7 Steps to Rank #1 on Local Search
If you’re in a hurry or impatient to improve rankings on Google Maps, this is the guide for you.
I’m going to show you how you can use the fast track to get better local search rankings with minimal effort. Check this out:
Business Name Strategy
The Google Business Profile name is one of the biggest local search ranking factors. It has an incredible effect on the visibility of your local business. If you want to take advantage of the name strategy without getting into trouble with Google, check out the following steps:
The first step would be to brainstorm possible names. In some instances that can be easy. If you’re not sure, here are some examples:
- Bella Vista Restaurant
- Green Meadow Landscaping
- Dental Care – Pearly Whites
- Chapters & Tales Bookstore
- Peak Performance Fitness Center
- Sweet Delights Bakery
- Aqua Flow Plumbing Services
- Lustrous Locks Hair Studio
- Furry Friends Pet Grooming
- DriveRite Auto Repair
These are a few business names that contain a fictive name and the main service keyword. This is just to give you an idea of how this should look like.
2. Marketing material
So when you’ve specified a new business name, you’ll have to study Google’s rules on naming carefully. Because if you don’t, your profile might end up with a suspension and it can be quite a pain to get it back.
Those rules say, your business name needs to be aligned with the rest of your marketing. Every single place, offline or online, need to speak the language of your GBP. Here is where you should change your business name in the first place, before you do anything on your GBP:
- Main citations (Facebook, bbb.org, LinkedIn, Instagram etc)
- Website (logo, main headlines, contact us information)
- Buildings, vehicles, other offline marketing material & stationery.
- Remove photos from your website, GBP, and other sources that contain your old business name
3. Change the name
Now that you prepared everything for a successful name change, you can actually go ahead and change your name on your Google Business Profile. If your profile has some authority in Google’s eyes, the change might take only a few seconds.
However, it can take longer if the systems suggests a manual reviews. So then there will be an actual person looking at the name change.
4. Plan B
If you’re not successful with that strategy, you can ask a friend or colleague to suggest an edit to your listing on Maps. That might increase the chance for your name to be updated accordingly.
Also, if you’re still worried about a suspension and don’t want to touch your business name, this would be a tactic to use instead before you actually try and change the name yourself.
In most cases, the change, if done correctly, will immediately give you a ranking boost.
Categories are one of the most critical ranking factors on Google’s local search. Categories determine whether your business shows up for certain terms or not. If you choose a wrong category, Google might display your business for totally unrelated search terms. So be sure to pick the right category right from the beginning.
If you’re not sure what category you should use, go to Google Maps and search for your direct competitors. See what categories show up on the best-ranked listings and use it for your own profile. There is a tool called Pleper that you can use to display categories on Google Maps.
The service section has long been a useless tool on GBP. However, this seemed to change in the beginning of 2023 when Jow Hawkins first reported about the change.
The service section seems to be especially powerful for secondary business keywords. I’ve created a follow up test on services and their impact and the results matched with Joy’s study.
Be sure to add all the sub services to your GBP and don’t forget any of them. Also, it can make sense to add descriptions to each of the services to make them more interesting to your audience. If you don’t want to do it yourself, use ChatGPT prompts.
Reviews play a major role in local search marketing. Without reviews, you’ll have a hard timer getting anyone to even consider doing business with you.
When you start, try to get the first review asap and work on getting a continuous stream of reviews on a weekly or biweekly basis. Remember, one bad one star review makes up for 30 five star reviews. You better start sooner than later to require reviews.
The website is still one of your best assets to improve your business prominence and relevance. Prominence are two of the biggest ranking factors (next to proximity).
If you want to boost your rankings right from the beginning, start by creating relevant content like service or product pages and relevant local blog content that also allows you to convert visitors into customers. Remember, organic rankings factor into local search rankings.
So, the better your website SEO, the higher your Map pack rankings.
Citations are still a primary factor when it comes to ranking your GBP on local search and Google Maps. Google used to use citations primarily to verifiy business information.
I think this is still the case, especially the ones that get relevant traffic like the big social media platforms, niche related directories, and local business directories. So, when you start a local SEO campaign, be sure to add your business NAP (name, address, phone) and website information to relevant sites and directories.
This is not only important for your rankings but can also lead to a significant increase in incoming traffic and leads from those sites.
However, there is little to no impact to be expected from widely unknown sites or sites from areas across the globe that have nothing to do with your business.
This was the fast-track to climb up local search rankings. There are a lot of other things you can do and it’s certainly not that easy if you want to improve your A-game to get excellent rankings. If you liked the article, please leave a comment below. Thank you!