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How to Improve Your Local Google Ranking


More often than not, when users search for products or services through Google, they wish to find what they're looking for near a specific location such as where they live. Google can determine the user’s location based on data from their device, providing the user has allowed this in their settings. This helps the user get convenient results, quickly, as location relevant results are shown first. Your local search ranking is where you sit in the list of results based on a geographic location. Good local rankings are essential for any business website looking to compete in today’s increasingly localised search landscape. Local search engine optimisation focuses on optimising a website to be found in local search results. The aim being to improve visibility for businesses in their local communities and making users aware of the services that are available near them.


Why is Local SEO so important?


  • 78% of local searches on a mobile device result in the searcher making an offline purchase.
  • 71% of searchers say they search for the location of a business to confirm the address before visiting the business for the first time.
  • 50% of searchers who performed a local search on their phone went to a physical store within one day of their search.
  • 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within just one day.

This shows that local search can be a powerful tool for directing customers to your business.

Below we have compiled a quick guide to improve your local search rankings and boost the visibility of your business to local customers.


1. Get into the Local Top 3


The Google Local Pack is the method Google uses to display the top relevant results for local searches. Users will see a map and a list of 3 top businesses with their location and contact details. If you can make it onto this list it becomes especially easy for mobile users to find your business.

To really utilise the Local Pack you need to:

  • Create a Google My Business page.
  • Verify the address of your business.
  • Optimise your listing with your name, category, contact details, images etc.
  • Optimise your website for local search, with local content, good SEO practices and good authority links.

Once your business gets into the top 3, it’s important to keep an eye on the information that’s displayed regarding your business. Any user can edit the data in your business listing, and these edits can go live without you receiving any notification.

If you see any unwanted changes to your listing, you can fix them manually, or appeal to Google’s support team to have the changes removed.

You can also get into the Local Pack as a paid search result. Google Ads in the Local Pack can be useful if your local search competition is too high, or if you’re looking for faster search results.


2. Include content with a Local Focus


As with all content, it needs to add value and answer searchers’ questions. Here are a few ideas of ways to make content more localised:

Including a blog on your website and keeping it up to date with locally focused content. You can make announcements about new products or locations, share interviews and testimonials, and talk about local events.

Host a local event, like a class, workshop or charity drive. You can then create content to drive awareness through your website and social media posts. You could also consider sponsoring or partnering with an existing local event, festival or concert, if hosting your own sounds a little too daunting. Being an active part of your local community along with other local businesses is also a great way to get your brand known through word of mouth.

Lists and guides are a great way of peaking readers interest and can be published through your blog, or on their own pages. Depending on your business you could post ‘step-by-step guides’, ‘top 10s’ or ‘ultimate guides’. They give you opportunities to share original and engaging content that your local customers may be encouraged to share online.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is a good way to answer all your customer’s queries in one easy-to-find place.

Create a separate, dedicated webpage for each business location. This is particularly useful for companies with multiple locations. This will make the user experience smoother for searchers in various geographic locations. It also provides a way of tailoring content for the needs of a specific location.


3. Build up Local Links to your website


Links plays an important role in improving your local rankings as well. Local links are specifically added with the aim of building relevance for the business website’s location, by speaking to a local audience. You’re essentially looking to rank for local keywords with lower search volume, and you’ll be working with small local websites which have lower authority than major national or international sites.

Citation building is a good place to start your local link building efforts. A local citation is any mention of your business online, which might include your company name, phone number, physical address, website address, or any combination of these. Citations can include your company’s contact information being listed on a business listing directory, for example, Yelp. It can also be when your contact information is placed on another site such as blogs, wikis and online magazines or newspapers. Building citations across multiple credible sources, helps search engines verify that your business exists and is legitimate.

Here are some sources you can reach out to for links with a local focus:

  • Local online newspapers that run features on nearby businesses.
  • Local bloggers who have a small but targeted following within your city or neighbourhood.
  • Local event pages and tourism sites that run features like “What To Do” in your location.
  • Other local business owners with their own websites, who are willing to partner with you by linking to your website.
  • Local charities that will link to you or mention you on their website as a thanks for sponsorship or donations.


4. Keep Your Details Up to Date


Keeping business details updated is critical for any business looking to improve their local search results. You can’t establish a reputation for yourself in your geographic location if customers don’t know where to find you. Search engines take this information into account when determining which companies to show in the results for locally targeted searches. There’s a theory among local SEO specialists that Google will cross-reference your information across multiple websites, to confirm that your business is legitimate. The more consistent your information is, the better.

Make sure that your business name, physical address and phone number are always correct and up to date, both on your website and on other locations online, like directories and review sites. If your business details change, be sure to send out a quick, courteous e-mail to everyone who has written about your business using the old details, informing them of the changes and requesting that they update their content.

Do some research by putting yourself in the searcher’s shoes. Search for a relevant keyword and location and see what comes up in the results. If you’re struggling to find important contact details in the results, your potential customers will be struggling too.

Contact details aren’t the only thing you need to keep an eye on. Most customers want to know what time of day they will be able to visit your business or contact you. Be sure to list your business hours online – and stick to them. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than visiting your store only to find it closed, despite being informed online that it would be open. They’re not likely to visit again. Include your opening hours for weekdays, weekends and bank holidays online, and update them whenever they change.


5. Pay Attention to the User Experience


Local search results are a crucial part of the user journey. Remember, 78% of locally focused mobile searches result in an offline store visit within a day of the search. Having accurate and up to date contact details mean potential customers will always have access to the correct information in order to get to the next step of their journey. When users perform their first online search, you get your first opportunity to capture their attention and influence their final decision.

If your site is already appearing with a good position in the search results, you now want to make it easy for them to click through to a web page with valuable content that will answer their queries or address their search intent. This will establish your business as a trustworthy option in the user’s eyes, and encourage them to take the next step by making an enquiry, purchasing online, or visiting your location.

Another critical part of the user journey is responsive design. Studies show that around 63% of searchers are now using multiple devices to search for local businesses, including their tablets and mobile phones. A website that is responsive is essential for a smooth user experience as it can easily be viewed on any device or screen size.


6. Optimise Your Google Listing


Once you create your listing, Google will generate a Google Maps location that will synchronise with traditional Google Search, to make your business more easily searchable and accessible. We have a few tips to make sure your listing is complete and effective from the start.

Setting up your listing:

First, it will ask you to enter your business details including the location. It will then run a quick search to check the business isn’t already listed. If you have a well-established business, it might already be listed. Don’t panic though! You can claim that listing if you are the business’ owner by following the simple steps with Google. Once you have claimed the listing, you can manage it just as you would do with a new listing.

Make sure you fill out all the input boxes with your latest accurate details. Be careful to use correct grammar and spellingand choose the most relevant category for your business. You can also add details about the delivery of your goods and services to customers at their location. Be sure to add service area information for your business. You can set your service area based on the post codes or cities that you operate in. You can edit and update this information as it changes.

Verify your listing:

After submitting your business information, you will need to verify the location of your business. Google won’t display your listing until your business has been verified.

For verification of the location of your business, the easiest way to do this is via the postcard option. Verification is quick and normally takes less than a week. Once you receive your postcard with verification code, verify your business by entering the code and your listing will be live.

Optimise your listing:

To fully optimise your listing, it’s best to take advantage of as many resources as possible and fill out as many details as you can. The more details you include the less questions users will be left with. Make sure everything you enter is accurate and up to date. Most importantly, we always encourage clients to include business hours, including any special holiday hours.

Finally, add a few good quality photos including your logo, your storefront, and some of your products. Check that all these photos appear high quality on the listing. Businesses that include photos in their listings receive on average 35% more click-throughs to their websites than those who don’t.

Once your listing is up and running, take advantage of the Insights section available on your Google My Business dashboard.


7. Build a Positive Reputation with Reviews


Customers in the digital world are increasingly looking for reviews to encourage them to follow through with purchases. Earning positive reviews can help boost your reputation and credibility. It’s an essential part of any modern-day marketing strategy.

  • Product page visitors who read online reviews show a 58% higher conversion rate than those who don’t.
  • 100 reviews on a website can lead to 37% increase in orders.
  • Adding user reviews increases organic search traffic by 15 to 25%.

Google My Business has its own review system which helps determine your star rating in Google Maps results and will influence where your business appears in the listings. Therefore, it’s important to put effort into customer service to earn genuine positive feedback. When you interact with clients/customers it can be a good idea to provide them with a direct link to where they can leave a review and request them to consider it. For example, including the link in email marketing campaigns or within your email signature.

Social media is also becoming a popular way for customers to share their experiences with brands. Utilising these reviews is done in much the same way as on Google, apart from on social media customers often expect brands to engage with them and therefore respond to comments. Start conversations, share good reviews, thank customers for leaving reviews and don’t ignore the negative ones. It may seem easier to give positive reviews all the attention, but the negative ones are often the ones to sway potential new customers decisions. Respond to these respectfully and address the reviewers concerns constructively and you could turn a dissatisfied customer into a very happy and loyal one!




The world is more connected than ever before, with customers looking for answers at the touch of a button. They want to find the most reliable, highly recommended products and services located near them, and they want the results fast.

By correctly optimising and positioning your business for local search, you can make sure your site will be seen in the right place, at the right time, by the right people. Any local business wanting to stand out from their competitors need to make sure they’re harnessing Google’s local search landscape in a smart, strategic way.

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