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December 28, 2022

What Is Local SEO?

Here's everything you need to know about successfully setting up local SEO and your Google Business Profile to be featured in the map pack.
By Vic

Generally when people refer to local SEO, they are talking specifically about the map pack results. Generally the map pack is a set of 3 businesses that are triggered by specific search queries – generally queries related to location specific services. The profiles that appear here are Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business accounts). From the map pack users can directly message, call, find directions to your business, and even visit your website.

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your online presence to rank higher in local search results on search engines like Google. Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them online. For example, if you own a coffee shop in Melbourne, local SEO can help your business show up in the search results when someone searches for “coffee shop in Melbourne” or “best coffee shops in Melbourne.”

Local SEO is important for businesses of all sizes, but it can be especially beneficial for small businesses that rely on local customers for a significant portion of their revenue. By optimizing your online presence for local search, you can increase the chances that your business will be found by potential customers when they’re searching for products or services like yours in your local area.

 

google map pack

 

 How do you optimise for local SEO?

A website that is well established and is already ranking well in Google for industry specific terms will be expected to do well for local SEO as well. However, there are certain aspects of your online presence that need to be adjusted for you to reach the number 1 position!

Consistent NAPs

NAPs stands for Name Address and Phone Number. By having consistent NAPs across the web – from your website to your GMB, socials and all other listings, Google can be sure that 1) you have a real business and that 2) your business details are correct and accurate.

 

Your Google Business Profile needs a physical location

Unfortunately a physical location is required to succeed in local SEO. Although Google allows you to set a service area for your Google Business Profile, this will significantly decrease your chances of ranking in the map pack. Not only that, but you will not have a marker on Google Maps, which will significantly decrease your online visibility.

It’s important to note that searches close to the proximity of your primary location will be more likely to be served your Google Business Profile in the map pack.

 

 

name address phone number

Google Reviews

Google Reviews are the most important factor for ranking in Google Maps. You will notice that most, if not all of the businesses that rank highly, are businesses that have tons of Google Reviews.
 
Given this is a such an important ranking factor, it’s important to set up some kind of system to consistently acquire new reviews. Google has systems in place to prevent fake / manipulated reviews, however this is still a very common occurrence in the industry.
 
For example, there are companies that sell Google reviews. These are drip fed over a period of weeks to look as natural as possible from established Google accounts. Other companies offer financial incentives for customers to leave reviews.
 
The Google reviews you obtain will be most effective if they include your primary keyword(s). For instance, a coffee shop would do well to obtain reviews that contain the word ‘coffee shop’ or ‘café’.
 
It’s also good to get reviews from other sites such as Product Review, Trust Pilot, Facebook and others. In fact, some search engines such as Bing primary use these other reviews to serve Bing Places businesses.
 
 

How does your primary location affect local SEO results

The Google Map Pack is designed to be as fair as possible to small businesses. Even though large businesses with lots of reviews tend to dominate, location plays the most important role in the results that are served. Searches closest to the location you set in your Google Business Profile will be most likely to encounter your business.

 

google review

How does the primary Google Business Profile category affect local SEO results

The primary category you set for your Google Business Profile is also super important. This will determine what types of searches your Google Business Profile qualifies for. Secondary categories should also be set to maximise the number of clicks.

Can you have multiple Google Business Profiles for different locations

Yes, it’s possible to have multiple Google Business Profiles. Generally they need to be some distance from each other. Creating too many, especially if they are close together, will likely result in some being suspended. Google will also become increasingly suspicious and likely will require more evidence that the Google Business Profiles are legitimate physical locations (such as documents, photos and videos).

Can you use P.O boxes for Google Business Profiles?

No, P.O. boxes can’t be used to create Google Business Profiles.

Can you use co-working spaces and virtual addresses to set up a Google Business Profile?

Yes, Co-working spaces can be used to set up a Google Business Profile. This is actually against Google’s policies, however it still tends to work. You can sign up to a mail forwarding service which will alow you to receive a verification postcard from Google.

Can you set up a Google Business profile in another country?

Yes, Google Business Profiles can be set up in different countries. However, this becomes considerably more difficult. The main thing to consider here, is mail forwarding in the case of post card verification. Sometimes Google will allow you to verify via text message. To be successful, you will need a local phone number.

About the author
Vic
Founder of SEO Summer and SEO shark with proven results in high competition niches. Swears by good content and white hat tactics.
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