A good test is to see if a Google My Business listing can be obtained because any business with one can make use of Local SEO. There are two categories of Google My Business listing:
- Local. These businesses have premises that their customers visit to spend money and would include shops, offices, restaurants, hotels and other venues. They are keen to display their address to help customers to find them.
- Service Area. These are usually trades based businesses which tend to deliver goods and services to their customers and would include home services (electricians, plumbers etc.) or builders. As they do not have an office for receiving customers they prefer to hide there address.
Some businesses eligible for a Google My Business listing may choose not to have one and if they do that then they will lose out on a lot of potential business. That is because without one they cannot show up in the “3-pack” search results. This is true even if they have the best website in the world.
The Local SEO "3-pack"
The 3-pack is so-called because Google displays 3 results for local searches. It used to be the 7-pack but, with so many searches on small screen devices, that became unwieldy and it was reduced to 3. By clicking the "More places" button at the bottom of the 3-pack, all of the businesses meeting the search results are shown.
It stands to reason that being in the top 3 results is worth considerably more than being in position 4 or lower. That is because the majority of people don't bother to click on the "More places" button. And that is what Local SEO can help achieve.
Businesses may also promote themselves in other ways such as using social media or print advertising. Facebook, in particular, has some Local Search optimisation features which should be used by local businesses. Relying purely on Facebook and ignoring Google is not going to yield as good results as incorporating both. Just as Facebook will reach people that Google will not, the reverse is certainly true.
Like other forms of advertising, just about all businesses can incorporate Local SEO efforts into their online strategy. Two things are essential for local business websites. One is to have their NAP* information displayed and consistent with their Google My Business information. Another is to have content which talks about the local area so that Google and other search engines will associate the business with the local area. (*NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone and is an important element in Local SEO.)
However, because the very nature of Local Search is meant to help users find businesses that are close to them, Local SEO is most beneficial to businesses that have an actual physical location. Google has not optimised Google My Business for service-area businesses to the same extent as it has for physical locations.
We work with your website designer to improve your ability to be found in Google and other search engines. And to look good wherever you may appear online. We specialise in local SEO and most of our work is off-site. But there still needs to be some on-site work undertaken by your webmaster to complement what we do. If you would be interested in finding out more, please use the Contact Form on our website.