Complete Guide to Improving Your Own Local SEO

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    Whenever a prospective customer searches for keywords associated with your business, you want to rank in the top search results.

    When you rank well in a “local search” you have a higher chance of customers contacting your business over others because of your local presence.

    But how is it possible for you to rank your business in the number one local search result slot?

    In this post, we will break down the step-by-step process of ranking in the local pack.

    What Is The Local Pack?

    Whenever your search in Google has a local intent, the search results will provide you with a list of related local businesses near you.

    This list of local businesses is located in what is known as a “local pack”

    Your listing in this local pack is also known as your Google My Business listing.

    The local pack has been refined to show the top 3 results that are most relevant to your search.

    Although you can also see a larger list of suggestions by clicking on the “more places” link:

     

    Ranking Factors That Affect Your Google My Business Listing.

    You cannot expect to rank in the local pack simply by creating a google my business profile and then hoping for the best.

    Like any effective SEO strategy, there are some important factors you must take into account in order to increase your chances of success.

    MOZ (an online marketing platform) regularly conducts mass internet search surveys in order to provide markets with the most up to date insights on the factors affecting.

    Below are some of the top factors that affect local pack results.

     

    From the above results, we can conclude that there are three main areas you need to focus on:

    1. Setting up your Google My Business profile correctly (categorization, keywords etc).
    2. Getting as much high-quality reviews on your business profile.
    3. High-quality backlinks directing traffic to your website.
    4. Optimization your home page for local search (Name, Address, Phone number etc).

    Let’s go over each of these steps in detail

    Setting Up your Google my Business Profile for Success

    When setting up your Google My Business profile, you need to make sure that it is perfectly optimized from the get-go.

    Follow my step-by-step guide to, not only set up your profile correctly but to ensure that it keeps performing well for your business time and time again.

    Step 1: Set Up Basic Information.

    Head over to www.google.com/business.

    Click on “Start Now”

    You will then need to input all of the contact information pertaining to your business.

    Make sure all of the information is 1000% accurate.

    Write your name address and phone number exactly as it will be appearing on your website, so no fancy spelling or grammar!

    In the technical world of SEO, your business name address and phone number is known by the acronym NAP

    Continuity will help Google verify you as a legitimate business and therefore boost your rank.

    Though this may seem like an elementary level of optimization, it has a huge impact on your overall listing.

    Just take a look at the result of the study performed by Bright Local:

    You see, NAP inconsistencies are one of the 2 common issues that affect your Google My Business rank, so make sure you get it right!

    Next, you will need to select your business category.

    This step is the point where most business owners mess up!

    Your business category displays your listing whenever a prospective client types in a search related to the business you offer.

    Step 2: Choosing the Right GMB Categories

    Take a look at the number 3 ranking factor affecting your GMB profile visibility:

     

    Yep, its the correct categorisation of your business.

    So let’s make sure we get that done right!

    Choosing Your Primary Category

    There are two types of categories you can set up for your business:

    Primary Category

    Secondary Category

    Now when it comes to proper categorisation there is a reason why so many businesses get it wrong.

    The more complicated your service offering, the more difficult it is to correctly categorise your business.

    Let me explain.

    Let’s say that you are an air conditioning servicing company.

    Your primary category would be simply “HVAC Contractor”

    But what if you offer multiple services within the one business?

    Law firms commonly encounter this problem since many of their lawyers cover a diverse range of law services that are not categorized by the one single primary category.

    There are several ways you can tackle this.

    One is by setting the primary category of your business like the one you would like to primarily rank for.

    So in the law firm scenario, if your primary service is ‘Divorce Law” set your primary category as that.

    If you also want to wank for other categories of law you can create GMB profiles for each of your primary lawyers within each category.

    So for example, you would create a GMB profile for a family lawyer with his/her primary category set to “Family Law Attorney”

    It is best to avoid using the same primary categories between your employees and your business, it is not the best use of resources.

    If you are creating multiple GMB profiles it is best to use each profile to rank well in each different primary category to expand your reach as much as possible.

    When planning your Google My Business SEO strategy it is helpful to have a handy list of the current GMB categories on hand.

    A list of all current Google My Business categories can be accessed here.

    Choosing Your Secondary Categories

    After you have picked a primary category make sure you also pick a secondary category.

    Make sure you do this even if your primary category is the most perfectly fitting choice.

    This of your secondary categories as dot points under your primary category, or in others, an opportunity to further explain your primary category.

    You can also list all of your other offered services as secondary categories

    Here is an example.

    If you own an engineering consultancy, you could set up your Google My Business as follows:

    Primary Category:

    • Engineering Consultant

    Secondary Categories:

    • Mechanical Engineer.
    • Mechanical Contractor.
    • Mining Engineer.

    A Secret Google My Business Category Trick

    Here is a secret Google My Business category trick that most SEO consultants do not speak about.

    You can strategically change the primary category of your Google My Business profile from time to time.

    Why would you ever want to do that?

    Well, if your business focuses on specific services during different times of the year you could change your primary category to suit accordingly.

    For example, if you work in the air conditioning industry your primary categories of work could differ depending on the season.

    During summer you might focus solely on air conditioning repair and service

    During winter your primary focus could then switch to furnace repair and service.

    As a result, in summer, you could set your primary category as:

    Air Conditioning Repair Service

    And during winter you could set your primary category as:

    Furnace Repair Service

    That way you will be instantly satisfying the search intent of prospective clients when they view your profile.

    Do you think a prospective client is likely to contact an HVAC contractor in winter if they see AC repair a  primary category?

    Give the people what they want – A search for HVAC service in winter would rush to contact a business with the primary category of furnace repair service.

    Here is an example of a Google My Business listing, you can see how prominently visible the primary category is:

     

    Some Important Things To Know About Google My Business Categories

    Here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to Google My Business categorization:

    Categories Change

    The names of categories change all the time. Not only that, but new categories are continuously being added.

    Whenever a business sets up a GMB profile they have the option of suggesting a category edit if they do not find one that clearly reflects their business.

    As a result from time to time, Google will add different categories, as well as the change the names of current categories and even remove categories!

    But you do not need to worry about your category name being removed, Google primarily focuses on removing redundant categories that have very little chances of being used.

    If you are perceptive enough to notice and implement a freshly added category that best describes your business you can have a serious competitive advantage over competitors that have not made the change yet.

    An example of this is the category “Escape Room” which is a new addition to the category list.

    Prior to this addition, no such category existed for escape rooms; the businesses that noticed this change and implemented it received an almost instant boost in ranking for relevant searches.

    Competitors Can Suggest Edits To Your Categories.

    Unfortunately, in the ultra-competitive world of SEO, not everyone plays the game ethically like most of us.

    Whenever a Google My Business profile appears in a search result, viewers have an opportunity to suggest an edit.

    Google’s motivation for providing edits as an option is to aid them in their pursuit of satisfying searcher intent.

    If an irrelevant business is listed when a particular search query is made, a searcher can suggest to google the correct category that the business should show up for.

    Here are some of the options are user is provided with when the link “suggest an edit” is clicked:

     

    When “change name or other details” is clicked, a user has the option of changing the primary category of the business.

    Now in an ideal world, you will receive a notification whenever an edit is suggested for approval.

    I say ‘in an ideal world; because sadly that is not always the case.

    Sometimes the primary category of a business is changed in response to a user suggestion without the GMP profile manager being notified.

    The only way to mitigate against such malicious actions is to log into your GMP profile every now and then to make sure everything is still set up correctly.

    Aim to do this on a weekly basis in order to give your competitors as little a window as possible to outrank you.

    You can also use this as an opportunity to check and see if a new category has been added that better represents your business and also to respond to customer reviews.

    With your Google My Business categories set, it’s time to move onto some other quirky tricks to implement when setting up your profile.

    List Your Attributes

    The attributes of your business are the different conveniences you offer.

    Some examples are

    Tennis courts

    Bar Seating

    Indoor pool

    By listing these attributes you can spare your potential clients the wasted time of contacting you in order to find out whether you offer these options.

    It will also be a great way for you to sell your business to clients by demonstrating the level of care and respect you have to patron.

    Attributes also increase the real estate of your Google My Business profile, making it seem fuller and more prominent compared to the others:

    Take a look at how “meaty” this Google My Business Profile looks with all of those attributes listed!

    I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to spend my summer holidays there!

    Add Pictures!

    A Google My Business profile is not complete without pictures.

    That includes both a profile picture and pictures of your business.

    There are two reasons why this is so important:

    It Demonstrates Your Respect

    By having clear, high-quality photos on your profile it demonstrates the willingness (and therefore respect) you have for your clients to enjoy the experience in learning more about you.

    As little as the effort is, sadly many businesses neglect uploading pictures onto their profile.

    This has a severely negative psychological effect on your prospective clients who will instantly categorise you as lazy and attribute your lack of aesthetic appeal as a reflection of your level of customer service.

    It Makes You More Trustworthy.

    Have a full set of pictures on your Google My Business Profile also makes you much more trustworthy.

    A prospective customer always approaches businesses with an elevated level reservation until they are provided with reasons to trust you.

    A Google My Business profile with little to no pictures will raise doubt about the legitimacy of your business.

    If you run a business from home and do not want to include pictures of your house, take strategic photos of your home office that will make your home business seem as corporate as possible.

    So avoid photos of your smiling morning face in the kitchen in your worn out pyjamas.

    You also have the option of adding videos to your profile as well as.

    A short explainer video will provide more informational value than hundred of photos might

    You can also encourage your customers to take phones and add them to your profile.

    This will help them plump up your profile and also demonstrate how incredibly satisfied your customers are with your business offering – only a truly happy customer will take the time to photograph themselves at your business and then upload them!  

    Get Reviews – Lots of Them!

    Reviews are always amazing!

    And the more reviews you have on your Google My Business profile the better.

    Why is that?

    First of all, GMB profile packed with reviews is a strong indication to Google that your business is in operation, as a result, it will favour you in search results.

    Secondly, if you have a great review average it gives Google a greater incentive to push up on the ranks because the algorithm always aims to please searchers, even by recommending great relevant businesses!

    Another reason why reviews are so great is that a growing number of prospective customers actively look for the reviews of a business prior to engaging with their services.

    So if you really want to take as much SEO advantage as possible, a great tip is to create a webpage on your website with the keywords “reviews” appended to your business name.

    So, for example, if your business name is Squishy Sheep, you should create web page targeting the keywords

    “Squishy sheep reviews”

    And on that page include reviews and testimonials of customers.

    For customers seeking a review on your services, seeing a plump review profile on your Google My Business profile, as well as the testimonials on your webpage will surely convince them to partner with you!

    A great way to get customers to review your Google profile is to…well…ask them to review it!

    I know to some this may seem a bit taboo but there is nothing to feel guilty about.

    Just make sure you send review requests to customers you 100% are certain you’ve wow’d.

    If a customer has sent you an email thanking you for helping them out, reply with a review request as a means of them repay the favour – strike while the iron is hot!

    How To Send a Google My Business Review Request:

    Before you send a Google My Business review request you need to source the URL of your GMB profile.

    Doing this is super easy!

    Step 1: Search for your business on Google.

     

    Next click on “write a review”

     

    Now copy and paste the URL of the current page. This is the URL you will then send to customers when asking for a review.

    You can send this URL via email or even Facebook messenger, it works everywhere!

    Now do not be phased if you receive a negative review, it happens to all of us, some people are just impossible to please!

    The best thing you could do whenever you receive a negative review is to respond to it.

    When you are logged into your Google business profile, you have the option of responding to each and every one of customer reviews.

    You should respond to them all – the good and the bad.

    Whenever you respond apologetically to poor reviews you increase the chances of winning over customers.

     

    Write Posts

    When thinking about optimising your Google My Business profile, think of it as a strategy for making your profile seem as healthy as possible.

    That should make the process seem more natural to you.

    Let’s recap what we have done so far:

    • We have ensured consistency of data – Name, Address and Phone Numbers
    • We have chosen categories that best represent the niche of your business in order to provide searchers with the solution they are searching for
    • We have listed all of the attributes pertaining to your business,
    • We have pumped up our profile with a huge number of customer reviews in order to give prospects a window into our superior level of service.

    Do you see how all of our efforts to date make your profile seem super healthy and active?

    That’s is why this next suggestion follows the same logical trajectory.

    Creating posts on your Google My Business profile will make your profile seem active and alive!

    What are posts?

    Think of posts as updates, kinda like facebook updates but only pertaining to your business.

    You can write posts about the following:

    • New products and services you are now offering.
    • An internal company update, such as new staff or a new building renovation etc.
    • A competition you are hosting with your customers.

    The great thing about Google My Business posts is that you can add some pretty cool call to actions.

    If you are creating a post about a discount you are offering, you can add a call to action to “sign” up or “get offer”

    If you are creating a post about some changes to your business, you can add a call to action button titles “learn more.”

    When creating posts try to keep them as interesting and relevant to your audience as possible.

    So no redundant posts about coffee art!

    Aim to accomplish as high a level of engagement with your audience as possible.

    There are a few tricks you can implement in order to achieve this.

    The most powerful is to speak ‘directly’ to your audience. The way you do this is by writing as if you are writing to a good friend.

    Infuse as much energy in your posts as possible and for maximum effect add humour.

    Here is an example of a post you might create for a new line of sunglasses:

    “Hey! You should come check out our new range of funky sunglasses. We know you already look cool, but with these glasses, you will look ultra cool, like Sean Connery riding a skateboard down a volcano cool!”

    With all posts, you are given the option of including an image.

    The image should be of high quality and at least 400 x 300 pixels.

    If you are appending an image to compliment the sunglasses post above, you could photoshop a photo of Sean Connery wearing a pair of glasses from your range riding that skateboard down a volcano.

    Do you see how such a post would really encourage user engagement?

    Who wouldn’t want to click on the call to action button for such a post!

    Speaking of call to action buttons, keep in mind that your post will look different when viewed on a mobile compared to desktop.

    When viewed on a mobile less of the text will be visible, especially if you include a call to action button.

    Only about 70 characters of your text will be visible on a mobile device if you use a call to action button, so ensure that the text within these 70 characters is as intriguing as humanly possible.

    Before you get trigger happy with your posting, keep in mind that, unlike conventional social media platforms, whenever you create a post in Google My Business, that post is only visible for 7 days.

    The reason for this is to prevent out of date content from flooding your Google profile whenever new visitors find you.

    So if you are creating a post about a sale, make sure it’s a flash sale that will only be available for about 7 days – this will always create a sense of urgency which will increase the chances of prospects buying from you.

    Appending Your Website to Your Google My Business Profile

    For your local SEO strategy to be as effective as possible you need to ensure that you do not solely focus on your Google My Business profile.

    Even though many businesses might attribute their new customer base solely to the Google Business profile, their impact could be significantly increased with a website.

    Having a website is oh so important!

    Why is that?

    First of all, whenever a prospect views your Google Profile, one of the actions they are most likely to take is to click on the “website” button on your profile and peruse your website.

    Unless a prospect is pressed for time, they are unlikely to convert solely based on your Google My Busines description, most will prefer to take a look at your website to further investigate you and your services in greater detail.

    So having a website will provide you with a platform to upload further information on your products and services.

    But there is also another amazing benefit to having a website – it gives you an amazing opportunity to rank in local searches!

    Let me present you with a scenario.

    Let’s say that you are a Dentist located in Houston Texas. If your Google My Business profile is set up correctly and optimised according to the guidelines in this post, your profile should show up for the search terms “Dentist Houston Texas”

    If you also have a webpage on your website optimised for the keywords “Dentist Houston Texas” your website will also appear on the first page of Google.

    So by having perfectly optimised Webpage and Google My Business profile you are taking over as much of the first-page real estate of Google as possible.

    And more visibility means higher chances of conversions!

    But how do you SEO optimise a webpage for certain keywords?

    I will walk you through the process.

    The first thing you will need to ensure is that your website is mapped correctly.

    So all location-based pages need to be grouped together under the parent “location” menu.

    So in the examples above, if the Texas Dental Centre has one location, when I click on the “locations” link in the menu I should be taken to only one page that is optimised for local-based keywords.

    If this dental practice has multiple locations, when I click on the “locations” link I should be given an option of selecting different locations each.

    Each location of the business should have its own dedicated web page.

    And each of your location web pages should include your Name, Address and Phone numbers EXACTLY the same way they appear on your Google My Business profile.

    Remember the whole NAP thing?

    Yeah, super duper important!

    Now that we have a firm grasp of that concept lets discuss how to SEO optimise these location pages for local searches.

    How to Incorporate Keywords In Location Web Pages

    The usual keywords you will aim to optimise your page for will be your business service alongside the location of your business

    So for example:

    “Dentist Houston Texas”

    Now, choosing the right keywords to target heavily depends on the competitive nature of those keywords as well as the likelihood your website has for ranking for those keywords.

    For the best results, you should enlist in the aid of an SEO professional in order to help you find the best keywords you have the chances of ranking for.

    For the sake of this example, let’s stick with the keywords “Dentist Houston Texas”

    For the best results aim to target a single set of keywords for every page of your website, this will keep your content as laser-focused as possible

    Here are the important areas  you need to include these keywords in

    Your Page title.

    It is very important for your title page, and therefore you URL to contain your chosen keywords.

    So given our choice of keywords, your website URL should look like this:

    yourwebsite.com/dentist-houston-texas

    Meta Description.

    There are differing opinions as to whether or not keywords in your meta description help you rank or not, but it does not hurt to include them as long as it is done so naturally.

    The added benefit of including your keywords in your meta description is that they appear in bold which makes your web result seem the most relevant to searchers.

    Body Content

    You will want to include your choice of keywords naturally throughout your body content.

    Just make sure it is done naturally and you avoid excessive use of keywords (or keyword stuffing) at all costs!

    Include your keywords within the first 100 words of your body text, throughout the middle and within the last 100 words.

    Title Tags

    Include your keywords in 1 or 2 of your title tags.

    Some examples of methods you can craft titles to naturally include your keywords are shown below:

    Why We Are The Best Dentist In Houston Texas

    The Dentist in Houston Texas You Can Trust

    Alt- Tags

    The Alt- tags are usually not taken advantage of by webmasters.

    The alt tag is the description you append to your image in order to help to seeing impaired individuals know what the image is.

    Also, If an image is unable to be loaded the alt-tag description will be displayed

    If you include your chosen keywords in your alt-tag, your image will also appear in image search results when prospects click on ‘images’

    This is, in fact, a growing fad, many searchers prefer to see pictorial results rather than text-based results, so if you take advantage of this you will really outrank your competitors.

    It is very important to keep in mind that your alt-tag descriptions need to accurately depict the image.

    So if you have an image of a horse, don’t just stuff the alt-tag with unrelated keywords such as “Dentist Houston Texas”

    If you wanted to include the keywords “Dentist Houston Texas” in the alt tag of an image, a great tactic is to have professional photos taken of either you and your staff or the different dentistry rooms.

    You could then naturally append your keywords to your alt tag descriptions.

    Here are some examples

    Say you have taken a photo of one of the dentist.

    Your keyword rich alt tag could be the following:

    “Rick, your friendly gentle dentist in Houston Texas”

    Or if you had a photo taken of one of the operating rooms, your alt tag could be the following:

    “One of the hygienic and comforting theatres in [insert business name] – your local dentist in Houston Texas”

    Bonus Tip:

    If you are running WordPress, a great free SEO plugin you can install for FREE is Yoast SEO.

    This plugging helps you optimise each page of your website for your chosen set of keywords.

    I’ll give you a brief run through how to use this plugin.

    How to Use The Yoast Plugin

    To install the plugin search for Yoast SEO in the plugin search bar within the plugin search bar and activate it.

    Once activated you will see the Yoast dialogue box in the back end of word press.

    Here is a screenshot of what this dialogue box looks like:

     

    In this dialogue box, you can see some pretty cool features you can edit.

    You can create and modify your meta description straight from here so no more fumbling back and forth trying to find how to edit your meta description.

    You can even edit the web page title from here!

    Another incredible feature is the keyword density measurement tool.

     

    You can just input your focus keyword in the focus keyphrase bar as indicated above and Yoast will measure the density of that keyword throughout your content.

    That way you can keep track of how often you are using your keyword and Yoast will let you know if it is used too much or not enough.

    In the screenshot above you can also see a list of SEO related problems

    The severity of each problem is indicated by traffic light colours.

    Red being most severe, yellow being less and green meaning it passes.

    In the list of issues found above you can see that Yoast indicates whether or not outbound links have been created, whether internal links have been created, whether or not images have been included etc.

    Each of the problems corresponds to key metrics that affect your SEO rank.

    So when using the Yoast plugin you will ensure that each of your webpages is perfectly SEO optimised.  

    And that, my friends, is pretty cool.

    Crafting a Compelling Google My Business Description

    So, you’ve created a website, perfectly optimised each of your location pages for local searches and appended that page to your Google My Business profile.

    The final thing you NEED to get right when setting up your Google My Business profile is the description.

    Your description is your opportunity to reflect in a few short sentences what customers should choose you and your business.

    You only have a small amount of real estate available for this compelling pitch so you need to make sure you are as efficient as possible!

    Take a look at this announcement from Google in 2018 when they rolled out the Google My Business description feature:

     

    So according to Google, you should aim to tell prospects your story and what makes your business unique.

    In order to ensure that your listing is not blacklisted, it is important for you to follow some important guidelines.

    Let’s examine what Google prohibits:

    Prohibited Google My Business Content

    Below is a list of things you should NOT include both in your Google My Business description as well as your entire Google My Business profile in general:

    Misleading Content

    Make sure all of the information you provide about your business is 100% accurate and not misleading to prospects.

    An example of misleading content is to state that all of your products are manufactured in your country when in fact they are imported from overseas.

    Or to falsely claim that you stock certain popular brands.

    Lying is never a good idea in business, and it will only be a matter of time before a customer reports you and your profile Google business profile gets blacklisted.

    So keep it truthful and keep it relevant!

    Low-quality, Irrelevant Or Distracting Content.

    Relevancy is oh so important in Google’s eyes. Relevancy when ranking a website and also when ranking a business.

    If you are going to create a post on your profile, make sure that it is relevant to your business and services.

    Whenever you upload a picture, make sure that that picture accurately depicts your business and services – so no photos of cats playing accordions…unless of course, you sell accordions and your employees are cats.

    Also, make sure that your descriptions are grammatically correct and that all spelling is accurate. Otherwise, your profile will be flagged as spam.

    Focus On Special Promotions, Prices And Offer Sales

    This is what Google My Business posts are for. Your description is an opportunity to tell prospects about your business, not to promote sales.

    Displaying Links

    Do not include any links in your description even if the links lead to your webpage.

    You can append your website naturally through your profile (as mentioned above) so there is no need to link out to anything in your depiction.

    Displaying Offensive And Inappropriate Content.

    This one is quite obvious and does not require much of an explanation.

    Publishing offensive content either in your text or in your photos will get you blacklisted almost immediately

    Offensive and inappropriate content include:

    • Anything promoting hate or harassment to anyone or anything.
    • Anything that may incite violence.
    • Content containing explicit and offensive language
    • Sexually explicit content
    • Content that exploits children.

    Illegal or dangerous content.

    Do not promote any items that are deemed dangerous or illegal.

    Be aware that geographical location does play a role in the legality of some items and service, so if a business elsewhere is promoting a sensitive product or service, it does not mean that you will be permitted to do the same.

    If in doubt, you should contact your local authorities prior to creating your Google My Business profile.

    Now that we have gotten all of the not-so-fun stuff out of the way, let’s move onto discussing some stellar tips for creating your superior Google Business description:

    Add Keywords in Your Google My Business Description

    Ok, so here is a tactic most business owners are aware of – you can implement keywords in your description.

    By keywords I mean keywords you would like to rank, so, for example, “architect London”

    Within the SEO community, there are some differing opinions as to whether or not keywords in your Google My Business description have an effect on your rankings.

    While it is difficult to say for certain whether or not it has an effect, it never hurts to implement then if it can be done naturally.

    When implementing your choosing keywords aim to use them within the first 70 characters of your description and make sure you implement them in such a way that it sounds natural.

    Definitely, do not keyword stuff!!!

    Keyword stuffing means excessive use of the same keywords that makes content obviously spammy.

    If you remember, as mentioned above, spammy content is prohibited by Google.

    Here is an example of a Google My Business Description that is overstuffed with the keywords “architect London”

    “If you are looking for an architect in London you have come to the right place. We are the best architect in London. The best architect in London needs to have the right expertise and experience. If you are looking for an Architect in London make sure you only settle for nothing but the best architect in London.”

    Pretty disgusting right?

    If you think so, the Google algorithm will definitely think so too.

    After you have written your description send it to a few friends for approval before submitting it into your Google profile.

    A fresh pair of eyes always provide the best criticism.

    Examples of Effective Google My Business Descriptions.

    Let’s take a look at some examples of some cleverly crafted Google My Business descriptions:

     

    Notice the use of direct, action-inducing language.

    They are telling you to “contact” the store, and they are telling you to do it “today”

    This subconsciously creates a sense of urgency within the reader making them want to literally contact the business owner instantly!

    Another clever tactic this business has implemented is a sense of unpredictability in the flow of the content.

    My viewers would expect descriptions to be filled with positive language in order to sell a business.

    This description, however, uses negative language to their advantage:


    ‘…for the least memorable, most predictable, smoothest moving experience…”

    The best moving experiences are the ones we forget because they have no memorable issues.

    This description also incorporates humour which adds a real punch of effectiveness.

     

    This description naturally includes the company name “Lakeshore Guys” for maximum SEO impact.

    They also cleverly conclude with a call to action which involves further perusal of their profile.

    This strategy keeps viewed on their page for as long as possible which increases the chances of a customer conversion…pretty clever stuff.

     

    This description uses numbers. The use of numbers is a clever strategy for subtly captivating and creating emphasis.

    Numbers provide an almost unexpected transition within a sea of letters, this ‘misfit’ make these numbers stand out very well.

    By standing out, the use of numbers effectively creates maximum impact, especially when communicating the number of years you have been in business or your satisfaction rating, as is done in the description above.

    Let’s Recap!

    We’ve covered a lot so far so let’s do a quick recap to make sure we stay on track.

    1. Improving your local SEO starts with having a perfectly optimised Google My Business Profile.
    2. When setting up your GMB profile make sure you select the most accurate categories
    3. List all of the attributes pertaining to your business in order to take up as much real estate as possible.
    4. Add as many relevant pictures as you can.
    5. Get Reviews
    6. Respond to Reviews
    7. Create posts to about flash sales
    8. Create a website and append it to your GMB profile
    9. SEO optimise each of the location pages of your website
    10. Create a keyword rich description that follows Google’s guidelines.

    So at this point, your GMP profile and your website should be optimised and up and running.

    WIth a perfectly set up GMB profile and SEO optimised website you are well on your way to ranking #1 for local search right?

    Not quite.

    While a stellar GMP profile and website pushes you well above the competition, there are other tricks you can implement that will help supercharge your local SEO rank

    By implementing these strategies you will go above an beyond what any of your competitors will ever imagine accomplishing.

    Ready?

    Let’s do this!

    Get High-Quality Backlinks

    Getting high-quality backlinks is the number 2 most important factor affecting your local Google rank.

     

    What are backlinks?

    Backlinks are links stemming from other websites.

    So whenever another web page links to your website it is called a backlink.

    “Back” because it is coming from the “back end”

    In order for you to get your location pages on your website ranking high on the number one page of Google, you need a heavy stream of high-quality backlinks, linking to your location pages.

    If you look at the pie chart above, you will notice that both the quality of the backlinks as well as the density plays a big role in your overall local rank

    Now there are different types of anchor texts.

    Exact Match

    This type of anchor text exactly matches the primary keywords you are targeting on your webpage.

    So, for example, if your primary keywords are “how to unclog a drain” those exact keywords – how to unclog a drain, will be hyperlinked on a third party website and that hyperlink, when clicked, will take visitors to your page about unclogging a drain.

    Partial-Match

    This type of anchor text includes a fancy variation of the primary keywords you are targeting on your webpage.

    So, if we take the keyword example above, partial-match anchor text linking to that page might look something like this:

    “…kitchen drain needs unclogging…”

    Or

    “…unclogging drains…”

    Partial match anchor text still slightly resemble the primary keywords on your page so it’s not a complete rewording.

    Branded

    This type of anchor text uses your exact brand name.

    So for example “Nike” would be a branded anchor text directing traffic to the Nike website.

    Naked Link Anchor Text

    Naked link anchor text is the most basic, and boring, type of anchor text.

    It simply is the URL of the website you are linking to.

    So for example:

    www.pearllemon.com

    Generic

    Generic anchor text uses generic words to link to your website.

    Words like

    “Click here”

    Or

    “Here”

    Images

    A link can be appended on an image so that whenever that image is clicked, a user is directed to your website.

    Whenever this is the case, the alt-tag text of the image is used as the anchor text relating to your website.

    The best type of anchor text to use are exact and partial match types.

    Anchor Text Best Practices

    It is important to understand how to correctly implement anchor text in order to ensure that all of the anchor text linking to your website is of the highest quality.

    Whenever you ask third parties to link to your website you can specify the style of anchor text you prefer, and, if you understand anchor text best practices you can ensure that only highest quality backlinks are linking to your website.

    So what are the most above-board methods of implementing anchor text?

    Keep It Short and Relevant

    The longer the anchor text the spammier it is.

    Can you imagine an entire paragraph being used as an anchor text?

    In order to prevent such ridiculous overkill, Google has suggested keeping all anchor text as succinct as possible.

    Limit to your anchor text to about 6-8 words max.

    Also, aim to keep your anchor text as relevant to the website you are ranking to as possible.

    So if the webpage being linked to is about changing Mustang fuel filters, do not use the anchor text “cute baby elephants”

    A very extreme example but you get the point.

    Relevancy does not only pertain to the actual text you include in your anchor text but also how accurately both topics relate to one another.

    Anchor text should only be used if it helps explain or illustrate the topic being written about.

    So you should not link to a page about mustang fuel filters if the topic you are writing about does not naturally relate to that topic.

    Anchor text keyword density is another VERY important best practice to keep in mind.

    Let’s take a step back and examine the whole principle of backlinks.

    The reason why backlinks play such an important role with it comes to ranking your website is because, according to Google, a web owner will only link to a webpage if the content on that website is worth linking to.

    And if many websites create links for that particular webpage, logically that must mean that the content is of high quality and therefore should be pushed up the Google results ranks.

    If you understand this logic you should then understand Google’s reasoning for using keyword density as a metric for measuring the quality of a websites backlink profile.

    If there are many websites linking to a particular webpage, there is very little to no chance that they will all use the exact same anchor text.

    Say for example

    “How to change oil filters”

    Because all humans are different, unique and wonderful the should, therefore, have their own unique anchor text linking to that web page.

    As a result, if all of the websites linking to your webpage use the same anchor text, it is a strong signal in Google’s eyes that there is something spammy going on.

    So when you are creating your backlink profile, make sure you keep it as diverse as possible, don’t only request the same set of keywords as anchor text.

    Ok, so we understand now what the different anchor text types are and what the best practices are when creating a backlink profile.

    Now let’s talk about how to acquire these backlinks.

    Getting High-Quality Backlinks

    When hunting for websites to attain backlinks from, focus your efforts on high Domain Authority pages, the higher the domain the better.

    A domain authority of 40 and above will provide super nutrient backlink juices.

    But what type of pages will be willing to link to your website?

    Local Online News Publications.

    Remember how back in the good ‘ol days we used to find local businesses by looking in the paper?

    Well, that is kinda still around, except its online.

    400;”>Local online publications love to link to local businesses because, by doing so, readers are being presented with a very respected service.

    Doing this is pretty simple.

    Start by searching for a local online news publication.

    For this example, we will use “Liverpool Echo.”

    In the menu of such news publications, you will usually see a link to an online business directory.

    When that link is clicked you will be taken to an online business directory:

     

    So what you will need to do is contact the publication to let them know of our business and ask if it can be published on their directory.

    Once it is published you will achieve a high-quality backlink!

    The type of backlinks you will receive from directories are branded backlinks.

    So when they click on your exact business name they will be taken to your website.

    SkyScraper Technique

    This method for attaining high-quality backlinks is by far the most powerful and the most effective.

    It is also my favourite method because you are exchanging high value for a backlink.

    Here is how it works:

    1. Find content ideas from competitors
    2. Use those ideas to create content that is even better
    3. Promote your content in exchange for backlinks

     

    Let’s go over each of these steps in detail

    Finding Content Ideas From Competitors

    When looking for content ideas to write about, your motivation should be to create something that is “linkable”

    What I mean by linkable is that the information that is presented in the content is of such high quality, other websites are compelled to link to it.

    So, in other words, linkable content is designed to attract backlinks

    It is almost effortless to achieve a backlink to content that is actually ‘linkable’

    So whenever you are creating ‘linkable’ content you should aim to create the BEST possible blog or article on the topic!

    That may seem like a heavy burden to carry but it is actually a lot simpler than you think.

    When you are aiming to rank your website at a local level, how do you even go about creating linkable content?

    If you run a cupcake shop in Toronto, what type of content could you create that others would want to link to?

    Too easy!

    If you own this cupcake shop, and you were   a local SEO strategy, your primary objective should be to rank for the keywords

    “cupcake shop Toronto”

    The first thing you need to do is to create the absolute best piece of content to target the phrase “cupcake shop Toronto”

    This initial piece of content should be published on the home page of the website.

    You could write about the different types of services you offer, what makes your methods the best, the history behind your cupcake shop etc.

    When you optimise your home page for these keywords, make sure you use the keyword optimisation strategy I outlined above.

    It is important to reiterate, that if this cake shop was located in different areas, I would post this content under the parent menu “locations”

    After this is done you will need to adopt the following mindset:

    You are an authority in your niche!

    It may seem like a simple change of mindset but it achieves SO MUCH when you fully grasp it.

    If you identify yourself as an authority in your niche, you will, therefore, create content that echos that message.

    So the content you create will be crafted in such a way where you passing down your authoritative cupcake related teachings.

    Do you see how when you craft content with that mindset you will always aim to infuse as much actionable and valuable information as possible?

    A simplistic blog on cupcake types will never satisfy you,

    Your content on cupcakes should aim to add value to the cupcake industry.

    Now you do not need to operate blindly here, for maximum effect you need to analyse effective content that has already been written in this niche.

    Here is how you do this:

    Step 1:

    Go to Google and search a broad phrase such as:

    “Cupcake blogs”

    Step 2:

    Find a blog on the first page of Google (that way you know it’s 100% linkable).

    The number 1 result may not necessarily be the best, so look through the top 5 results to find the best possible blog on the topic.

    Step 3:

    Copy the URL of the blog you have chosen and paste it into “Site Explorer”

    Step 4:

    Click on “top pages” under “organic search” and go through each result to see the number of backlinks each page has.

    Your aim is to find a page with a small number of backlinks

    Here is an example of a webpage with only 13 backlinks (for the keywords ‘when to retire’)

     

    Now having a low number of backlinks is a good thing.

    Why?

    It means it gives you a lot of room for improvement.

    Step 5:

    Now create content that it better.

    Much better

    10 times better!

    The goal will be to create something that is totally different but centred around the same topic.

    You can choose the primary keywords you would like your content to rank for.

    Your home page, and/or location pages, should already be optimised for your local based keywords, you can use this as an opportunity to rank for other keywords in order to establish your domain authority.

    The higher you establish your domain authority the more likely you are to rank for all the keywords on your website!

    Step 6:

    After you have created your superior linkable content, it is time to outreach to other websites to ask for backlinks

    Now, this may seem scary but the battle is already half one since you created your linkable content.

    Backlink Outreach

    Finding Email Addresses

    In order to be able to make contact with prospective website owners, you need to know their contact information.

    A fantastic specifically designed for this is Hunter.

    Using Hunter is super easy, simply input the URL of the website in question and you will be presented with a list of email addresses associated with that URL

     

    If the domain belongs to a very large organisation, use Linkedin to find the name of the person decision make you should be contacting.

    The email of the decision maker can be figured out by using the same convention as the other email addresses populated in Hunter.

    If you are ever unsure you can verify an email address by clicking on the verify link at the top of the menu in Hunter.

     

    A clever way to find the name of the author of a blog is by right-clicking on the page and click on “View Source”

    If you then press “Ctrl + F” and type Author you will then see the name of the author of the blog.

     

    As you can see “Mary Berry” is the author of this blog.

    Once the name of the author of a blog is known you can then use the verification search bar in hunter to figure out the email of the author.

    Here are some suggested conventions to test out:

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    Sometimes these steps can be avoided by simply perusing the “contact” page of a website.

    You’d be surprised as to how many of these pages display the actual email addresses of the web managers.

    If Hunter does not present you with an email address, and the contact page does not present an email address, you can submit a message via the form on the contact page.

    Those messages often do go straight to the website manager and many of them actually prefer to be contacted in such a way rather than having an email sent directly to their personal email.

    Choosing The Right Websites to Target

    Now it is very important to note that you should not target just any website, you should be very strategic with your approach.

    If you are very new to the industry and you have not established a reputable personal brand, you should avoid contacting ‘highly prestigious’ brands.

    If I opened up a small shoe store in my town and I wrote a blog about sneakers, what chances do you think I would have of achieving a backlink from Nike?

    Even if I write the greatest blog imaginable on sneakers, since my brand has little to no significance in the niche, Nike will most definitely decline my request for a backlink.

    Newly established websites, or websites with a very low domain authority, should, therefore, target websites that are easy to attain a backlink from.

    Lower hanging fruit, as they say.

    So less reputable brands and websites.

    After you have created a few skyscraper blogs and attained backlinks from these ‘lesser impressive’ websites you will then be in a more established position to approach more prestigious websites.

    And you never know, a blog that you might deem as “low hanging fruit” just might be viewed by a prestigious website owner who will then link to your website!

    Or, your content might even end up going viral after it is shared over and over again.

    Do not disregard this as a possibility, it does happen!

    Now how do you measure a site’s authority?

    Obviously, websites like apple.com and youtube.com have a high authority but is there a way of quantifying their authoritativeness?

    Yes there is, but it cannot be done simply by view Google search results, you need to use 3rd party software.

    You can use the software ahrefs to view a sites domain authority.

    Simply plug in the domain of the website in question and you will see their domain authority score:

     

    In the screenshot above the ‘domain authority’ of a website is represented by the metric “DR” or “Domain Rank”

    Not this number is not a definite number presented by Google. It is an indication, a ‘benchmark’ figure ahrefs has developed according to their algorithms.

    No software can claim to have the most 100% accurate domain authority figure, though reputable software such as ahrefs comes pretty close in terms of their assessment of authoritative websites.

    Another thing to keep in mind is to approach websites within the same niche as yours.

    I have already spoken about the importance of link relevancy but it is worth highlighting again.

    Attaining a link from a completely irrelevant website, though it may have incredible domain authority, will not help you.

    This rule has been put in place in order to prevent spammy efforts in establishing a backlink profile.

    In the past, there have been many instances of websites climbing the search result ranks using ‘blackhat’ techniques that which involved getting links from any website with impressive domain authority.

    Google was quick to penalise this because, as I mentioned earlier, the logic behind backlinks is to help broaden the information being presented on a particular web page about the topic in question.

    So approach websites in the same playing field as you and make sure they are related to your niche!

    Now, this does pose a problem:

    How many link opportunities do you think there are from websites that are 100% related to your niche?

    The sad answer to that is, not many, unfortunately.

    If you broaden your outreach to include websites that are slightly related to your niche you do present yourself with many more link building opportunities.

    Achieving a backlink from a 100% relatable website is ideal.

    Achieving a backlink from a website that is slightly related to your niche, though it is not ideal, can still provide you with some nourishing backlink juice.

    You should obviously prioritise your efforts by focusing most of your energy in reaching out to 100% relevant websites and less of your time (but still a substantial amount of it) reaching out to less relevant websites.

    Ok, so let’s say you’ve written your linkable content.

    What is the ACTUAL step-by-step process of reaching out to website owners and asking for a backlink?

    Walk with me:

    For this illustration, I will be sticking to the software ahrefs.

    Click on “keyword explorer”

    Enter the primary keywords of your skyscraper content.

    Scroll down to the “competitors” section and click on the hyperlinked backlinks number for the top result.

     

    You can then sort this list by domain authority, or domain rank.

     

    With this list sorted you can then start finding the contact details of the web managers for each of these websites.

    You shouldn’t worry too much checking whether each one is ultra-prestigious if you notice a highly recognisable brand name (like at the level of Nike) just skip that one if you are not at that level yet and move onto the next.
    Make sure you do, however, check the relevancy of each website; only focus on websites within the same niche as your, or similar.

    Use the tool Hunter to find the contact details of the website owners.

    If you cannot find the contact details, simply submit a request via the contact form on their website.

    Once you have all the contact details it’s time to send each web manager an email.

    *gulp*

    Don’t worry I have written the following template for you to use:

    Subject line: Re: Question regarding [Your niche].

    Body:

    Hi [First Name]

    I was reading through [title of the page on their website that links to blog] and I noticed that you link to the blog – [name of blog].

    I just wanted to let you know that I have also written a blog on the same topic, except mines is, well much much better!

    I know your visitors would love the added value my blog will provide to your article if you were to also link to my blog.

    Would you like me to send you a link to my blog for perusal?

    Looking forward to your reply!
    [Your name]

    This email template has been specifically designed to be as impactful as possible.

    First of all, the inclusion of “Re” in the subject lines makes the recipient think that this is an email response to an email they have sent.

    This increases the chances of the email being opened.

    By crafting the subject lines in such a way, you also make it seem more natural and less spammy.

    Definitely avoid email subjects lines formatted in the following way:

    “Hey [Firstname]!”

    “Can you help me [Firstname]?”

    “Link to my blog please” – this one is just terrible!

    Secondly, by not supplying a link to your blog in this initial email you are creating a heightened sense of intrigue.

    This makes the recipient more likely to respond and ask to take a look at the blog.

    Thirdly, you are not being ‘cruel’ by asking them to replace your competitor’s link, you are asking them to link to your blog as well as theirs,

    If after taking a look at your blog they decide to link to yours instead of your competitor, thats an incredible win.

    If they decide to link to your blog and retain the link to your competitor’s blog, you do not lose anything at all, except you gain a highly qualified backlink!

    So it’s win-win!

    After you have sent a link to your blog, wait 1-2 days for them to reply.

    If they don’t reply, just hit them up with a follow-up email like so:

    Follow Up Email:

    Hey [Firstname],

    Just touching base on the blog I sent, have you had a chance to look over it?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    [Your name]

    Another great method of achieving backlinks is by strategically linking out to websites in your blog post and then reaching out to them to ask them to return the favour.

    When choosing the best websites to link out to, use ahrefs to asses the domain authority of a website and only link to websites within the same niche as yours.

    Then after you have created your post, you can use the same outreach methods we outlined above to find the contact details of each website you link out to.

    The email you send to these people will be different to the email outlined above.

    Here is a template for you to use:

    Subject Line: Re: Details about [Name of blog topic you are linking to]

    Body:

    Hi [Firstname],

    Just wanted to let you know that in my latest blog post I linked to your blog [title of blog].

    I thought your blog was great and it added a tonne of value to my blog.

    I have also taken alot of time to write an incredible blog in the [name of niche]

    It is titled [title of your blog].

    Would you like me to send you a link to it for your perusal?

    If you see value in my blog, I would warmly welcome a link back to it

    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    [Your Name]

    Again this email is strategically crafted for maximum impact.

    In the body you ask if they would like to receive a link to your blog.

    By asking first and not simply including it, you are demonstrating the respect you have for the time of the recipient by not simply assuming that they would like to take a look at your blog.

    Also by stating

    “If you see value in my blog, I would warmly welcome a link back to it”

    You are, again, creating a sense of intrigue.

    Would you not want to also read a blog that you might see value in?

    Of course, you would!

    Besides creating the most irresistible written content on the planet, there is something else you can do add an extra level of link-worthy-ness to your content.

    And this will help your backlink profile grow like wildfire!

    Create an infographic!

    Everybody LOVES inforgaphics

    And everyone loves to link to and share infographics!

    Here is proof of this incredible value of infographics:

    Take a look at the titles of these search results for the search term

    “How to record a podcast”

     

    These results are mentioned in their titles they they contain infographics.

    Now why would they take up valuable page title real estate to let viewers know that they have an infographic if they were not a sought after entity?

    In this fast paced world of information overload, an infographic stand out because the summarise a whole heap of information in a single graphic.

    Because they are quick to read and help viewers absorb vast amounts of information as quickly as possible, they are relished.

    If your content contains an infographic, selling it to prospective link-ers becomes much easier.

    Your email templates would only need to be slightly modified:

    Email 1 (Pure Outreach):

    Subject line: Re: Question regarding [Your niche].

    Body:

    Hi [First Name]

    I was reading through [title of the page on their website that links to blog] and I noticed that you link to the blog – [name of blog].

    I just wanted to let you know that I have also written a blog on the same topic, except mines is, well much much better!

    Mine also contains a fun Infographic!

    I know your visitors would love the added value my blog will provide to your article if you were to also link to my blog.

    Would you like me to send you a link to my blog for perusal?

    Looking forward to your reply!
    [Your name]

    Email 2 (Outreach to linked to blogs):

    Subject Line: Re: Details about [Name of blog topic you are linking to]

    Body:

    Hi [Firstname],

    Just wanted to let you know that in my latest blog post I linked to your blog [title of blog].

    I thought your blog was great and it added a tonne of value to my blog.

    I have also taken alot of time to write an incredible blog in the [name of niche]

    It is titled [title of your blog], and it also contains a great infographic!

    Would you like me to send you a link to it for your perusal?

    If you see value in my blog, I would warmly welcome a link back to it

    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    [Your Name].

    When it comes to creating your infographic a great online tool you can use is Canva

    This tool has alot of pre-created infographic templates, so you can simply choose different elements of it and edit them accordingly.

    Or you can create an entire infographic from scratch.

    This tool is also FREE, although some graphical elements require payment, but alot of the time you can make do with using just the free elements.

    One final important point to add about backlinks is to make sure they are either exact match or partial match links.

    When a prospect agrees to link to your website you can request the type of anchor text you prefer.

    If you want to go above and beyond, you can even create a suggested anchor text and specify the point in the blog you think an outbound link would work best.

    You could phrase your suggestion like so

    “A perfect place for you to add this outbound link is in this section

    [copy and paste sentences from their blog]

    For your convenience I have written the anchor text for you

    [insert your suggested anchor text]

    Webmasters will greatly appreciate the fact that you have mad their linking efforts as simple as possible.

    Also by basically spoon feeding them the process you increase your chances of them inserting your backlink as soon as possible.

    Conclusion

    When it comes to climbing the local search ranks it is a matter of establishing a solid foundation and then building upon that foundation with some extra fancy effort.

    Let’s recap.

    Build a Solid Foundation – Create a Google My Business Profile.

    Create a Google My Business profile and make sure it is fully optimised.

    By optimised I mean:

    Choose the most accurate category (both primary and secondary)

    Write a description that follows Google’s guidelines while at the same time creates a sense of intrigue within your prospects.

    For maximum effect, try to incorporate humour into your description too!

    Fluff up your Google My Business Profile by listing all of your business attributes.

    Get reviews – lots of them
    Respond to reviews (good and bad)

    Create posts on your Google My Business profile to announce updates and promote sales.

    Build upon your foundation.

    Create a website and append it to yoru Google My Business profile.

    SEO optimise your website:

    Optimise your home page and/or location pages for local search.

    Create exact match or partial match backlinks to your website to build your site authority.

    Outreach to websites within your niche.

    OUtreach to websites that are already linking out to similar content and convince them to also link to yours.

    Create an inforgaphic to make your content as link-worthy as possible.

    If you follow these guidelines you will, not only climb the ranks for local searches related to your business, but you will retain that #1 position and be very difficult to overtake.

    Now go and create the best possible content imaginable and enjoy your well earned #1 position

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