In this article, we discuss why it is essential for local service businesses to engage Local SEO best practices. Local companies without a brick-and-mortar location rely on Google to be found; and the Google bots rely on certain indicators of local credibiility. Without those indicators, your small business might be literally off-the-map.
As the holiday shopping season shifts into high gear, let’s talk about local. As a consumer, I support local businesses for many reasons. As James Florence points out on our sister blog at diamondcertified.org, local businesses offer more personalized service, custom products and better accountability if something goes wrong. More, I love the fact that I can walk to my local bookstores. I have three in my neighborhood and they make my community a conspicuously better place to live.
A business found online might not be as credible as it initially appears.
But how do I find and patronize the local businesses I can’t find by walking (or driving)? When I need to get my carpet cleaned before the holiday frenzy, I turn to the internet. Here’s the problem: When I walk into a brick-and-mortar store, my intuition tells me a lot about the business. First and foremost, I can immediately tell that it’s real. On the other hand, a business found online might not be as credible as it initially appears. So, as a consumer looking for local businesses online, I can’t rely on my senses alone. Before I contact a company, whether consciously or unconsciously, I ask, “Is it legitimate?” followed by, “Is it reputable?”
If Google understands a search to be for a local business, the bots will do their best to provide search results showing legitimate, reputable and relevant local businesses.
How do I get answers? Luckily, Google helps. While the search giant keeps its algorithm a tight-fisted secret, we know that its core objective is to provide users with legitimate search results. In other words, Google works very hard to not show fake websites. Since the Google bots can no more walk in and assess my local carpet cleaner than I can (and have less organic intuition than I have in my pinky finger), Google uses ranking factors to assess any given website. And if Google understands a search to be for a local business, the bots will do their best to provide search results showing legitimate, reputable and relevant local businesses. Consequently, I, the consumer, can be confident that when I conduct a search for a local carpet cleaner, I’ll find an actual local business to call. As an added bonus, Google may also show me how reputable that carpet cleaner is in the form of stars, links to reviews, a knowledge panel and the local pack.
As a consumer, you know most of this already. What’s less clear is how a local business eventually gets the call. So, what can you do to make Google recognize that your business is the most legitimate and reputable carpet cleaner, pest control company, contractor, etc.? While there’s no quick fix, there are many ways to get recognized as a legitimate, reputable local business by the bots. Get started with some of the tips and tricks in these past posts:
(Remember, Exclusive Content is always free. You just need to sign up to become a member).
- Local SEO: What It Is, Why You Need It & How to Make It Happen
- 5 Ways to Boost Your Company's Credibility Online – Exclusive Content
- Proving Your Business Credibility in the Era of Fake Reviews
- How to Get More Positive Reviews for your Company – Exclusive Content
- Why Your Business Isn't Showing a Google Knowledge Panel (and What You Can Do About It)
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