Are you trying to improve your Local Search Results? We can help you with that. We are going to give you an amazing checklist to IMPROVE YOUR RANK.

To see the full list of Google Local SEO Ranking Factors Click Here.

What I’ve got for you: Here’s a Google Local SEO Checklist for you to download and use.

What it will do for you: You can use this to dominate your competition.

Who am I: I’ve done SEO for some of the biggest websites in the world – with more that 12 million visits per month and 6 million pages per year. I’ve been doing SEO for over a decade (before it was called SEO) and I’ve also managed Digital Marketing Budgets of over 1.5 million per year (just in ad spend). Including clients like AT&T, Chevy and others.

What to do next: Download your free Google Local Checklist Here: (or copy and paste it where ever you’d like).  

When you are trying to find the truth I always recommend you go to the correct source (in this case Google). So I am going to take their own words and show several actions to improve your rank based exactly on what they say to do here:  What Google Says To Do To Improve Google Maps Rank

Improve your local ranking on Google (Google Maps SEO)

Related Facts: Here’s what Google says:

How Google determines local ranking:

Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.  

 

Relevance

Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.

Distance

Just like it sounds–how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.

Prominence

Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.

Improve your local ranking on Google (Google Maps SEO)

 

Secret Tip: It’s always a good idea to mimic what is currently working, so look don’t listen and copy what the #1 guys are doing. We have worked with hundreds of clients so these tips are fairly legitimate: 

 

Relevance:

  • Claim your listing if you have not done so already. 
  • Don’t use a PO Box. Pre-Google your address and see how it already comes up in Google Maps. Copy and paste Google’s and use it for yours. Add unique Suite Number on Line #2.
  • Multiple locations should each have their own listing – and LOCAL phone number (as opposed to all using the same 800 number) we recommend local phone numbers based on the city’s area code (another factor Google can check your local location with).
  • Do not stuff your business name with keywords – create a business name that is obvious to visitors.
  • Google recommends using your business name exactly as it appears on your business card – but if you only use your brand no one will know.

“Smiles” by itself will get very few clicks we recommend:

“Smiles Dentist Los Angeles” would give a better user experience. 

  • Enter your complete physical address. The information should match your Name Address and Phone Number.
  • Do you have a service only business or a location? If Service-area business – choose that option. Google will not display your address but will use the area in miles you provide.
  • Enter your local phone number. We recommend phone numbers with area codes in the city you service. Do not use toll-free numbers or tracking numbers.
  • Enter the URL of your website exactly -visit the page you want and cut and paste it into this field. If you have multiple locations – link each GMB page to the page for that location.
  • Choose the categories that best suit your business. Make sure to pay attention if your products/services vary by location.
  • Add photos of the interior & exterior of your business. Don’t use royalty free stock images. Go with real – unique photos (from your phone if you must) the bigger the images the better. Real images always work better. They build trust with Google and your customers.
  • Add additional information – such as prices and services by location.
  • Add hours of operation – Important – keep your hours identical on all listings and your website.
  • Business Description – Frontload the city you wish to rank. Important make this around one paragraph long. Use the city and state in your description. Example (Notice all of the city words and location. This is currently number 1 for Dentist Los Angeles) I recommend you try and match this: 

 

(Search = Dentist Los Angeles) 

 

From Dr. Bill Dorfman DDS – Century City Aesthetic Dentistry

“Los Angeles cosmetic and sedation dentist Dr. Bill Dorfman practices all aspects of dentistry and creates beautiful smiles with cutting-edge cosmetic dentistry. We offer a full range of cosmetic dentistry options, including Invisalign clear braces, porcelain veneers, and dental implants. We also offer sedation dentistry in the Los Angeles area, so you can be relaxed and comfortable during your procedures. Dr. Dorfman understands that you are looking for a Los Angeles dentist who will listen to precisely what you would like to accomplish with your cosmetic dental procedure while still maintaining the function and health of your dentition. We also understand that your privacy is of paramount importance and your time is valuable. Call today!” 

  • Optimize Your Website Content for Google Local SEO (Match the URL with the Title of Your Business) Your page should have your Business Name, Address and Phone Number Matching Google’s listing exactly.
  • The content of each page should be unique – no duplicate content. All content should support the theme and topic of that page.
  • Aim to have 500+ words of local content per page make each page locally optimized with a few city names in the content – (add 3 areas / cities around your location to the pages) example: Top Dentist in Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank, California.
  • Have your Full Google Maps Name, Address, Phone Number (identical to Google Maps) as well as your hours of operation. I recommend you copy and paste it into your footer.
  • Above all – make sure your content is readable (not images or screenshots). It should be written for people – not computers. 

 

Distance: 

  • You should have an address in the city you are trying to rank for.
  • Embed Google Maps Driving Directions from Local Places such as the Local Airport.
  • Add the city Marker in Google Maps
  • Add Suite Number in Line 2 Of the Address
  • For multiple locations – embed a Google map of each location on its proper landing page.
  • Verify that your address and phone number is easy to find.
  • Customers should not have to look for your contact information.
  • If you have one location – embed your Google map on your Contact page.
  • For multiple locations – embed a Google map of each location on its proper landing page.
  • Verify that your address and phone number is easy to find.
  • Customers should not have to look for your contact information.
  • Address Above the Fold: Your Address should be easy to find – no matter where they are on your website. I always start with ensuring it can be seen on the front page without scrolling on both mobile and desktop.
  • Optimize Your Title Tags with Brand & City.

Prominence:

IMPROVE YOUR CLICK THROUGH RATE ON EACH PAGE: 

  • Use Google Webmaster Tools to Track and Improve Each Page’s Click-Through-Rate. 
  • Copy the #1 Search Result you wish to rank for.
  • Your title tag dictates what will display on Google when someone searches your keywords.
  • Write unique titles for each page on your site. Include your primary (local) keyword for that page.
  • Keep each title to less than 60 characters. This ensures it will display correctly in Google Search Results. By optimizing title tags – users and Google have a clear idea of what your page is about.
  • Match On-Page Content to Meta Descriptions
  • Write clear meta descriptions for every page – using local keywords as natural.
  • Write clear meta descriptions for every page – using local keywords as natural.
  • Keep your descriptions from 130-165 characters. Include keywords and city – without being spammy.
  • A poorly-written meta description can hurt your click thru rate. Be concise – clear – accurate – & include a call to action. 

On the Landing Page – Optimize Your Heading Tags

  • Heading tags help to format the content on your site – for search engines & users.
  • Put a single H1 tag on each page – Important – Focus on One Keyword Per Page.
  • Try and have 500+ quality Text Per Page. Do not copy and paste from another site. Rewrite content as needed but it must be unique.
  • Include your primary keyword in it – preferably toward the front. Using H1 headings correctly helps Google identify your most important keywords and the topic of each page.
  • Use several H2 and H3 headings as needed.

“SCHEMA” Code – AKA: Structured Markup

“Schema markup”  is code that allows you to add relevant information about your business specifically for search engines.

  • Add structured data markup to your homepage if you have only one location.
  • If you have several locations – put local business schema on each location’s page.
  • It is easy to add schema markup – & it can make a big difference in your on-page search engine marketing. 

REPLY TO ALL ONLINE REVIEWS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE

  • Create a fast reply time – so you respond quickly to all reviews.
  • Request reviews when your clients are happiest (right after service is ideal).
  • Text messaging is great – we can help you put this on automatic. 

Make sure your local business is listed on major review platforms. These include:

  • Yelp (match your hours exactly)
  • Angie’s List
  • Facebook Local
  • LinkedIn
  • Bing my Business
  • WebMD (for Doctors)
  • Any other you find for #1 Ranking Competitors
  • Identify any industry-specific or local review sites and claim your listings there – too.
  • If you have job openings – these can be great for local SEO too
  • Assign someone to monitor your online reviews. All customer reviews deserve a response – even good ones.
  • With positive reviews – you can simply thank the customer and say you hope to see them again.
  • With negative reviews – apologize for their bad experience. Then – reach out to them privately and resolve the issue. In many cases – this will inspire the reviewer to revise their review.
  • Sue an automatic system to ask for reviews from your customers at the best time. Note – some websites like Yelp have rules against asking for reviews.
  • Put links to your review pages on your web site to make it easy for people to write reviews.
  • All responses to reviews should be Short, FAST, professional and timely.

Verify Name, Address, Phone Number and Operating Hours Consistency

NAP = name address phone number

  • Your name – address and phone number should be on each page of your site.
  • NAP consistency plays a significant role in rankings.
  • If you have multiple locations – create a unique page for each one. Then – put the NAP listing of the location in the footer of its page.
  • Build Local Citations (City Chamber of Commerce) – search City+Directories in Google to find more local directories to list in. Avoid junky directories with low traffic & Spammy ads and words on them.
  • Create a unique local citation for each business’s location. Include the physical address and phone number.
  • Eliminate any listings that use a PO Box. Only physical addresses help with local SEO.
  • Standardize all abbreviations. If you use Ave instead of Avenue – do it consistently.
  • Google your phone number. Locate inaccurate or duplicate listings.
  • Contact pages and webmasters for inaccurate listings. When possible – correct them. If not – have them deleted.

Submit your details to these four data aggregates:

  • Acxiom
  • Factual
  • Infogroup
  • Neustar/Localeze.
  • Find niche directories and submit your website and citation to them. Examples include Yellow Book and Superpages. There may be others relevant to your industry and location.
  • Get listed in local business listings
  • Avoid Spammy Directories 

Google Local SEO and Link Building

Local link building gives your site authority and makes it easy for customers to find you.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Google Your Industry + Blogs Make a List of 100.
  • Google Your City + Blogs – Make a List of 100.
  • Google Your Industry + Groups and Make a List of 100.
  • Contact each of these local blogs – offer to collaborate + Refer Business
  • Make a List of 100 Local Businesses.
  • Contact them & Offer to mutually link to them and refer business
  • Connect with other local business owners. Create partnerships to help one another out.
  • Join your city’s Chamber of Commerce and get listed on their site.
  • Join the local BBB chapter and get your site listed there – too.
  • Attend and sponsor local events and get your local business listed on the websites.
  • Build relationships with local media outlets. Submit press releases when something notable happens to your company. ­
  • Continue to Complete Your Information: 

 Google Ranking Still Not in the TOP 3?

  • Continue to enter complete data & post regularly on Google-My-Business Follow Google’s Local SEO steps:  

     

  • Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.

  • Make sure that you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you.

  • Provide information like (but not limited to) your physical address, phone number, category, and attributes.

  • Make sure to keep this information updated as your business changes. Learn how to edit your business information

  • Don’t change your ours constantly – make sure other sites have the exact same hours as Google. 

  • Keep your hours accurate on Yelp, Facebook and Others. 
    Entering and updating your opening hours, including special hours for holidays and special events, lets potential customers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that when they travel to your location, it will be open. Learn how to edit your hours 

  • Manage and respond to reviews
    Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews. Learn more. 

  • Add photos. 

  • Adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services, and can help you tell the story of your business. Accurate and appealing pictures may also show potential customers that your business offers what they’re searching for. Learn more. 

Can’t find your business on Google?

Here’s what they say to do: 

By creating a Google My Business listing, your business information can show up in Maps, Search, and other Google properties.

If you’ve already created a listing, there are a few common reasons that you may not see your business on Maps and Search:

  1. Your business isn’t verified.The business information you provide us with won’t be eligible to appear on Google until you verify your business by following these instructions.
  2. Your business appears on Google Maps, but doesn’t always appear in search results.Your business information’s placement in search results will vary, but having correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date business information is the most effective way to ensure the best possible ranking.

    Learn more about ranking and search results and how Google uses business information.

  3. You recently added or edited your business information.Our search results are based on algorithms that take a wide range of factors into account. When you make changes to your business information, it may shift that balance a bit. Your changes may take up to 3 days to appear.

    You should still be able to find your business after making edits by searching for it by name on Google Maps.

  4. Your business information doesn’t comply with our guidelines.Following these guidelines helps avoid common problems, including changes to your information, or, in some cases, removal of your business information from Google.

    You’ll know that you’ve violated the guidelines if you see a message on your Google My Business dashboard informing you that your business information has been disabled or suspended. Once you’re sure that your business follows these guidelines, contact us for help getting your business information live.​ 

Google Local SEO in 2019 - Amazing Simple Checklist by