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How to Rank in the Google Map Pack

Local SEO is essential to your overall search marketing. If you run a local business like a coffee shop or boutique store, you want your site to be directed to your specialized community. You can prioritize those target customers with the help of Google Map Pack SEO practices.

When you become more visible on Google Map searches, you are automatically going to bring more people through the doors of your business. Ranking in the Google Map Pack is a process that takes strategy and specificity, but it can bring loads of success for your company.

What is the Google Map Pack?

Picture this: You’re going to look for a fun, local restaurant. What is the first thing you do? Google “local food near me.” The search engine will load multiple options, but three businesses will be highlighted at the top by the image of Google Maps.

Each of these listings appears with details about the restaurant like its address, a summary of the location, ratings, business hours, and a photo. This is prime real estate on the Google search engine results page (SERP). You may also hear the Google Map Pack referred to as the Google Local Pack or the Google 3 Pack Ranking.

Having your local business appear on this list of results is a make or break for your organization. Almost 50% of clicks on the SERP go to businesses on the Google Map Pack. Underneath these images will be traditional text-only links which can seem less enticing to potential customers. For this reason, the Google Map Pack is the coveted spot that you should aspire to get to with your business.

How Does the Google Map Pack Work?

Google Map 3 Pack

Years ago, your search engine results would show seven companies within the Google Map Pack. As more and more people perform searches on their phones, Google lowered the results to only three businesses to make viewing simpler for mobile users.

When you search, the SERP will automatically show you three organic results. Others may be sponsored or paid ads that appear over these suggestions, but those can be less effective for harnessing new business.

Google bases which three get the coveted spots based on location, relevance, quality, and the reputation of the websites. Remember, SEO is a constantly evolving field that adapts to new developments that search engines implement. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, you can improve these three primary areas that do affect the Google Map Pack.

  1. Connect to Google My Business
  2. Harness the power of online reviews
  3. Maintain your web listings with relevant information

These are the different elements that contribute to your overall local SEO and Google Map Pack ranking in particular.

Benefits of Ranking in the Map Pack

There are tremendous benefits of ranking in the Google Map Pack. The world is full of individuals and customers who prioritize ease and convenience over everything. Draw them into your business by leading them to it in the simplest way possible.

When you appear in the big three at the top of the Map Pack, you are right there. Customers can see your address, hours, reviews, and even pictures without even having to scroll on their phones. It has been proven that they are more likely to click on one of those three options without continuing to search.

SEO is all about creating organic success for your website on SERPs. Even if you work hard to get your site high on the text-based results, you’re still going to fall behind other businesses in that coveted Map Pack spot. At the end of the day, Google Map Pack ranked sites get 40%-60% of the initial clicks on any given search. Those are huge numbers to ignore.

Beyond just clicks on your site, you can expect more phone calls and inquiries when you are ranked on the 3-pack. These results actually do impact potential customers buying decisions. Your phone information and address will be right next to your business name, so once again, this makes things exceedingly easy for customers. They’ll be able to click on the map to see how far away you are from their location or call in with the click of a button.

You can also link to social media and direct target customers to further reviews and information on those platforms. It truly is incredible how interconnected everything is on your smartphone. Take advantage of that and benefit from the ease and convenience you can bring to your customers.

Being on the Google Map Pack promotes your business in ways a traditional link won’t be able to do. Customers don’t have to click on your website to get information. The highlights will be listed right there on the search result page. One of the biggest benefits to this is the visibility of Google Reviews. Your stars are listed right there under your company name, and people will be able to directly read other customers’ positive responses.

Do note that this typically means you need to watch your reviews and strive for as many positive ones as possible. This element will actually help you rank higher and become more likely to make it on the Google Map Pack.

3 Tips for Getting in the Google Map Pack

Google has specific patterns and algorithms that help determine what businesses and websites rank higher on its SERPs. These can be difficult to navigate because there no surefire guarantee that one technique will work vs. another effort.

However, SEO experts continue to work diligently to master Google as a platform and help your business thrive. If learning how to rank in Google Map Pack is important to you (which it should be), you can rely on some of these specific techniques to improve your chances of landing a top spot.

1. Improve your Google My Business account

It’s almost impossible to run a business when no one knows where you are located or how to get in contact with you. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to search a business and not be able to find their address, phone number, or even the official business name?

To combat these problems, you’ll need to be sure to follow up with Google My Business. This is the mechanism that allows you to update and input business information for your company on Google. The process is relatively simple, but incredibly vital. Go into the current listings, verify your information, and claim your business.

From there, you’ll be able to update the company name, add an address, pick a specific business category, and much more. Overall, this is an essential step to help guarantee the right, most updated information is on the internet about your specific business so it can move into the Google 3-Pack.

While Google My Business is important for any company, it is essential for brick-and-mortar stores. Web transactions can take place from anywhere and be shipped to customers. However, if you’re a local business, you need to be sure people can find your address and information. Updating these details will help prove you’re available and ready for the Google Map Pack.

While these two entities are quite different, they are mutually beneficial for you to get your business elevated on search engines. Read below for more information about the difference between Google My Business and the Google Map Pack.

2. Work to grow your online reviews

Google My Business Reviews

You’ve already read a bit about the importance of reviews, so you won’t be surprised that this is the next essential step to improve your Google Map Pack rankings.

Customers tend to rely on reviews to get a good feel for certain businesses. Research has shown that people are less likely to trust businesses with average reviews under four or five stars. They’re also less likely to trust a business with very few reviews. Therefore, having more reviews and higher ratings will absolutely help you look like a more credible website and move up the rankings with Google.

So how do you actually generate more online reviews? Look for more organic ways to encourage this kind of positive customer feedback. Start by creating easy mechanisms for leaving reviews. Add a button on your website, post a promotion on social media that encourages feedback, or send a well-timed email after someone purchases an item from your store. You can even direct customers straight to the Google review link so that feedback automatically appears on your Google Listing.

Perhaps the best way to encourage positive reviews is by providing exceptional service. The more you can impress your guests, the higher the chance you’ll get positive reviews. Also, remember how important it is to avoid negative reviews. They can drag down your Google rating which will ultimately hurt your chances to end up on the Google Map Pack.

3. Focus on location information and local citations

local citation

Local SEO goes beyond the basics techniques you may have already implemented. While creating backlinks and optimizing your content is essential, you will need to go a step further to get on the Google Map Pack. It’s time to start focusing on location information and local citations.

This step is mainly for companies with one location or a few in a specific area. It may seem redundant, but the more you can include your address and location information, the better. Restructure your website so you have that intel on every page. Include operating hours, special promotions, local news, and other ways to connect to your community.

You can even add your own Google Maps app to your “About Us” page so people know exactly where to find you. Digital search engines like Google acknowledge this information and see your site as more credible compared to other local businesses. This will also help direct your SEO efforts to that specific city or town.

The more you can connect your brand with a certain city, the more likely you are to climb up the ranks. Connect with sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and even the online Yellow Pages. Many people rely on these sites as credible sources.

Staying consistent within these sites, local blogs, and even your community’s social media pages will help increase your visibility. The more your website or brand is mentioned, the more likely it is to be on Google’s radar. Work to target these SEO strategies to a local area to improve your Google Map Pack ranking.

Google My Business vs. Google Map Pack

Think of Google My Business (GMB) as a tool and the Google Map Pack as a goal. The GMB gives you opportunities to set the record straight about your business and promote it the way you see fit. There can be so many inconsistencies online, which can harm your company.

Logging on to create a GMB account gives you the opportunity to rewrite the narrative. Adjust your business name so it is clear and succinct without keyword stuffing. Correct issues with your important company data like names, hours, and contact information. Add photos that make your company look compelling and enticing. GMB puts you back in the driver’s seat when it comes to how you want your business to be perceived.

Google Map Pack on the other hand still leaves control in the hands of the search engine. The goal is to make it onto the Map Pack and stay there, but it isn’t a consistent thing. You also have to continuously update your GMB to improve your overall SEO practices to reach this end goal.

General SEO Practices & How They Help with Google Map Pack

Getting onto the Google Map Pack is an important goal, and SEO is a powerful tool that can help you reach that milestone. Beyond specific strategies to get on the 3-Pack, you also want to prioritize your general SEO practices. Start by creating a better web design and investing in backlinks. By optimizing and creating great content directly on your site, you’re setting yourself up for success. When you can’t completely control how Google operates, you start by simply controlling what you can control: your own content.

One of the first steps to take is improving and optimizing your web content. This includes creating high-quality content full of keywords and technical SEO elements. Streamline your title tags, rework any meta-descriptions, and create cultivated blog posts and product descriptions. Include pictures and local elements that help your site score higher in those areas. This will help eliminate any clutter while allowing Google to browse and understand your content instantly. Start by simply reviewing your site to find opportunities for growth and improvement.

The simple truth is this: if you aren’t committing to SEO practices, you’re falling behind other companies who are improving their websites in this way. The expansion of digital marketing has created intense competition for any business to garner hits and increase visibility. If you want to have a chance to make it onto the Google Map Pack, you need to be taking advantage of every strategy you can. Start connecting with GMB, engage your local community through reviews, and work to optimize your site in the best way. Local SEO practices can make a huge difference to your business totals and overall sales numbers.

Climbing onto the Google Map Pack may seem like an intimidating task, but it is extremely doable. With the right team, tools, and determination, you can help your local business achieve this milestone. Sign up today to receive a consultation and start taking steps to grow your customer base.

A Complete Guide to Schema Markup

Some webmasters can get intimidated when it comes to working on the backend of their websites. But the metadata you include on the page (and how it’s formatted) can have a significant impact on your SEO performance. Of the many types of SEO-friendly metadata, one of the most powerful is schema.org markup.

Schema markup is a form of structured data that helps search engines read your web pages better. It also improves the appearance and click-ability of your search result. Anyone can add schema.org markup to their website, and you don’t have to be a web developer to do it.

Here’s a complete guide to understanding the SEO power of this data markup and a detailed explanation about how to add it to your website.

What is Schema Markup?

Structured Data Markup

In simple terms, schema markup is a type of semantic vocabulary code. You can place it on your website to help search engines create more informative and relevant results for users.

On the backend of your website, schema.org markup is a specific type of structured data in your HTML code. On the front end, that schema markup results in a rich result in Google, or a prominent SERP display that provides more information and context for your audience.

Types of rich results

A normal snippet in the search engine result pages (also known as the SERPs), shows very basic information about the website such as the title of the page, the URL, and the meta description.

A rich snippet is a bit more complex and includes additional information highly relevant to search intent that you want to appear within the SERPs. Some examples of rich snippet information include hours of operation, star ratings, event details, and ingredients for a recipe. Schema is the code that allows for the rich snippet to populate with this extra information on the search result pages.

In order to use schema markup properly, you need to use a specific vocabulary of data. Luckily, the main search engines Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yandex, created this vocabulary in a centralized website, schema.org. They did so in order to reach a main standard of language so their search engines can perform properly.

This is a free resource and is used by digital marketing analysts to propel their website to better rankings and more clicks. On schema.org, you’ll be able to find plenty of tags, with specific categories, that can help you describe your business, products, reviews, job postings, and contact pages. We’ll get into this in more detail later on in this article.

SEO Benefits of Schema.org

There are many SEO benefits to utilizing schema.org vocabulary. Despite the benefits, it’s estimated that only 33% of markets are actually utilizing this powerful optimization. By adding schema markup to your site, you will be level up against your competitors in a variety of ways. Here are some of the benefits:

Schema tells the search engines what the data means.

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Think of schema as a way to translate to the search engines what the data on your website means.

Search engines work through a process of crawling and indexing websites. Through this, they can populate those web pages within the SERPs when a specific keyword is entered into the search bar. However, there’s more to crawling a website than simply reading the text on a website.

Instead, you need to make sure your website’s HTML code and format can be read correctly. As a result, the information you want about your website is displayed properly. Schema is a free tool that does just that.

Schema is a data type that creates informative results.

Consumers have very short attention spans. In order to stand out in Google, you’ll have to give your prospective audience information in the method they want it, and when they want it. All this extra information, provided by schema vocabulary, provides what is known as an “enhanced search result.”

Businesses, especially local businesses, only have a few seconds to make a good impression, and providing as much informative text as possible can mean all the difference when it comes to converting potential customers.

Schema improves your webpage’s click-through rate (ctr).

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As stated above, the more informative your website is within the SERPs, the easier it is to improve one of the most important metrics for your website, your click-through rate. Creating multiple web pages can only work so well unless they are converting the consumers you need!

There’s more to digital marketing than creating content and putting it on a web page. You have to make sure each page works towards a specific marketing goal. Your about me page will have a different goal than your homepage, your blog posts, and your services page.

Schema is one of the easiest ways to help each page stand out on its own in Google search results. Since each page has a specific function, there are different schema types that relay different information in the rich search results. As a result, prospective consumers will be given more specific information for each web page they find. This increases the likelihood they will click through to your website and convert.

Schema boosts your local SEO efforts, especially on mobile.

We all know how important it is for our website to be mobile responsive, considering how many consumers use mobile devices to shop and scroll every single day. There’s a benefit to mobile rich snippets as they take up more space within the mobile SERPs, where real estate is more lucrative.

Local Business Schema Markup

When schema is implemented correctly, searches for certain types of local businesses, such as local restaurants and cafes, movie theaters, and small retail shops will pop up showing a full list of items within the rich snippet to educate their consumers.

These design elements are implemented in something that is known as a carousel, where the user can quickly scroll through and click to the right web page they are looking for. As a result, this type of metadata allows for your local business to take up a good chunk of the important mobile SERP real estate, boosting your brand authority and awareness.

Schema is a little-known secret in the marketing world.

Many businesses know about schema, but don’t always implement it. In fact, only one-third of Google search results incorporate rich snippets, which means they use this type of source code. On top of that, throughout the rest of the major search engines, less than one-third use any type of schema markup.

In other words, there are a ton of website owners out there – literally millions – that are missing out on this massive source of SEO potential. And if you use it, you’ll be on your way to standing out amongst your competitors in no time at all.

Most Popular Schema Markup Types

There are many different types of markups that you can use within the realm of the schema vocabulary. The goal is to structure the markup type to fit three categories; people, places, or things.

The most popular types of schema are used to indicate the following item types:

  • Articles
  • Events
  • People
  • Products
  • Organizations
  • Local Businesses
  • Product reviews
  • Medical conditions
  • Recipies
  • Breadcrumbs within the website
  • Job postings
  • FAQ pages
  • Job training
  • Books
  • Podcasts
  • How-to
  • Logos
  • Movies
  • Sitelinks search box
  • Subscription and paywall content
  • Videos
  • Image license metadata

Once added to your website, these pieces of microdata will be then turned into a rich snippet, or what is also known as a rich result.

One of the great details about schema code is that it is completely customizable to your brand and business no matter your industry. There is a lot of microdata that is implemented into schema code, so the above are just common themes. The following data vocabularies are more niche uses of schema, under the themes outlined above.

Creative Works

This is the library of markups that are used for multiple forms of creative content such as books, movies, video games, and music, to name a few examples. For websites about movies, its schema would have movie-specific elements that highlight the star rating, genre, and nearby theaters to watch the film.

RDFa

An RDFa is a language of code that is added to the HTML code that already exists on your web pages. It stands for Resource Descriptive Framework in Attributes, and you are able to add it to any HTML, XHTML, and XML-based document. Some examples of RDFa attributes include:

  • Rel and Rev; symbolizing a relationship and a reverse relationship with another resource.
  • About, which explains what the microdata is about.
  • Content; to override the content of the element when using the property attribute.
  • Datatype; to specify the type of datatype used when using the property attribute.
  • Typeof; to specify the type of RDFa used.

Microdata

Implementation for microdata is the same as RDFa, except for having separate attributes. You can use the following microdata attributes on your website;

  • Itemscope; this is when you create the item and thus you indicate what the rest of the element is about.
  • Itemtype; this is when you describe the item itself using the schema.org vocabulary.
  • Itemid; a unique identifier of the element.
  • Itemref; to reference specific properties within an element.

JSON-LD

Standing for Javascript Object Notation for Linked Objects, this is an annotation type that can be simply copied and pasted into the heading or the body tag of a web document. All you have to do is use the tags “@context” and “@type” attributes when specifying which schema.org vocabulary you want. According to SEO experts, it is pivotal to use this JSON-ld format as often as possible, as it is considered the easiest way to implement schema markup for beginners.

How to Choose the Right Schema Markup for Your Web Pages

In order to choose the right schema markup for your website, you will have to zoom out and consider your overall digital marketing strategy for each web page. You first need to figure out what web pages you will want to optimize, and what part of the schema.org vocabulary you’ll use to get the best organic traffic. But how?

The easiest way to think of schema as a way of telling a story on your website, a story that is told between multiple similar pages that all relate back to overall goals. Here are some tips that will help you decide what schema markup is the best for you.

1. Identify the key details of your business.

This may seem obvious, but in order to choose the right schema markup, you’ll need to determine what your business is all about, what search terms you want to rank for, and how you want to tell the world about them. Typically, this includes your contact information, products, product reviews, FAQS, and thought-leadership pieces about what your business does. Its a good idea to make a list of every page type on your website, and then categorize them based on what “business purpose” they fit into.

2. Map your web pages to the proper schema.org vocabulary.

Now take your list and map every single webpage to fit into the proper schema.org vocabulary. There are a few tools that help you do this ( we’ll get into them later!) but as of right now, take the time to meticulously map all your data out so you have everything in one place.

3. Evaluate each page for reoccurrence.

This is different than mapping your pages to each schema.org website option because this step is about recurrence. To figure this out, you can simply ask yourself the question ” does this page have content that is published somewhere else on the website?” If so, you’ll need to use a different data format for your schema implementation. A good rule of thumb is that if your website has more than 5 pages of similar content, then that content theme is recurring. If the content only appears once, it can be classified as a single page.

4. Connect your content.

You’ll now need to connect the dots between your metadata so you don’t have an empty text string. Your goal here is to create a knowledge graph so any search engine can easily read your website and understand the context between your content and how it all relates to one another.

When a search engine understands exactly who you are and what you do, you are sure to get an SEO boost. That’s because Google tends to show the most relevant information it can find within the first page of the organic search rankings for a query.

There are many tools that can help you connect your schema paths, such as this one from SchemaApp.

How to Use a Schema Markup Generator

Luckily, there are a lot of fantastic online tools to use when creating your website’s schema. LinkGraph’s Schema Markup Generator is one of these options and is an easy way to get boost your SEO efforts overnight. In most cases, these tools will write all of the code snippets you need, including HTML tags, and all you have to do is place them in the backend of your website.

LinkGraph's Schema Creator

Our markup generator is quite easy to use. Follow these steps for the best results:

  1. Login to your LinkGraph dashboard, here.
  2. Select “Schema Creator”
  3. Select the schema type you determined based on the page content you want to promote and input it into the field. For example, “local business.”
  4. You will get a javascript result, so copy and paste subsequent JSON-LD markup into the heading section of your web page.
  5. And there you go, you have successfully added schema to your website!

As a way to double-check your work, input your schema markup into Google’s rich results test tool. This test is a wonderful resource to use as it will identify if there are problems with your schema code, plus it will confirm whether or not Google is able to generate rich results from your markup.

In addition to Google’s data testing tool, here are some other options for checking your work:

  • SEMRush Audit Tool, which checks for markups and it tells you the percentage of your website that currently uses schema. This gives you information that can help you identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Google’s Content Markup Guide, made specifically for Creative Work schema in the goal to acquire more rich results.
  • Checking out any new releases from the Schema.org website to help you stay on top of industry updates.

Final Thoughts on Schema.org Markup and Rich Results

With all the free tools available to you, it is surprising how many businesses do not take advantage of the rich results that come with implementing the different types of schema markup. Even though it may seem a bit intimidating to work with schema code at first, these tools, especially your Schema Markup Generator can really help to elevate your website to the next level and increase your website rank for multiple keywords. And what more could you ask for?

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There’s plenty of options available to you, as long as you stay dedicated to learning. Remember, SEO is similar to a stock market; the effort you put into equates to what you get out of it, and schema is one of the best ways to stand out among your competitors.

As always, our team of SEO experts and web developers are here to help you with any and all of your schema needs. Contact us today for more information about how we can bring your website to new heights.

10 Small Business SEO Tips to Earn New Customers

As a small business owner, chances are you’ve already heard of search engine optimization (SEO). Regardless of your business’s size, it’s an incredibly important digital marketing technique. Knowing the importance of digital marketing is one thing, but actually having time to execute a comprehensive small business SEO strategy for your business is another. 

As a small business owner, you likely dedicate a lot of time to your company. You may not have a lot of time to spend on your SEO strategy. This is why it’s important to focus your SEO efforts on the tactics that can bring you the biggest bang for your buck. These small business SEO tips will help you earn new customers through organic search. 

First Off, What is SEO?

SEO

Simply put, SEO is the way of boosting your business’s online visibility by ranking in the search engine result pages (also known as the SERPs). Search engines are complex machines and they run on algorithms. These algorithms dictate how websites are read, categorized, and presented to the consumer based on their relevance to the user’s search query.

Google rankings change frequently, meaning your business can get to the top of the SERPs if you’re willing to do the work! However, search engines don’t release the ins and outs of their algorithms. This can make it tricky to know exactly why one web page ranks higher than another for a specific query. But don’t fret, this is where SEO best practices come in to play.

These tried and true digital marketing techniques have proven to bring the best results to small businesses like yours. 

1. Develop a Consistent Small Business Content Strategy

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The words content strategy may seem overwhelming to the business owner that is just starting out. But in reality, making a content strategy is much simpler than you may think. All you have to do is ask yourself the question: “What problems can I solve for my prospective customers and my target audience?”

To answer this question, you’ll need to think both creatively and practically. You’ll need to think about what your local customers need to know about your business. Also ask yourself how you are going to present that useful information.

When you do this, you’ll want to target consumers of all kinds. This includes brand new consumers figuring out who you are as a business to the existing consumers returning to your small business website.

Content Marketing = Small Business SEO Success

For some great examples of content marketing materials created by small businesses, read this article. There are so many different ways that small business owners can bring value to their potential customers. Also, content marketing materials easily rank in search engine results!

Some different content marketing materials that you could publish on your website, even with a small team include the following:

  • Blog Posts
  • Ebooks
  • Infographics
  • Gift Guides
  • Glossaries
  • Interviews
  • Product or Tutorial Videos
  • And more!

One of the greatest parts about SEO content is that it is one of the best ways to get creative with your brand awareness and authority. You know your customers the best, so feel free to get creative and develop both fun and informational ways of presenting great content.

The more information you produce means more landing pages on your website. This gives your website a better chance of showing up in multiple different Google search results. Not only do you want to provide relevant, up-to-date information to your customers, Google likes to see that you are consistently adding new content and information to your website

2. Optimize Your Meta Tags Properly

When you think about your content strategy, don’t forget to include the existing web pages on your site! Chances are, there are a good amount of usable web pages that just need to be optimized according to SEO best practices.

Content GIF

To ensure your page optimization is consistent across your entire website, you’ll need to focus on the following:

  • Title tags. The goal of the title tag is to let both the search engine and the consumer know exactly what the page is about. Also known as a meta tag, all title tags should be formatted the same, at the top of page, like this: <head><title>Example Title</title></head>, and be no longer than 60 characters. They should also include the target keyword, or a similar term, that you want the page to rank for.
  • Meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are summaries of what the web page is all about. They are displayed below the page title in your SERP result. The meta description should tell Google and the user the subject of the content. Meta descriptions should be short, sweet, and to the point, include a target keyword. Make sure it is no more than 160 characters long.
  • Heading tags. These are the visible page headlines on the web page. They give your content structure, and they are characterized by an HTML codes from H1 tag to H6 tags. Heading tags are easy ways to incorporate relevant keywords. They break up the content of the page into easily digestible chunks.

The best part about making these changes is that they don’t take a lot of time. They also pack quite a punch in the long run.

To create content that has an even better chance of ranking, use LinkGraph’s SEO Content Assistant. You can take it for a free spin for 7 days!

3. Set up a Google My Business Profile and Invest in Local SEO

Local SEO is one of the most powerful digital marketing techniques a small business can do to bolster their online presence, and best of all, it doesn’t require a huge marketing budget.

Google My Business is a free tool that helps to power the Google maps feature. So when potential customers search for a small business in their local area, the different local search results will produce your website’s contact information under the map feature.

Google Map Pack

Small business owners can include key information about their business in their GMB listing. Their GMB listing can also show up in a comprehensive panel when potential customers search for a small business by name. It can showcase reviews , products, or Q&As to help your small business look more attractive to anyone who discovers you in the search engine results pages.

As a small business, being promoted within the local listings is the goal, which is why local search is valuable. You’ll be included with different businesses of all sizes within this map pack, but when you incorporate local keywords to your website and really focus on local SEO best practices, you’ll have an effective way of standing out among your competition.

So why not take advantage of this free optimization that can lead to great SEO success and more credibility for your small business?

4. Use Online Review Websites to Boost your Small Business SEO

There’s more than just one way of finding your website online. Third-party review websites like Yelp can make or break your business.

Online Review GIF

As a general rule, consumers are incredibly reliant on online reviews and will search high and low through the web to find more information on your business. So with this in mind, it’s a great idea to use review websites to your advantage. You’ll want to create a business profile on as many websites as you can, and not only keep them updated but interact with your customers there!

Positive reviews and testimonials can be incredibly beneficial in letting potential clients know that there is a face to your small business behind the screen. In a sea full of local directories and plenty of businesses to choose from, your online reviews can be a make or break between converting a new customer or turning one away.

Make Sure to Respond to Online Reviews of your Small Business

So we recommend taking time on a weekly basis to comb through all of your local reviews and respond back to both negative and positive ones with a genuine response.

Notice how this small business owner responds to a reviewer who had both positive and negative feedback on their local business’s services.

Yelp Review

Even if there is a consumer with a bad experience, you have the ability to change their view of your small business by offering to make what went wrong, right. Potential customers will be able to see this as well, which can work wonders for your brand awareness and website conversion rate.

5. Conduct Keyword Research to Identify Gaps in Your Small Business Niche

Keyword Research

Keywords are not only the backbone of your Small Business SEO strategy, but when you use them properly on your website, you have a better chance of appearing on the first page of Google.

When Google crawlers discover your website, they look for relevant keywords that explain the purpose of the webpage and make it easy to figure out which industry you are in. This is why it is important to use a variety of keywords in all of your valuable content. This includes geo-tagged, local seo keywords, long-tail keywords and phrases, subtopics, and related topics.

But, as with many other white hat online marketing techniques, keyword research can feel like a large hurdle to get over. This is especially true if you are a small business just starting out.

So we recommend starting small and focusing on smaller, quicker wins. Sometimes, if you have a larger and more established competitor, it can be hard to rank for the same keywords as them. But as you build your site authority, this will become more doable in time.

Keyword research should be an ongoing, long-term strategy. Keyword rankings change often, so make sure to stay on top of how your keywords are performing on a monthly basis.

6. Dive Into the Technical SEO Waters

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Your website design may look good on the surface, with carefully selected pictures, colors, and fonts. However, your website’s aesthetics do not always correlate to having a website that looks appealing to Google crawlers on the backend. 

Potential customers love seeing bold graphics and fun designs. But these features won’t mean anything if the website doesn’t show up within a Google search! In order for a search engine to promote a web page in the SERPs, the website has to be technically sound. This is why it is incredibly important to invest in your technical SEO efforts.

Common Technical SEO Issues for Small Business Websites

Here are some of the more common technical SEO issues that you should focus your efforts on avoiding.

  • Coding errors, such as a forgotten closer tag.
  • Broken links, meaning when you click on a link, the link results in an error.
  • Slow site speed, which can be caused by a variety of different functionality issues like large images or too much text on a page.
  • HTTPS status codes, a security function that allows users to have access to your page.
  • Robots.txt files, which are used to index, or store, your pages on the search engine.
  • Canonical link elements, to help eliminate duplicate content
  • Keyword cannibalization, which is when you overuse a specific keyword to the point where a search engine can view its usage as spammy.

Think of your website’s functionality as the foundation to a strong working website. Without a steady foundation, your website will not be able to work to its full potential. Technical SEO is the bridge between a website that gets visitors and a website that can convert those visitors into customers.

7. Build Backlinks With Other Small Businesses

Link building is the process of optimizing both internal links within your website and external links coming and going from your website. Links are seen by search engines as a vote of confidence in your website. If another company is willing to put a link to your website on theirs, that is a symbol of trust.

Building up your backlink profile is one of the easiest ways to ensure your website shows up on the first page of search results. While link building may seem like a daunting prospect involving a lot of hard work, it doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to be a website owner with a huge online presence to run a successful link building campaign.

The first thing you’ll want to do is reach out to your local contacts. See if you can where you both put external links to the other’s websites on your page. Only reach out to website’s that have relevance to yours. Also, make sure they include the link on your page through an original piece of content.

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Utilizing your existing small company contacts is a great way to get good results without spending too much time and money on your marketing efforts.

After you have built up some local authority, you’ll have a good starting point to start reaching out to other social media accounts, bloggers, and higher ranking websites. However, it is important to know that not all links are created equally. It’s better to get one link from a quality website than multiple links from spammy, low-quality websites.

8. Create a Mobile-Friendly Small Business Website

Consider this, mobile phones are the dominant platform for online shopping, with 48% of buyers using a mobile device  to complete a purchase. Internet users are a vast and varied demographic, so in order to capture as much web traffic as possible, you’ll want to ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

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Think of a mobile phone being a SEO tool to use to your advantage. Also, consider the amount of potential consumers that may never get to your website if the website’s usability is only available on a desktop computer. User experience is everything when it comes to capturing your ideal customers and is a simple way to guarantee your website is accessible to all.

9. Set up Google Search Console and GSC Insights

Your SEO techniques won’t mean anything unless you have the ability to track your hard work. The best way to do so is by setting up your Google Search Console account and your LinkGraph GSC Insights dashboard. Google Search Console is a free platform, and GSC Insights offers limited versions of the platform that allow you to track your SEO performance.

Google Search Console shows you how your website is presented within the organic search results. This platform allows you to fix any crawl errors. You can also submit your sitemap and specific pages for indexing, and see which web pages are ranking highest in the SERPs.

GSC Insights gives you in-depth insights into your keyword rankings, impressions, and organic traffic that can help you iterate on your small business SEO strategy. All you have to do is link your Google Search Console account and you will have access to new insights and advanced data analysis.

10. Do Some Competitive Research

Do you have some really strong competitors in your local area?

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One of the best SEO tips is to do some competitive research and look at your competitor’s websites to see what they’re doing well, and use that to inspire your SEO process.

Take everything in, including the content promoted on their social platforms, if they use paid ads like Facebook ads and Google ads. See whether their content marketing team uses influencers, guest posting, local listings, and what keyword rankings they earn.

It’s always good to look at their internal linking structure and how their business information is displayed in the NAP results for Google My Business. Also see how their brand visibility is promoted in search results, social media pages, and other local listing pages. Write all the information you find out into a competitive analysis finding, and then you’ll be in a great place to start building your own customized local SEO strategy.

You don’t have to feel alone when implementing your small business SEO strategy. LinkGraph is here to help. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can accelerate growth and visibility for your small business.

Our team of SEO consultants offers many SEO services for small businesses that will help you get your website to a rank higher in Google. It is our goal to make your local business’s online visibility and organic results grow exponentially online, so trust in our team of experts to get you there.

4 Local SEO Tools to Boost Site Traffic and Foot Traffic

For any local business that wants to appear at the top of the SERP results, local SEO tools can help get you there. Local SEO has a lot of moving parts. But getting your website into local search rankings for your geographic area can be an affordable and efficient way to drive traffic to your website. It can also bring foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar store.

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People often search for local businesses near them on their mobile devices. If your business website shows up near the top of those results, that means more site visitors and potential customers.

To help you get started with a local SEO strategy, here are 4 helpful local SEO tools. By utilizing them, you can help your website rank higher for location-based queries.

#1: Local Search Results by LinkGraph

Does your website need to focus on content, backlinks, technical SEO, or UI/UX design? It will depend on your target keywords and the websites that are already ranking in the top positions.

Looking to your competitors can be a great way to understand what is necessary to rank on page 1. With the help of LinkGraph’s local search results tool, you can see local SERP results for any geographic region.

To use the tool, simply type in the keyword or search phrase and the geographic location where you want to see top-ranking SERP results. The tool will show you the search engine results for that specific region.

Local Search results tool from LinkGraph
Local search results for the keyword phrase “hvac companies near me,” in Austin, TX

For SEO professionals that provide services to clients outside of their geographic area, this tool makes it easy to understand their clients’ local markets.

For site owners who are creating location specific landing pages or targeting new markets, this tool can help you understand the local SERP competition in other geographic regions.

#2: Local Directory Scan

Local Director Scan tool
Local Directory Scan from LinkGraph

It’s hard to know how to improve your local SEO strategy if you don’t know where your website currently stands. The local directory scan is an SEO tool that lets you identify where your local business is currently listed on major third-party review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or TrustPilot. It will also identify the business listings or local citations you have already secured.

Local search has different ranking factors than other types of searches. One of the primary factors is local citations. They are essential to your local website’s ability to rank in local results and the Google Map Pack.

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