We get so many questions from local businesses about digital marketing, and specifically about "that info box that appears when someone Googles my business," that we thought we'd share one of our favorite local search tips.
For your business to appear in Google's results, you should understand the search engine has formulated its local search feature to deliver the most useful results based a cocktail of its own algorithms, public opinion (reviews), pay-per-click/digital advertising, a site's strength, its SEO and more.
To be clear, the G-machine's level of insight is as sharp as ever. It understands that searchers like you and me expect to find things relevant to our location. Google is an expert at identifying the intent of our searches, which gives marketers an amazing opportunity to speak directly to a consumer's particular need. It's up to marketers, then, to take advantage of Google's robust search abilities and by building better communications and marketing plans that specifically segment for demographics, geographics and economics.
Of course, a business can spend money to expand its reach, but there are other things that can be done to get your marketing headed down a more influential path and be found by local searchers. When searches are made with local intent, Google shows what is called a local pack. The local pack shows up when searchers add "near me," or "in blank city" to their search inquiry. It also appears whenever it's apparent that the searcher is looking for a local business. Being one of the 3 or 4 business included the local pack is dream come true for many local marketers because it's a lead-source. Appearing in the local pack puts a business in front of consumers at-a-glance, giving them an immediate answer to their question and setting them off on a buying journey.
Ranking factors for the local pack include proximity, traffic to your location, reviews, images and more. However, the only way to show up in the local pack is if you have a Google My Business (GMB) listing. This is a free Google item your business must claim and optimize. A business must also take the responsibility to monitor its listing, regularly update it and review the metrics. This is highly important for several reasons, but also because GMB listings often fuel the knowledge panel, an additional Google feature businesses should claim. As a side note, the knowledge panel is the box that shows up on the right-hand side (or center on mobile) that contains information about your business location or brand and is another important piece to local SEO.
If you want to understand the results generated by your GMB listing, you need to know that Google groups all Google My Business traffic in analytics category called, "organic: Google." You might even want to set up a UTM URL so you can see all the traffic that comes from Google My Business. (We can help with that.)
The good news is there's six more things you can work on to manage your Google presence and improve your local marketing efforts. More good news: we cover them during our local marketing Lunch and Learn events. Our next event is at 11 a.m. Aug. 22. Please sign up by Aug. 15 if you're interested in joining us. If that date doesn't work for you (or has passed), be sure to watch our events page for other learning events. And, yes, we'll feed you.
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