Is it really necessary to do local SEO? Isn’t it enough that my product is good and my brand is known in the offline world?
While this is something that plays very much in your favor and that will pave the way for you, you should know that on the Internet it is not enough to offer something good; if you do not have an SEO strategy behind you that will take you to the first page you will be losing many customers.
Although many users (and potential customers) do not even know it, Google offers geolocated results for many searches and, in addition to all the efforts related to SEO that can be made, it is necessary to complete them with these two points that follow if we want to stand out from our neighbors and competitors.
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Google My Business
If you do not know this platform yet, it will soon sound much more familiar to you: Google My Business is a tool or platform launched by Google with the intention of making more accessible the positioning of local businesses in the search results listings offered by this search engine. This positioning is closely linked to geolocation, in fact, one of the main panels and the one that is most recognized, is the panel that shows a map that allows users to locate themselves and receive directions on how to get to the place they have searched for.
This is the most important point and why we must register on this platform. Without a Google My Business listing we will not appear on Google Maps nor will we be shown in the maps module of Google search results, nor will we be associated with geolocated searches. It is completely necessary that you register in this platform.
In order to have your listing, you simply have to download the Google My Business application or register on the web and fill it in with your data.
But be careful, do it following these recommendations so that nothing is missing in your local listing:
- Fill in the name of your business. Here put the name of your business, just that, do not try to put keywords, as this is not a positioning factor.
- Enter the address. If your business has one, in case you work from home or provide a home-based service without an office or a physical location, enter your home address and check the box indicating that you provide goods and services, after which it will let you hide the home address you have entered.
- Mark the location of your premises on the map. You will see a map with a marker, on which you will have to place, in case it is not well located, the exact point where your business is located.
- Choose a category for your business. Write a category in which you think your business fits, Google will give you suggestions and you can decide which one best fits your type of business. If you have doubts about the category, you can go to the Google My Business listing of one of your competitors and take a look at the category they have chosen.
- Add your phone number and website. Although it is optional, I highly recommend it, since the call button on the Google My Business listing produces a lot of conversions, as well as the “visit website” button attracts a lot of traffic to our website.
After completing these steps, all that remains is to wait for Google’s verification, which can be by a letter sent to your address or a call, among other methods.
Once verified, there are a few things we can continue to do to optimize our listing:
- Add photos, and try to describe them as well as possible in their title.
- Add more categories related to your industry.
- Add your schedules.
- Add in the descriptions the services you offer.
- Make publications with the offers you have active and with all those things relevant to your business.
Some recommendations for the maintenance of your Google My Business listing:
- Reviews: getting good reviews is key for the positioning of your business listing, and this is key. My recommendation: get them organically whenever you can, ask your customers to leave you a small comment, believe me it’s worth it.
- Comments: Comments linked to reviews that customers will leave you will not always be good, and the more volume of customers you have referred by Google, the more chance you have of negative comments. It is very important that you respond to negative comments (as well as positive ones) in a proper, professional way that takes care of your reputation, since the way you treat your customers is becoming more and more important every day, and a bad response to a negative comment can mean that it will be seen by thousands of people who are interested in what you offer.
- Publications: Create Google My Business posts to keep your customers updated. These publications do not have to be very long, they can occupy not much more than a tweet, and they will be very useful to refresh your information, communicate offers, news, curiosities or publish some content that can help you to attract traffic in an organic, easy and free way.
- Photos: Upload photos. This is something that attracts a lot of traffic to your Google listing. But put the appropriate titles to the photos so that Google can understand what the photo is about and can show them to all those who are interested in what is related to the photo. In the statistics of your My Business listing you will also see the comparison between the photos you have and those of your competitors, which will tell you roughly, where the shots are going.
Linkbuilding for local SEO
Linkbuilding, both in local SEO and SEO in general, is extremely important. It is Google’s way of measuring the authority of our site, and it is a key indicator for the positioning of our site.
In the case of local SEO, linkbuilding should be a little more focused on local terrain, and the links we get should serve not only to acquire authority of the domain that links us, but also to attract customers organically, so it is important that we link to sites of a topic related to our industry.
To get links we can search for those portals, blogs, businesses and influencers that are directly or indirectly related (that sell or promote products or services complementary to those we have), contact them and propose a collaboration in exchange for a post on their blog, a mention of our site, or anything that will help us to attract customers and that, ideally, we link to our website to transfer us that authority that will come in handy. We will not always be able to get these mentions and links for free, so we will have to negotiate many times what we offer in exchange for such a mention. This is an expense that you will have to assume and that is highly recommended.
We can also make an analysis of the links that our competitors have. The links that the competition has can be of many types, and it is possible that they link to sites that for you do not make sense or do not go according to your business, so you should do a cleaning and stay with those sites that can be useful to you.
In order to surpass our competitors we must not limit ourselves to imitate what they are doing well, but we must also improve them and do what they have not even considered doing yet.
Remember that linkbuilding is an SEO strategy that has to be carried carefully, and if Google understands that the links are not being obtained with an apparent “naturalness”, it may penalize you, so once you have listed the sites that interest you to get links, what I recommend is that you contact the sites in question, ask or try to get the links in a “natural” way (contacting the webmaster or the blog owner and asking if they could publish an article or refer you in any way they consider) and when you know which sites are willing, distribute in a logical way and that appears natural to Google, the dates on which links to your site will be published, always going from less to more.
There are portals for buying and selling links, but honestly, I do not recommend them very much. Keep in mind that we are talking about your business, and Google is perfectly capable of knowing which blogs and which websites are selling their links through portals destined to this business, and since it goes against their guidelines, if at some point they decide to start penalizing those sites that receive purchased links, your business will be the one who will be hurt.
If you look for it, you will probably find someone recommending you to go to link portals to get yours, but these recommendations will come mostly from people who are dedicated to niches, and that make blogs to monetize them and that their business is not supported by a single web page. Making use of this strategy, will make your website, if it meets the technical requirements, climb fast (not always) positions in Google, but it can also lead you to a future penalty that will bring you headaches and a costly and difficult comeback.
Final recommendations about local SEO
Don’t look for speed. SEO is an effective strategy, but it is linked to the medium/long term, and wanting to rush in search of results can sometimes mean bad practices that Google could potentially detect and ruin our work, money and our source of income and that of all those who depend on it (to the extent that a large part of your income comes from customers referred from the Internet).
Value the time/benefit ratio. This is something we have to apply to everything, not just SEO. If you are in charge of your entire business, you may not have time to dedicate to all these actions to be implemented to make your business stand out, and although it will bring you a great benefit in the long term, you may not have the necessary time, so my recommendation is that you value the possibility of entrusting this task to specialists who are dedicated to it, as you will save time, effort and will be actions taken from a broader experience.