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Local Search & SEO: What Are Local Listings And Why Do You Need Them?

Picture this– A problem arises and a prospective customer is on the hunt for a local company to help them resolve the issue fast. This problem could be a burst pipe, a faulty air conditioner, a botched DIY haircut, or just about anything else. The common denominator? These issues require the expertise of local professionals. But how will these people find the help they need? The short answer is local search.

Typically when someone is looking for immediate assistance, they’ll turn to directories like Google My Business (now called the Google Business Profile), Yelp, the local Chamber of Commerce, or even popular social media platforms like Facebook. Then, they’re going to start perusing reviews and looking for the best service provider to fill their needs. 

The key to appearing in their search results and closing sales are claiming and optimizing your local listings

What is Local SEO?

Before we delve into the science of local listings, let’s talk more about local SEO and why it’s important to your online marketing strategy. You’ve probably already heard of search engine optimization (SEO) which is used to help websites rank at the top of organic search results pages (SERP) through the process of publishing expert-level content. Google measures certain core vitals to determine who is a subject matter expert and then recommends good websites to internet users. Local search is similar, but it has key differences as well.

Google knows that some people are just searching for information, so in some cases, it provides high-value information from institutions that are far away. However, some users are looking for service providers, in which case Google populates recommendations based on proximity. 

For example, if you search for “recipes”, you’ll likely be redirected to Allrecipes.com which is headquartered in Seattle, WA. While this is incredibly far away from Texas, it doesn’t matter because the search query implies that the user intends to make the food themselves.

However, if you search the term “restaurants”, Google will populate a map with local results under the assumption that you’ll need to travel to the restaurant to enjoy their food. People looking for highly specific results may even expand their search query to something like “restaurants near me” or “restaurants in ______”. As a service-based company, you’ll likely fall under this category, making local search marketing an essential part of your success. 

How to Rank Using Local Search?

The first thing you must do to rank in the map pack is claim all of your listings. Generally, you’ll start with your Google Business Profile, Yelp, and Apple Maps listings. You’ll need to claim the listing and ensure all of the information is correct. Once that’s done you can expand to other directories. But before we get ahead of ourselves, you’re probably wondering what it takes to craft a winning local listing. Well, here are Rise Local’s 7 steps for ranking higher on GMB. 

  1. Use your actual business name. You’ve probably been told to use keywords in the past so it’s easier for people to find you, but in this case– that’s not great advice. Your business name needs to be accurate so people can find you easily and consistently. 
  2. Correct errors. You may have a business profile on directories and navigation applications, even if you didn’t make one. Unfortunately, when this happens there may be incorrect contact information, making it difficult for potential customers to contact you. Make sure your address, phone number, and website are all accurate to maximize online visibility.
  3. Don’t leave out the details. Perfecting your local listings goes beyond fixing errors. Make sure you fill out everything. Potential buyers should be able to see your business name, category, owner descriptors if they apply (ex. Veteran-owned business, black-owned business, LGBT-owned business, etc.), your location, phone number, URL, and updated hours. 
  4. Write good copy. Your business description may need to be concise, but that doesn’t mean it has to be less interesting or informational. Make it clear what you have to offer so you only get consultation requests from the people you want to work with.
  5. Think local. If you’re providing a local service you need to signal to Google where you operate so they can recommend your business to the right people. That’s why Rise Local encourages all of our clients to list a local address and a local phone number on their Google business listing. 
  6. Get visual. Add high-quality images of your business, staff members, wrapped vehicles, logo, and anything else that helps buyers know what to expect when they work or shop with you. 
  7. Encourage reviews. One of the best ongoing things you can do to build your company’s reputation is to encourage past customers to write reviews about your services. People are more likely to buy from a business that other people like and trust. It also signals to Google that you have a standup business and it’ll be more likely to rank you high in the local map pack. 

Dallas Local Search Experts

Rise Local is a trusted local search agency with several years of combined experience. Our leaders have been helping businesses grow through local listings and reputation management since the Yellow Pages days. Businesses at the top of the map pack generate the most clicks and we can help you earn your spot in the top 3. We are an agency with offices in Dallas-Fort Worth and an office in Houston so we can better assist local businesses across Texas in their effort to take over the top spot on organic search results pages. Interested? Contact us today and set up a free initial consultation.

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