation portfolio is the collective whole of all citations (NAP) listings for your business, and its important to remember that not all citations are created equal. A citation in the Yahoo Business Directory will carry more weight than a citation in a new, relatively unknown business directory. And a citation from highly authoritative and localized (regional) citation could carry even more authority than Yahoo Business Directory. The goal should be to build citations in the most authoritative sites as possible. This applies also to regional or local directories – those that are designed specifically for your business and business category.

#4: Your Business NAP Listed In Your Target City

For example, if your business if physically in Marietta, Georgia – a suburb of Atlanta – then you cannot expect to appear in the local search results for Atlanta targeted search phrases. Your Google business page will only appear in the local search results for the city within which your business page is verified. There are some exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, know that the city where your business is located is where you’ll see the most production from Google local search results.

#5: Proper Category Targeting

Back in the days of Google Places, you used to be able to add custom categories to your local business listing. But those days are long gone. Now, you are confined to the categories that Google allows you to choose from. So you have to choose the business category that most closely represents your business. In my experience, once you’ve defined upwards of 5 or 6 categories, you’ve pretty much covered the most relevant categories for your business. So to give it a target, try to identify at 5 business categories as you build out your Google business page. In some cases, again depending on your business, even 5 would be a stretch.

The most important, and most relevant business category SHOULD BE the first category listed in your Google business page.

#6: Business Category Mentioned in Business Name / Title

It used to be something I was afraid to do, but listing your business category in the name of your business – or the title of your Google business page – can carry a substantial amount of weight when it comes to ranking in the top local search results in Google.

The technique I like to use when building a new Google business page, or when optimizing an existing business page, is as follows:

{Business Name (or brand name) + Business Category Name}

For example, if I’m a CPA in Tampa, Florida and my business name is “Bobby’s Tax Services”, then my Google business page name (or title) might look like this:

Bobby’s Tax Services, Accountant

The first part is the name of the business and the second is the category that defines my business.

So there you have it, my 6 pillars of local SEO.

I’d be interested to hear of some other techniques you’ve implemented effectively in your local SEO campaigns!

Grow your business with digital media & SEO

Call Bipper Media today: 706-363-0335