You probably used a local search in the last 24 hours? Find pizza near me. Directions to Target. And, as a business owner, you want to be visible to potential customers in your local area. By optimizing your website and online presence for local search, you can increase your visibility on Google and attract more customers to your business. In this article, I will discuss the importance of local SEO, the benefits of using Google and Apple Maps and how to optimize your business for listings.
Introduction to Local SEO
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website and online presence to rank higher in search engine results for local queries. When someone searches for a product or service in their local area, search engines like Google and Bing use a variety of factors to determine which businesses to display in the search results. These factors include the relevance and quality of the website’s content, the authority of the website in its industry, and the location of the searcher.
The Importance of Local SEO for Businesses
Local SEO is important for businesses of all sizes, but it is especially critical for businesses that require a physical footprint. For example, eCommerce companies with warehouses in Des Moines, Iowa, probably not as important for. However, businesses with local installations have a higher need.
According to a study by Google, 46% of all searches have a local intent. This means that nearly half of all searches are looking for a nearby business or service. If your business is not optimized for local search, you are missing out on a significant number of potential customers.
Additionally, local SEO can help you compete with larger businesses in your area. By focusing on local search, you can target customers who are specifically looking for businesses like yours in their local area. This means that you can reach potential customers who may not have found you through traditional advertising or marketing methods.
Google My Business and Apple Business Maps
Google My Business and Apple Business Maps are two of the most popular mapping services used by consumers today. Both services provide users with directions, business information, and reviews. However, they differ in their approach to local SEO.
Google My Business is a free service that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps. By claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing, you can ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date, and you can also respond to customer reviews and questions. GMB also allows you to run ads based on the listings you have, by linking to your ad account.
Apple Maps Business is also a free service that allows businesses to manage their listings on Apple Maps. By claiming and verifying your Apple Maps Business listing, you can ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date, and you can also respond to customer reviews and questions. Apple also shares its listings with Yelp. If you have a Yelp listing, it is important to ensure that your information is accurate and up-to-date, and to encourage customers to leave reviews on Yelp.
How to Optimize Your Business for Google My Business Listings
Where do you start? If you don’t already have a listing, create one.
If you do have one, you should start by claiming and verifying your listing. This can be done through the Google My Business website. Once your listing is verified, you can update your business information, including your address, phone number, website, and hours of operation. Also be sure to add photos and include attributes of your business to fully complete your profile.
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Tips for Getting More Reviews
One of the most important aspects of Google My Business optimization is getting more reviews. Reviews are an important factor in local search ranking, and businesses with more positive reviews are more likely to rank higher in search results. To get more reviews, you can ask your customers to leave a review on your Google My Business listing after they have visited your location.
When asking for a customer review, make it easy. Be sure to give provide a direct link to your Google My Business listing in your communications. You can ask customers for their email address and send them a follow-up email after their visit, asking them to leave a review. Have SMS opt-ins? Text your customers after their appointment with the link to your location for a review.
Another way to get more reviews is to respond to existing reviews. When you respond to a review, it shows that you care about your customers and their feedback, and it can also encourage other customers to leave a review.
Benefits of Using Apple Business Maps for Local SEO
While Google Maps is still the dominant player in the local search space, there are some benefits to using Apple Business Maps for local SEO. I see this as an AND play, versus an either or. One of the biggest benefits is the ability to reach Apple users. Apple Maps is the default mapping service on all Apple devices, which means that millions of people use it every day.
Another benefit of using Apple Business Maps is the integration with Yelp. As I mentioned earlier, Yelp reviews and ratings are displayed on Apple Maps, which can help you attract more customers and improve your local search ranking.
How to Measure the Success of Your Local SEO Strategy
Once you have optimized your business for local SEO, it is important to measure the success of your strategy. One way to do this is by tracking your search engine rankings for relevant keywords. You can use tools like Google Search Console or SEMrush to monitor your rankings over time.
To specifically measure the success of your local SEO strategy, track your website traffic, calls, and get directions interactions from your listings. Use UTM parameters to track visits from your GMB listings to your website, so you can see the source as GMB. If you see an increase in traffic and leads from local search, it is a good indication that your strategy is working.
Best Practices for Local SEO
To get the most out of your local maps SEO strategy, there are some best practices to follow. First, ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date on all mapping services. This includes your business name, address, phone number, website, and hours of operation.
Second, focus on getting more reviews on all mapping services. Positive reviews can help improve your local search ranking and attract more customers.
Finally, make sure that your website is optimized for local search. This includes optimizing your content for local keywords, creating location-specific landing pages, and including your business information on your website.
Need help managing your locations? Below is a list of platforms that can help you manage your listings, reviews and more!
- Google My Business – Go direct! Depending on your volume, you may not need a platform. GMB makes it easy to create and update your business profiles.
- SEMRush – SEMRush is a leading online visibility management SaaS platform that enables businesses globally to run SEO, Local SEO, paid ads, and conduct competitive research.
- Yext – Yext is for more large scale enterprise clients. They manage your Listings, Pages, Reviews, and Search.
- BirdEye – BirdEye is for more small to medium businesses. Birdeye’s all-in-one platform to effortlessly manage online reputation, connect with prospects through digital channels, and gain customer reviews.
- Reputation – Reputation is very well, brand reputation focused. Their platform combines both solicited and unsolicited feedback data into insights. They also manage listings, local pages, social and more. This is another good fit for small to medium sized businesses.
- SOCi – SOCi is the marketing platform for multi-location brands, where it connects listings, local pages, reviews and social together. It’s a good fit for small to medium sized businesses.
- BrightLocal – BrightLocal is a good solution for small businesses focused specifically on Local SEO. Its powerful local SEO tools and reports allow agencies and brands to improve local rankings and manage reviews/reputation.
Local SEO is critical for businesses that want to attract more customers in their local area. By optimizing your website and online presence for local search, you can improve your visibility in search engine results and attract more customers to your business. By using Apple Business Maps and optimizing your Google My Business listing, you can reach more customers and improve your local search ranking. Remember to focus on getting more positive reviews and tracking the success of your strategy over time. With these tips and best practices, you can boost your local SEO and reach more customers in your local area.
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