When your clients ask you to optimize their SEO, they are after one outcome — being more visible to consumers so they can increase sales. Last year, the Google My Business profiles became important in the world of search. Because so many searches for local businesses originate with Google, SEO experts point out that there are a few other factors that matter. Each year, these experts run the Local Search Rankings Factors survey. The results of this survey illuminate where you should focus your efforts for your clients.
In reviewing the search ecosystem, analysts emphasize that specific SEO tactics play a role in how search results are displayed in two main categories. When consumers conduct a general search such as Noodle Restaurants, Los Angeles, for example, they’ll see results on:
- Local Pack/Finder — The map on the Google page
- SEO — The search engine results page
Google My Business Profiles
To drive clicks and business, your clients should have a good position in both of these search results. Google experts believe that in 2020, the data in Google My Business (GMB) far exceeded other categories in terms of contributing to a business’s placement on the Local Pack/Finder map. Other contributing elements include business reviews and on-page elements. A deeper dive into the survey reveals that the following elements on GMB drive the level of authority and therefore the business’ placement on the list:
- Primary GMB category
- GMB business title keywords
- Business location with regards to point of search
- Physical address in city of search
These findings point to the importance of paying attention to the GMB page for your clients. This concept makes sense. Google would naturally want businesses to use the tool it has provided as part of the search system. Survey participants noted that selecting the wrong GMB business category or making errors in the address associated with the business will negatively impact the hoped-for position on the Google Maps Pack.
For the placement on the SERP, the experts suspect that on-page factors and links are far more important than GMB and reviews. Darren Shaw, author of the survey, remarks, “the biggest takeaway is the growing importance of focusing on conversions from your Google listing instead of just obsessing about rankings.” So, while placement is important, to encourage conversions, your client’s GMB site should contain plenty of reviews with high scores. If your clients are still stuck on the concept of rankings, let them know that conversions rule.
You'll want to work hard to get your clients into the Google Maps Pack. Up to 44% of total clicks on SERP come from this area.
What constitutes the right factors for local organic search, in other words, for position on the SERP? The survey says:
- Quality/authority of inbound links
- Volume of quality content
- Keywords in anchor text of inbound links to domain
- Topical keyword relevance across entire site
The bottom line is that Google says it uses relevance, distance and prominence when displaying businesses in response to a query. SEO is one way for your clients to excel at digital marketing. If they’re looking for a way to improve their outcomes for 2021, run a digital audit on them. The tool is available at AdMall by SalesFuel. Using that information, you can educate your clients on how well they’re doing in comparison to competitors.