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Google My Business Optimisation – Part 2

Local search ranking factors

In the first part of this guide we looked at how to setup, claim and then optimise your Google My Business listing to the max. In this second part, we’re going to look at the other factors that help you to rank in the top 3 positions on Google Maps within Google’s main organic search results, otherwise known as the Local Pack results.

Google Local Pack Results

In the last industry wide survey on local ranking factors, published in 2017 (updated roughly every 2 years so expect the next in 2019), the results were as follows.

2017 Local Search Ranking Factors

Let’s break each of these component parts down so we are clear as to what goes into each ranking signal.

Local Pack Ranking Signals:

Google My Business = 19%: Proximity of Business Address to the location the user is searching from, categories chosen, etc.
Link Signals = 17%: Anchor text from inbound links, domain authority from inbound links, etc.
On-Page Signals = 14%: Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), relevant keywords, domain authority, etc.
Citations = 13%: NAP consistency across citation sources, total citations indexed, etc.
Reviews = 13%: Number and frequency of reviews, etc.
Behaviour = 10%: Click-through rate (CTR), mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.
Personalisation = 10%
Social Media = 4%: Engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

So that’s a good rule of thumb to follow. Signals fluctuate in importance all the time in accordance with Google algorithm updates. In fact, at the time of the survey, there were 113 ranking factors in play. That no doubt has already changed and will continue to change. That’s why it’s important to take a holistic approach to this.

Holistic Marketing Approach

Given the number of ranking factors involved in both organic search and local pack rankings, its important to focus on general best practice themes like:

1. Technical Excellence: Your website is running at optimal speed, it is secure, it is easy to navigate. Also, Google’s spider understands what each page on your site is about and can crawl all the pages of your site in an optimal manner.

2. Quality Content: You produce highly relevant content that is of interest and is useful to your target market. It informs, educates and entertains your prospects making it more likely to be shared and linked to.

3. Effective Outreach: You identify the publishers and influencers in your market, build relationships and reciprocity with them so when you do them a favour they are more likely to do you a favour in return. For example, by letting their audience know about your latest blog post/offer/deal and how it will benefit them.

Keep all of that in mind when marketing your website for sometimes you can end up down endless rabbit holes. Instead always keep to the forefront that good quality implementation of marketing practices will always win out. With that said, let’s now move onto some of the specifics outlined in the survey results.

Google Local Pack Ranking Signals

#1. Google My Business = 19%

In short you want to optimise your Google My Business listing to the max! Luckily for you, the first part of our guide covered this in 5,633 words of extensive detail. So please do make use of it to make sure your Google My Business listing is fully optimised. This is after all the number 1 Google Local Pack ranking signal and it’s 100% in your control to get right. So take the time to get it fully optimised.

#2. Link Signals = 17%

These are the live links other websites point at your own. It’s probably the hardest part of any Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy and yet, quite possibly, the most important overall. The reason being, it’s mostly out of your control.

You’re reliant on the goodness of strangers to help you to rank by linking to you. Whereas everything you publish on your site, on your Google My Business listing, on citation sites, etc, is within your control, offsite link signals are not.

You need to become skilled at building relationships with other website owners, bloggers and publishers. You need to offer them something worthwhile to link to, namely great content. And you cannot resort to bribing them or Google can and will ban you from their index.

So how do you go about building relationships with other publishers?

Key Principles When Link Hunting

How relevant is the website to either my industry or location? If you’re a hairdressers in Sevenoaks, does it make any sense to obtain a link from a garden centre in Aberdeen? Not really. But it would if the garden centre was in Bromley and raising awareness of a charity event you are running. Same if obtaining a link from a fashion boutique in Beckenham who references you as a great place to get an on trend haircut for a big night out.

Does it make sense for this target website to link to mine? Maybe they only link to internal pages in their blog posts. So you might face an uphill battle getting them to link to you. Alternatively, perhaps they very rarely publish anything to their blog. They might not know the login details even! As such, trying to get a link from them could be problematic.

Will the link to my website be useful to their audience? Does the piece of content you’ve created add value to their audience? Does it solve a problem the audience may be having? Does it go into greater depth than something they’ve previously published? If so does it support their argument and so compliment what they have written?

Types of Links

Not all links are created equal. One of the best types of links you can get are contextual links. That is, a link within a blog post/article whereby your piece of content is referenced as a resource by the author. It might be because it contains an original piece of research, statistical data or either supports or counters an argument the author is writing about.

Take a look at the way Wikipedia and national newspaper articles link to reference material. That is difficult to fake/spam in Google’s eyes. So obtaining such links are the gold standard.

At a local level, obtaining a link from your local paper, magazine or popular blogger is worth aiming for. Think of it this way, the harder you have to work for a link, the more likely it is to be respected by Google. For anyone can sign up to a forum or directory to obtain a link. But to get a link within a blog post or article by a respected website, well that takes some doing.

Let’s look at this in more detail. The following points are broadly laid out in a hierarchy from higher quality to lower quality.

1. Blog Posts: If your target regularly publishes blog posts on relevant topics to your industry, reaching out to them to make them aware of a piece of content you have produced is a good starting point. Ask if they will link to your content, perhaps in a blog post of their own. You can even suggest a topic or a follow on piece to something they have previously written.

2. Guest Posts: They might accept guest posts whereby you contribute a piece of content of interest to their readers. In return they may include a link to you in the bio of your guest post.

3. Links Pages: They may have a links page on their site linking to businesses similar to yours. So you may reach out to them to request your site is added to said page.

4. Directories: They may run a directory on their site listing businesses in given catchment areas and business verticals.

5. Forums: They might run a forum on their site which allows people to discuss issues and link to relevant content.

6. And so on…

There are any number of reasons why someone may consider linking to your website. Part of your outreach program is to devise ways to make it a no brainer for them to do so. The following are a sample of ideas that may help in obtaining links from businesses, schools and organisations in your local area.

2.1 Newsworthy Content: Develop a local newsworthy content plan which local newspapers, bloggers and publishers can pick up on. For example, you could:

A. Consider sponsoring a charity event, entering a team into it or organising the event itself.

B. Offer “Free (XYZ) lessons for (X number) of (sex/age/interest group) up for grabs!”. You need to think what skill you can offer to fill in those blanks. All whilst ensuring it’s newsworthy. Think controversial, topical or against the grain.

C. Build relationships with other local businesses to form a “Buy Local” campaign. Take the lead, be the face of the campaign.

D. Create a high quality piece of content that informs, entertains and genuinely solves a problem people in your industry or location are experiencing.

E. And so on…

Research Local Bloggers
Research the local bloggers, newspapers, journalists and publications who might find such a stunt or campaign of interest.

Run searches like the following in Google:
“city name” + “business vertical” + “blog” (Example: “Bromley”+”dentists”+”blog”)
“post code” + “business vertical” + “blog” (Example: “BR1”+”dentists”+”blog”)
“county” + “business vertical” + “blog” (Example: “Kent”+”dentists”+”blog”)
[locale topic blog]
[locale bloggers]
[locale blog]
[intitle:blog locale]
[inurl:blog locale]

Research industry specific blogs:
Topic + inurl:blog
Topic inurl:guest post
Topic + intitle:“contribute” or “write for us”

Prepare your plan, reach out to them and pitch your idea. Send them to the page on your website which reports everything in full. This way you have a linkable asset and a reason for them to link to you.

Alternatively, write a unique article that they can publish as a guest post and send to them.

And once a relationship is built, hold on to it, develop it further, nurture it. You’ll want to pitch more ideas in the future to get more contextual links.

2.2 Local Business Awards: Submit your company for local business awards. If you’re nominated they are likely to link to your business. Check this beforehand before applying! Take a look at previous years nominees to see if this is the case.

Run the following searches in Google and compile a target list. Check the entry criteria and, if you’re a fit, make sure to apply.

“best BUSINESS TYPE”+”nominate”+”city” (Example: “best dentist”+”nominate”+”BIRMINGHAM”)
“Nominate a business”+”COUNTY NAME” (Example: “Nominate a business”+”SUSSEX”)
“best of COUNTY or CITY”+”nominate” (Example: “Best of MANCHESTER”+”nominate”)
“City Name”+”Nominate a business” (Example: “BRIGHTON”+”Nominate a business”)

2.3 Sponsor a local charity or cause: Local sports clubs, arts groups, festivals, animal or homeless shelters, trade and event shows, environmental groups, etc, are often in need of support. Most will have a sponsors page linking back to sponsors’ websites.

Compile a priority list, research how much each needs and decide who to sponsor. And the bonus of this one is that you’re doing good in the community.

“(town/city/county) intitle:donate” (Example: London intitle:donate)
“(town/city/county) intitle:donations” (Example: London intitle:donations)
“(town/city/county) intitle:donors” (Example: London intitle:donors)
“(town/city/county) intitle:partners” (Example: London intitle:partners)
“(town/city/county) intitle:sponsors” (Example: London intitle:sponsors)
“(town/city/county) intitle:sponsorship” (Example: London intitle:sponsorship)
“(town/city/county) inurl:donate” (Example: London inurl:donate)
“(town/city/county) inurl:donations” (Example: London inurl:donations)
“(town/city/county) inurl:donors” (Example: London inurl:donors)
“(town/city/county) inurl:partners” (Example: London inurl:partners)
“(town/city/county) inurl:sponsorship” (Example: London inurl:sponsorship)
“(town/city/county) intitle:sponsors” (Example: Orpington intitle:sponsors)
“(town/city/county) inurl:sponsor” (Example: Bexley inurl:sponsor)
“(town/city/county) inurl:sponsors” (Example: Bromley inurl:sponsors)

Good for them + good for you = everyone’s a winner!

2.4 Local Guide: Create a local guide and reach out to those businesses featured. Prioritise featuring businesses that have an active blog and/or site who will be willing to link back to you. Businesses with static websites are going to struggle to add a link to you. Anyone with an active blog is a top target.

Example ideas include:

Top 5 Local Restaurants in (INSERT TOWN/CITY/COUNTY NAME)
Top 10 Local Dentists in (INSERT TOWN/CITY/COUNTY NAME)
Top 5 (insert local service name), i.e. Physios, Chiropractors, Plumbers, Florists, etc. in (INSERT TOWN/CITY/COUNTY NAME)

2.5 Non Competing Local Businesses: Build links with non competing local businesses like the florist on the corner, the five Dentists in your local area, the Chiropractic College on the hill, etc, etc. You’re not competing with them so there’s no harm in them linking to you. Come up with a collaborative idea like setting up a buy local campaign or a late night opening Thursdays event, and pitch it to them.

2.6 Personal Network: Reach out to friends, family and acquaintances. If they run a business with a website or have access to one and can link to you, you might as well ask.

There are many other ways to build links. We’re barely scratching the surface here. You’ll need to read our link building guides if you want the full breakdown on this topic as it is a book in and of itself. However these are good and honest ways to get you started and keep you out of Google penalty trouble.

WARNING: Google can and will penalise you if you buy fake links or build spammy links in an attempt to game their algorithm. It’s called black hat SEO. Don’t do it. Plan a genuine, local based campaign, as per the above ideas, and you’ll be fine.

#3. On-Page Signals = 14%

On-Page Signals are elements under your control. In essence, it’s the technical quality of your website. The speed it runs at, the HTML code you use to optimise your content, the Schema markup code you add to pages, the way its structured and laid out, whether its mobile friendly and so on.

Just like with your Google My Business optimisation process, you want to maximise this to the hilt. Some of it you can do yourself. Some of it you’ll need to ask your web developer to do for you.

Best Practice Technical Excellence Required

Aim to ensure you employ best practice technical excellence. This includes elements like:

1. Meta tags: Title, description, canonical, header tags, alt text
2. Page URL,
3. Site structure,
4. Optimal site speed: reduce image sizes, use of CDN, hosting, google Lighthouse, site speed checks,
5. Secure site: https secure with a security certificate,
6. Mobile friendly: responsive design,
7. Optimal crawlability: Google Search Console – 404’s, robots.txt, sitemaps, indexation issues,
8. Schema Markup:
And so on…

This section could really be a book in and of itself. As such, and for a deeper dive on this subject, check out our Technical SEO Guide.
Also, please feel free to download our free Technical SEO checklist to help ensure you correctly address each on site issue.

#4. Citations = 13%

Google is looking for consistency in your company details and service offering across the web. In particular they want to see that your name, address and phone number (NAP) are consistently applied on multiple business registration websites like, Apple Maps, and so on.

So, for example, they want to know that you’re not lying to them by registering a keyword stuffed name in your Google My Business listing and then your real name elsewhere. And that you don’t use one phone number for GMB and another for everywhere else. Or one address for Google My Business to try and influence the local pack results, and a different address somewhere completely different on other sites.

As such, and as discussed in the Google My Business optimisation guide, it’s important to plan ahead when registering your GMB listing. And then to consistently use the same NAP, categories, company descriptions and so on, elsewhere.

Citation Steps

  • Register with 60 to 80 general citation sites in the UK
  • Register with 10 to 20 niche specific sites in your industry
  • Register with 5 to 10 city sites in your city
  • Ensure your NAP (name, address, phone number) are the same as the one’s used for your Google My Business claim.
  • Research if your businesses NAP is currently registered with any citation sites.

Top 10 UK General Citation Sources

Standardise your citation data so it matches your Google My Business submission

  • Email address
  • Phone Number(s)
  • Website
  • Social Media Links
  • Physical Address
  • Geo-Coordinates
  • Travel Directions
  • Internal Office/Shop Images
  • External Office/Shop Images
  • Company Videos – About Us + Testimonials
  • Company Description
  • Opening Times
  • Payment Forms Accepted
  • Customer Reviews
  • Business Category
  • Tagline

How Do You Manage All This?

If all this sounds like a lot of work then you’re right, it is! So you have a couple of options available.

1. Do It Yourself: It’s not complicated but it does take time to complete. You will need to be patient, consistent, monitor and follow up. Here are the process steps:

  • Begin registering at the citation websites listed above using the standardised Google My Business checklist (also above).
  • If you, or someone in your company, has already registered at some citation sources, then you may need to edit the details to ensure they are consistent with your GMB listing. Edit existing citation site entries with errors by updating your profile/account. This may involve proving you are the business owner or representative. For example, you may need to apply to receive phone call code confirmations or wait to receive a postcard to business address, etc.
  • Monitor and follow up if no action is taken.

2. Outsource The Work: There are many companies, like ourselves, who will manage the whole process for you. We have software we can use to find inconsistencies in your existing NAP’s across multiple citation sources and target getting them fixed. We pretty much follow the exact same steps as we have so far outlined. It’s just that with regular practice, we know how to do it in a highly efficient and time saving manner.

Whatever you do decide, just remember to take action. As again this is an important ranking factor that is broadly under your control. Take advantage of that fact.

#5. Reviews = 13%

Customer reviews are both a ranking factor in the local pack results and a means of encouraging business enquiries. The reason being, we are fundamentally, social animals.

We like to know that other people have vouched for a product or service. That’s why we listen to friends when they recommend a bar or restaurant they’ve visited. It’s why we accept the advice of a work colleague on places to visit when sight seeing a foreign city. And its why we read customer reviews on Amazon before committing to make a purchase. They all help to make us feel more comfortable and confident in the choices we make.

Well its the same with customer reviews on Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, and so on. Potential customers and clients see the reviews and make an instinctive decision as to whether to purse an enquiry any further.

So how do you go about obtaining customer reviews?

First I’d encourage you to reread the section in part 1 of this guide where we dealt with this in quite some depth. For now, here’s a quick refresher on the best ways to go about obtaining them:

1. Email past customers: First up use the Find Place ID tool in order to provide clients with a direct link to your review section so they know exactly where to go to leave you a review. The Find Place ID can be found here. Also, find the review link for any of the other review services mentioned such as Yelp, Facebook, and so on.

Next up, email your past and present customers with a link to your Google review page. Ask them to kindly leave you a review so you know how you are performing as a business. You can either do this by hand if you want to personally contact your best customers/clients, or use the likes of Aweber and Mailchimp to automate the process to a larger list.

2. Website: Place the direct link to your Google reviews somewhere your regular customers visit on your site. For example, in a section where they login to track orders.

3. Receipts: Include your review link at the bottom of customer receipts.

4. Events: With personal clients who you know well, make a personal request when you see them at a trade show, Chamber of Commerce meet or networking event.

5. Business Cards: Include your review link at the bottom of business cards.

6. Third Party Review Software: There are third party software providers who will manage the process for you. However, this is really only recommended for larger corporations working with tens of thousands of customers.

Once you have received a sufficient number of Google reviews, then move onto some of the other services. Try to keep Google reviews coming in consistently over time. There’s no point receiving 100 in month one and then nothing in months two and three. It looks unnatural. Far better to space out your requests so they come in steadily over time.

Whichever route you choose, just ensure you do not fake your own reviews or bribe customers to do them. They need to be genuine. If in doubt, please refer to Google’s guidelines which you can see here.

Respond to Reviews

Make sure to respond to all reviews whether positive or negative. In fact, answering negative reviews is more critical in many ways. By proactively responding in a polite way and publicly looking to address any criticisms, you are showing that you put your customers and clients first. It’s important for new prospects to see.

So, whatever you do, do not engage in a slanging match. Instead, take the negative points on board, address them in a calm and even manner, propose how you hope to handle things differently in future and thank them for their feedback. Do it all in a timely manner so the review doesn’t hang out there for months on end for all to see.

#6. Behaviour = 10%

These are the behavioural signals Google observes when users see you in the search results. They are looking at things like:

1. Click Through Rate (CTR): Do you receive a higher or lower percentage of clicks than the average for the search result position you occupy? For example, let’s say you’re in lowly position 10 for the search term “Bromley web design services”. Google’s data suggests only 1% to 2% of people who make that search will click on the 10th place result.

But what if you buck that trend and obtain 15% of the clicks? Google will see that statistically significant difference and think “Hmm, maybe we’ve got this listing in the wrong position. Maybe we need to move this up to between 2nd and 4th place.” (OK so Google is an algorithm in the early stages of AI, so doesn’t have an internal monologue like that, but you catch my drift).

What influences your CTR? Your good old Title and Description tags that we discussed earlier. Now you can see why they’re so important!

2. Bounce Rate: If a lot of users search for a keyword on Google, say “car mechanics Beckenham”, see your listing, visit your web page and then hit the back button because they don’t like what they see, that’s a negative signal. Repeated often enough and it’s a pretty strong signal that Google shouldn’t be ranking you where they are.

So you want to use your Google Analytics account to monitor pages with a high bounce rate. Look at the page afresh. Is there something you can improve to keep people on the page? Can you add more content? Rewrite the existing content so it’s easier to understand? Add a tutorial video maybe?

And by the way, slow site speed can have a big impact on bounce rate. A slow loading site can be a pain. People are on the move. They’re impatient. They want a result. So if your site takes more than a few seconds to load, you could experience a high bounce rate. Google will see this signal, throw it into the algorithm mix and you could drop down the rankings somewhat.

3. Searches for your brand name: If a statistically significant number of users are searching for your brand name, it indicates to Google that you must be doing a pretty good job at local marketing. If it also see’s that the searches are coming from lots of different mobile devices and unique IP addresses from all over your local area, that’s another great behavioural signal.

Reason being, that’s difficult to fake unless you’ve got a lot of mobile phone contracts and an army disciplined enough to make the searches steadily and consistently. Such signals can be faked more easily with desktops but not with mobiles.

As such, the work that you do in your newsworthy local link building efforts can pay dividends again by influencing user behaviour. That’s a pretty nice positive feedback loop in action.

4. Search Location: As mentioned in the above point, when you make a search, your physical location is also a factor. Google will provide local pack results based on your proximity to local businesses.

5. Interactions with your Knowledge Panel: Remember in part 1 how we discussed optimising your Google My Business listing to the max? Well again this is where it can pay behavioural dividends.

By keeping your posts up to date with fresh content, answering customer questions, obtaining great reviews, having great looking photographs on display, and so on, you’re making your Knowledge Panel listing stand out. If users then interact with your Knowledge Panel by clicking on any of those sections, again its an indicator to Google that your content is engaging. It’s a signal that Google watches for and rewards appropriately.

6. Mobile Click to Call Actions: The more people that choose the click to call option in your Knowledge Panel, the better. Again its a signal that effectively tells Google “People are impressed enough by this companies Knowledge Panel results, to pick up the phone and take action.” That’s a pretty strong signal of user intent and a positive behavioural pattern.

Click To Call Google Maps

7. Clicking on Directions: When users click the directions button next to your Map result, it’s again showing intent. Why else would you want to know how to get from your current location to the businesses unless you had an intention of dropping by? Again it’s a signal. It gets thrown in the algorithm mix and weighted appropriately.

Directions Google Maps

8: Check Ins: Google can monitor the number of check ins at a given business location. Again its a signal. Although a very George Orwell Big Brother signal!

OK so that’s behavioural signals. A lot of this you don’t have direct control over. However, if you’ve fully optimised your Google My Business listing and followed the holistic approach of doing things to a high standard, then you should be positively influencing these bahviours. And again we’re back into positive feedback loop territory.

#7. Personalisation = 10%

Both Google, and they way people use Google, have changed considerably over the past ten years. With the advent of smart phones, cookie tracking, location tracking, browsing history, voice search and the like, Google knows an incredible amount about you. Your preferences, behaviour and even intent.

As a result, no two people get the same identical search result any more.

As a business targeting local pack and local keyword results, the users location is key. Again ensuring you have optimised your GMB listing, followed on site technical SEO best practices, created highly relevant and engaging content and are in the right location at the right time, is the best you can do.

#8. Social Media = 4%

Social signals are at the bottom of the list mainly because social platforms are so open to being spammed. You’ve no doubt heard of Twitter bots, fake Facebook profiles and the like. Well when something outside of Google’s control is so open to abuse, they have to take signals from the source with a pinch of salt.

That said, you should not by any means ignore social channels. For they are great places to build real and engaged audiences.

For the purposes of local marketing campaigns, I would suggest you look at the following options:

1. Facebook Page Optimisation and Local Facebook Ad Targeting
Facebook’s ad targeting is one of the most sophisticated ad platforms out there. Advertisers have the ability to target people based on Demographics (age, sex, income, family situation), Psychographics (interests and identity), and Behaviors (things they like to do regularly, have done in the past, or are likely to do in the future).

Not only that, you can take your existing customer database, upload it to Facebook, find your customers on Facebook and target specific ads at just them. This is called a custom audience. Then you can make a clone of your best customers by finding other Facebook users who share the same/similar demographic, psychographic and behavioural traits as them, and target ads at them. This is called a lookalike audience.

In addition, you can run remarketing campaigns at people who visited your website without buying or making contact, directly in their Facebook newsfeed.

As such, you have the ability to run ad campaigns from the top to the bottom of your sales funnel with ease. Combined it can help you to build an audience, get engagement with your content through likes, shares and comments and, ultimately, make sales. And through this process path you are sending social signals to Google.

NB: Because of the way Facebooks algorithm works, if you do not pay Facebook to amplify your page posts, only a very small percentage of your page followers will see your updates. As such its important to leave aside a small weekly budget to keep you in your followers eye line.

2. Instagram
Instagram is a great platform for anyone with creative flare, who are happy to showcase their shop or work. Florists, hairdressers, fashion boutiques, restaurants, bars, spas, you name it. If you have a visually appealing story to tell, than Instagram is a great platform to make use of.

Bonus: As it’s owned by Facebook, you can use your Facebook Business Manager account to target people on Instagram as well.

3. Twitter
Great for sharing curating local newsworthy content, connecting with your wider network of friends, business associates and the like. The major downside is that the ad targeting is nowhere near as laser focused as Facebook. So you are less likely to make a high ROI with your ad spend.

4. YouTube
If you have the resources to make high quality tutorial or informative videos, then YouTube is the social channel for you. The cost and time expense of making quality videos is the major drawback to this channel. That said, if you’re proficient enough then go for it as you can always leverage your content by sharing it with other local sites to embed on their blogs or your own.

The ad targeting has improved greatly over recent years and can tie in with your Adwords and remarketing campaigns.

5. LinkedIn
Great networking opportunity for local service providers. Can be the means to find who to speak to for local marketing collaborations.

So, as you can see, social marketing does have an important roll to fill in local marketing. You should be doing it in order to build a local, brand aware audience. Whilst it’s overall affect on your GMB local pack results is minimal, it is still clearly worth doing.

In Summary

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide. From getting your Google My Business listing fully optimised, to on site and off site SEO, customer reviews and more. Some big concepts covered. A lot to take in. The key is to implement in stages and not be overwhelmed.

Implementation Plan

I would suggest prioritizing your implementation strategy as follows.

1. Google My Business: Start with your setting up and fully optimising your Google My Business listing. That is a given.

2. Citations: Next try to register with the top citation sources linked to in this guide. Make sure your name, address and phone number (NAP) match your GMB listing and are the same across all citation sources.

3. On-Page Signals: Assuming you already have a website, get to work optimising it fully. If you’re building a new website, look into a Wordpress Genesis solution. Wordpress is scaleable and easy to use. The amount of plugins available, to solve almost any problem, are endless. Try Yoast Local and Yoast Premium in order to take care of your keyword led, on page optimisation strategy.

4. Reviews: This is a relatively quick win. Reach out to your most loyal, best customers and ask them for a review first of all. Just get a couple done so you have some publicly available. Then approach more loyal customers weekly or monthly so you have a nice steady stream.

5. Link Signals: Whilst this is the second most important ranking factor, according to the survey, I would recommend leaving this one until last. The reason being, it is the one you are going to have to work on regularly going forward. You need to research your targets, create quality, linkable content, make your approach, be rejected a few times, be accepted a few times, and so on. It’s a process that needs commitment. That’s why I’d recommend taking care of points 1 to 4 first as these are more under your direct control.

6. Social Media: I’d do this concurrently with link signals. You want to start building your audience, curating relevant content and sharing your best content.

7. Behaviour & Personalisation: These will naturally come as a result of implementing the above points to the best of your ability.

Make an implementation plan and stick to it. A little at a time. Don’t be overwhelmed. Better to do a little than nothing at all. It’s a process and it will take time. But, remember, the results will be well worth it!

If you get stuck or you simply don’t have the time and want to outsource the work, you are welcome to contact us at Smoking Chili Media. We offer Google My Business and local SEO as a service and have extensive experience doing it for companies throughout the UK and USA. Email info@smokingchilimedia or call 020 3289 5595. We will be more than happy to help.

Better Rankings + Greater Exposure = New Customers + Sales

In short, local domination!

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