Three organic search opportunities for your local business

30 second summary:

  • Due to the pandemic-induced shopping trends, many local businesses have had to explore online marketing opportunities
  • Google has some great ways for a local business to be found through organic search
  • Local 3 Pack is Google’s search element that contains the top three local businesses based on your search query.
  • To rank in the Local 3 Pack, you need to make sure your Google My Business listing is complete and active
  • Third-party local business listings (like Yelp and Tripadvisor) can also increase visibility in organic search, so it’s a good idea to claim your business there
  • Hyperlocal content can help get your business discovered by people who haven’t even looked for a local product or service. Therefore, create relevant content on a regular basis.

Local marketing has become even more of a trending topic after the pandemic-related pandemic.

Many local businesses that previously relied on local pedestrian traffic were forced to use the internet to be found by customers.

This digital transformation presented almost every local business with this major challenge – how to be found online.

Step 1: Claim your company profile in Google My Business

Google offers local businesses tremendous visibility in organic search through the so-called Local 3 Pack, which is displayed above the organic results when the search intent reflects the purchase (or local action).

Local 3-Pack is Google’s search element that contains three relevant companies from the Google Maps results:

Image source: Screenshot by the author

Ranking your company in the Local 3 Pack is not an easy task. It depends heavily on the proximity of these companies to the customer’s current location.

However, there are a few things you can do to improve your local ranking:

  • Make sure you have a detailed (and original) description of your company and what you do.
  • Add your website (often Google would pull text from its website and rate a company based on that content). There are some great ones too Plugins This is how you can embed your local listing on your website for better visibility.
  • Upload pictures and videos of your office and team
  • Add your products and services (note: services are not believed make a big (or one) impact on your local rankings, but why not add them anyway)
  • Your business categories. Keep these categories as relevant as possible can harm Your local rankings

Image source: Screenshot by the author

Most importantly, keep an eye on your Google reviews

Business reviews are known to be critical to your local (and therefore local 3-pack) rankings. So keep an eye on your reviews and respond to all of them.

Note that Google can remove your rating if they discover that you used manipulative or misleading tactics in getting these reviews, for example:

  • If this rating is repeated in other company profiles on other websites (which, by the way, can be quite natural … I’ll be the one to admit that I may leave my favorite company the same rating on some of the platforms I’m registered on. But here too I think we’re talking about suspicious patterns rather than isolated cases.)
  • When you’ve had a massive influx of reviews overnight
  • When Google suspects that you and your team are reviewing your company and pretending to be customers.

While you may find that your competitors use these manipulative tactics with no apparent negative impact on their rankings, I would still suggest avoiding them at all costs.

You can invite your customers to rate your business on Google by adding a Short URL that is specific to your local business (and even note this on your business card). However, you are not allowed to request positive (five-star) reviews or segment your customer base to invite only satisfied customers to rate you.

If you are on a budget, invest in Ads on Google Maps is also a great idea. This could bring in more customers and reviews.

Step 2: Claim your company profile anywhere

While claiming your business is generally a good idea to gain greater control over your branded content, it also gives you extra organic exposure as these listings can rank in organic search results and bring additional exposure.

Hence, your next step is to identify key local directories (like Trip Advisor and Yelp) and claim your business everywhere.

Here is a huge list of which you can consider.

Image source: The Ultimate Free US Business Directory List – Updated 2020

Just about every local business out there, for example, needs to ensure a strong Yelp presence so that one is always high on their list. Yelp Marketing Is Difficult, But If You Get Reviews There, there is a way to display it these reviews on your website to increase your conversions.

When you put your company on maps …

  • Make sure your company name and address are consistent across all channels, including the phone number format
  • Fill in all available fields and use all available characters! More content usually means higher rankings for your listings!
  • Monitor your listings for reviews, add updates, and make sure your information is up to date!

Step 3: develop a hyper-local content strategy

Much like pedestrian traffic works for a local business (passers-by may visit a store out of curiosity), a well-planned content marketing strategy can attract customers who never wanted to buy or didn’t know they needed you.

  • Describe (location-related) problems that your company solves. For example, a Seattle hairdresser publishes an article on haircuts that work well in windy or rainy climates.
  • Fix some common issues in your area. These work best when tuned to a specific seasonal trend. For example, an Albany bakery publishes a checklist of groceries to keep at home in preparation for a snow storm.

Here are a few ideas for hyper-local content:

  • Ideas for local vacations and where your business can help
  • Local events and how your brand participates
  • Local partnerships such as local charities

Note local People ask too Results because these are great sources for hyper-local content.

Image source: Screenshot by the author

In general, answering local questions is a good idea!

Let’s look at this search query: “How far is Central Park from Times Square?

People looking for it may not necessarily want to buy something, but there are still a few options here as your content can give them ideas about where to eat or where to stay.

Image source: Screenshot by the author

The beauty of hyperlocal content marketing is that your customers don’t have to be around to find your content: they may be planning a trip to your area and discovering your business before they go. This is something that local map placement cannot help with.

Using semantic search is another great way to come up with hyper-local content ideas as it helps you identify location-based keywords that are capable of generating organic traffic. Here is how Semantic search works:

Image source: Screenshot by the author

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Organic search offers numerous opportunities for local businesses to generate traffic and be found by customers. Keep an eye on your local listings and keep creating hyper-local content to generate relevant traffic for your local business. Much luck!

Ann Smarty is the founder of Viral Content Bee, brand and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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