There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the details of the search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone. – excerpt from Improve your local ranking on Google from Google Support Centre
The Internet and how search engines index it is all down to relevant info and Google is renowned for never giving too much away when it comes to sorting processes. Until now that is. They seem to have let a whole litter of kitties out the bag about how Google My Business works and how to get found within the ‘prestigious’ 3-Pack local businesses.
It seems that Google is hell-bent on squeezing more organic results out of the picture (or to be more exact ‘away from above the fold’) by doing away with its top-right of screen Adword’s results and replacing it with four Adword’s Ads appearing in the single list of search results. Kerching go the Google tills! Couple this with last year’s move from the 7-pack Google My Business structure to the aforementioned 3-pack and the underdog whose pockets aren’t bottomless could be in trouble… But all is not lost if you do as Google’s Support Centre says with Google My Business.
Mobile Means Local
With the 3-pack being the norm it is becoming obvious that Google recognises that the majority of local search is done via mobile devices: I’m hungry – where’s the local chippy? I’m soaked – where’s the best place to get an umbrella? You get the idea… You (hopefully) won’t be doing these kind of searches from a desktop! Hence the 3-pack sits nicely on a mobile device screen, giving the best results without a scroll in sight.
Hold Your Horses
Before I give an overview on Google’s new advice you need to take the following into account: Business-wise you’re going to need a responsive website that displays beautifully on the mobile device’s screen. Otherwise, all your hard work getting found will be for nothing when your prospective customer sees your website is not mobile-friendly and clicks to the competitor two blocks away.
Knowledge Is Power – For You And The Customer
Google recommends your Google My Business Account needs the following:
Relevant Business Information: Check and double-check that all of your business information is accurate and gives the best overview of what you do. Physical address, phone number and category are the barebones, so the meat needs to be more about your services and when you are open for business.
Keep Your Hours Of Opening Up To Date: If you’re open on Bank Holidays or have late opening times on designated days of the week let the people know! There’s nothing worse for a customer than travelling to your business premises only to find your online info contradicts the ominous CLOSED sign in your window. This could then lead to bad reviews online. Which leads nicely on to:
Online Reviews Require a Response… Quickly: Interaction with customers shows that you care. Positive reviews and fast responses from yourself will give Google a good impression of your business’s values and therefore help your ranking.
Photos Complete the Story: Pictures of your services, shop front and staff at work help with your business’s appeal. Product photos also give peace of mind to the prospective customer that you have exactly what they’re after in stock.
Prominence: Well-established companies will be seen in a good light by Google, but new starts or smaller concerns can gain prominence by having websites with best practice SEO coursing through their digital veins. Links to directories and press releases will also help with the performance of your Google My Business entry.
What Are You Waiting For?
The only part of the above that can be slightly daunting is developing your prominence – with a mobile-friendly website, of course! Having a reliable web development team at your side and a flexible strategy to find the niches in your sector – that none of the competition has tapped into – you can get your business appearing in local searches. Google My Business is a powerful tool for your company and its online success and it’s FREE to set up!