Unlike general SEO, which focuses on websites, local SEO focuses on listings, or collections of information about local businesses. The most common listing is Google My Business, which contains the information displayed in a card format that shows up in Google Maps searches and local Google search results (i.e., “physical therapy clinic Boston,” and not “physical therapy clinic”). These card-based listings, which include a website, phone number, address, and more, can show up alongside regular, non-local search results, and now dominate local search results.
There are three key elements to improving your listing’s local SEO success:
- Consistent naming. Ensure the name, address, and phone number on your listing is the same as those on your small business’ website and profiles on social media platforms. If they’re different, search engines will see it as a risk that they’d send searchers to the wrong place. This will harm your listing’s rankings.
- Complete the profile. Ensure your Google business profile is 100% complete and has information including a phone number, photos, and a list of products or services that you provide.
- Reviews. This is the top factor for local business SEO. Businesses with a high volume of positive reviews are much more likely to rank highly in local search results. While it’s OK to ask your customers for reviews, search engines have complex systems to detect activity indicating that a business is faking their reviews or paying people to write them.