Google is the 800 pound gorilla of search, reigning supreme over Yahoo and Bing.
It’s where the majority of consumers start a search for a local service they need.
Once there, over 98 percent of people will choose a business on page one of the search results they receive.
In our jungle of information, people want to be able to find what they need quickly and easily.
There are only 3 spots in the Google's map listings and only 10 listings underneath those, and the competition for these top spots is always on.
Reaching them requires businesses to build a better online presence than their competitors. And to be the best, you need to prove you're the best in the business.
Doing this means implementing a handful of basic factors on and off of your website that will make Google love your website, and more likely to reward it for it's influence.
With these factors in place, you can be found more easily by potential customers and turn more of them into buyers.
Here is where to start.
How to Make Your Website Appear Directly Where Customers Are Searching in Google
1.) Acquire Natural Links of High Quality
If you weren't sure, backlinks are links that point back to other websites.
These links influence where a site shows up in search results, and how easily it can be bumped out of place by competitors. Google uses them as one of the most important factors when determining how relevant, authoritative and trustworthy a website is.
Google's primary purpose is to provide searchers with the best user experience possible.
That means certain factors need to be in place in that determine what makes a site the best result for the topic of search. This is why links play an important role in ranking highly for keywords during search.
Each link to your website is noted by search engines and is stored in it's very own link profile. The best kind to get for local search come from other local websites and those in the same industry.
While you can spend time building more backlinks, it's earlier to find out which ones your competitors have and replicate then them.
Sometimes it will be possible. Other times it won't.
Some links will cost a monthly or yearly fee. But others will be free.
In most cases, you can visit the same websites and either build your own link, or request one.
The important thing is that you're consistently earning high-quality links.
2.) Apply On-Site Optimization
On-site optimization simply means structuring a website in a way that makes it easy and obvious for visitors and search engines alike to know what it's about.
Doing this includes:
3.) Maximize Your Google Business Listing (GMB)
If there's only one thing you ever do to optimize your business for local search, it should be building out your Google business/maps listing.
By 'building out', I mean:
4.) List Your Business on Popular Web Directories
When it comes to earning a higher position in the maps section, your Google business listing may need some backup.
Aside from fully optimizing your listing as mentioned earlier, you may need to build more citations, which are mentions of your business on other websites like Yellow Pages, Angie's List and more.
Primarily, though, it's the mentioning of a company's name, address and phone number.
Seeing as a vast majority of businesses have their information listed on these third-party sites, it now looks weird to not do the same if you're legitimate.
There are hundreds of directories you can list your company on, but you should really focus on the biggest ones like Yelp. Check out the top citation sources to see all of them.
If you haven't yet made it to one of the three spots in Google maps, you may want to build some more citations.
5.) Grow Your Google Reviews
While reviews are becoming more important as the days go by, they are not a direct factor that influences whether or not a business ranks in a top position in the map listings.
But you can't deny how important they are to have when such a large percentage of people now trust them as much as a personal recommendation, which influences their buying decisions.
On top of that though, competitors are almost guaranteed to have online reviews on either Facebook, Google, Yelp, or even all of them. This may not give them a leg up in the local listings, but it may when some customers make the comparison.
To bypass this, see our post on how to get more online reviews.
In the Meantime...
We hope these tips find you well, and that you're on a least a slightly clearer path to ranking your website higher in Google for more keywords, AND for more potential customers to find.
This stuff can seem confusing, but it's too important to ignore.
Fill us in on your questions below.