Local search ranking is a huge opportunity for any business. Google is emphasizing local answers in search, so it’s important for you to be visible so you can be found by local searchers. There are a few different ways to become more visible, like getting more online reviews and claiming your Google business listing.
Before we get into the ‘how’ of improving local search ranking, it’s important to truly understand the ‘why.’
95% of searchers do not go beyond the first page of Google results, and 60% of clicks occur in the top three individual search results, making local search ranking one of the most important factors in traffic flow to your website. And online reviews are one of the top ranking factors for local search ranking.
One of the most important things you can do is claim your Google business listing. You can see here how we have claimed ours. This means anyone who directly searches the name of our company gets a complete and full look at our address, phone number, photos of the business, a map, as well as online reviews and other things we might choose to put in there, depending on our type of business.
The business listings are highly important, as they can also show up when people search for your industry locally, like ‘web design in St. Cloud, MN’ or something like this. The listing won’t show up in full immediately, but will be truncated with simply your address, phone number and star rating. The searcher can then click on you to be given the full listing as well as a larger map.
2. Claim Your Online Reviews Site Listings
There are a lot of online review websites out there: Yelp, TripAdvisor, Fandango, Houzz, Google, Yellow Pages, Facebook, Amazon and so many more. These sites all have listings for businesses. You might have a listing already and not even know it!
Go to one of these websites and do a search for your business name. If you find an unclaimed listing for your business, it’s in your best interested to claim it and start to control it and the online reviews. If you don’t have one, you can create one to collect future reviews with.
3. Ensure Data Is Consistent On All Listings
Once you’ve claimed all of your online reviews site listings and Google business listing, make sure your address, phone number, photos and all relevant information are consistent across all of them. Google will be looking at this information when it is considering where to rank you in local search results, and inconsistent information will lower your ranking.
Next, make sure you add your online reviews to your website.
Hosting online reviews on your website can boost your conversions: visitors who read and interact with online reviews are 58% more likely to convert than those who don’t.
No, don’t copy and paste the reviews on there. Many plugins or widgets exist which you can utilize with some research to get your online reviews onto your website for customers to see.
Another option would be utilizing our proprietery Cohlab.Reviews software. Cohlab.Reviews, as can be seen here, gathers all of your online reviews from across the web and displays them chronologically (while also filtering out bad reviews.) With Cohlab.Reviews, you are also able to solicit customers who you know are happy to provide you with extra reviews on the site of their choosing.
5. Share Online Reviews On Social Media
While social media is not the biggest ranking factor for local search listings, it doesn’t hurt, and it may help grow your business through word-of-mouth, or person-to-person influence.
Online reviews play a huge role in building trust, and are viewed as more trustworthy than other types of promotional posts on social media. So when you get a new 5-star review, post a link to the review on social media and write a thank you to the person.