If you run a brick-and-mortar shop or another form of local business, you should have one major priority when it comes to your online presence — showing up in local business searches. After all, it doesn’t help you much as a Cape Town plumber or bakery if someone in Tshwane finds your business online.
Instead, you want the people who live, work and spend time near your physical location to be able to search and find your business. The rest of this post will explain how you improve your visibility in local business searches. But first, let’s define what a local business search is.
What are local business searches?
Google’s algorithms are designed to give people the most useful and relevant results possible. Just as you don’t want your Sandton business to show up in search results for Port Elizabeth, Google doesn’t want a Sandton searcher to see results for businesses in PE.
So, Google has designed its search algorithm to show local results to searchers based on their location. These results show in multiple ways.
Organic search results
Organic search results are unpaid listings that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) because the website has strong SEO (search engine optimisation).
Paid search results
Paid search results are listings that appear on SERPs as a paid advertisement through search engine marketing.
Google My Business results
Google My Business (GMB) results are featured, rich search results that highlight businesses that have Google My Business pages.
8 ways to start showing up in local business searches
- Create a Google My Business page.
- Optimise your Google My Business page.
- Add your business to relevant business directories.
- Include your business address on your website.
- Make sure your NAP (Name, address, phone number) is accurate across the entire web.
- Optimise your home page’s meta title and description.
- Make sure all other SEO elements are in place.
- Consider launching paid ads.
So, how do you do it?
1. Create a Google My Business page
The first step in showing up in local business searches is creating your Google My Business Page. This, of course, will improve your chances of showing up as a top Google My Business search result. (You must have a verified Google My Business page to show in these results.) It will also help you build your online presence and increase your chances of showing in organic search results.
2. Optimise your Google My Business page
It’s not enough to simply set up your Google My Business page to start showing up in local business searches. To improve the chances that your business will show in the top spots, you need to optimise and regularly update your business page.
- Add photos and make posts from your page.
- Encourage your customers to leave reviewson your page.
- Continue to add FAQs to your Google page.
3. Add your business to relevant business directories
Google My Business isn’t the only local business listing you should create for your brand. Create multiple accounts for your company across other business directories that are both local and international.
Each listing sends signals to Google telling it that your local business is credible and therefore, worth showing as a top search result.
Create business profiles on:
- Any industry-relevant directories
4. Include your business address on your website
Another way to get Google to help your brand start showing up in local business searches is by sending clear signals about where your business is located. Show your business’s physical address on your website by adding it to your footer and on the contact page.
If you have more than one location, create a page with the address for each location. This doesn’t mean you should load up your footer or website with every name of a city or neighbourhood within a 50-kiloemetre radius of your business.
5. Make sure your NAP is accurate across the entire web
As you set up directory accounts and business addresses on your website, it’s extremely important to make sure that the information is consistent and accurate. This information is referred to as your NAP.
- Phone Number
Don’t use different variations of your business name or include your suite number on
some listings but not others.
Keep this information as consistent as possible to increase the chances of your website showing in local business searches.
6. Optimise your home page’s meta title and description
A meta title and description are lines of code that are added to the backend of your website. You use meta tags to tell search engines more about a webpage. You also use them to lead the pages to searchers as this is the information they see when they view your website in local business searches.
Optimise both the meta title and description on your home page to target keywords for your business and the city where you are located.
7. Make sure all other SEO elements are in place
While there are unique tactics to help your website improve its local SEO, you can’t forget about the other SEO elements. Having strong on-site, off-site, and technical SEO is key to getting your brand to show up in local business searches. So, focus on creating search-friendly on-site content, getting links back to your site, and meeting technical SEO requirements to improve your local search rankings.
8. Consider launching paid ads
All of the other tips in this round-up are designed to help you appear more prominently in organic search results and Google My Business placements. But you don’t have to rely on these methods.
If you’re struggling to boost your organic local search visibility, consider launching paid Google ads to get your business closer to the top of local SERPs.
Show up in local business searches and attract more customers
Showing up in local searches should be a top priority if you have a location-based business that relies on bringing in nearby customers. Use these tips to start optimising your online presence and showing up when interested local customers conduct searches related to your business.