How to drive local traffic to your website. If your business doesn’t appear on the first page of a Google search result, it’s hard for people to find you. This means that you won’t get as much traffic to your website as you’d wish.
Small businesses are usually greatly affected by this. Why? Because one thing they have in common is smaller budgets. At the same time, they are competing for the same visibility with big brands that are well known and that have already established a footprint. However, all hope isn’t lost. Google is known to be supportive when it comes to small businesses and have developed multiple tools and policies to enable companies – both big and small – to fight on an even ground to get to the top rankings of their search engine results page (SERP).
One such way is the local search that most small businesses can leverage on to get to the top results page. However, before your business can start appearing at the top of the first-page ranking, there are several steps that you have to do to get you there. Follow these steps and you will soon learn how to drive local traffic to your website.
In this blog article, we will break down the local pack for you, and hopefully, your company can leverage the local search better and start witnessing some great results. And just like any search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, even the local search doesn’t work overnight. It takes more time to build and get you to the top. Patience, in this case, is key.
What is a Local Pack?
For search engines to provide users with a better experience, they use a user’s location. We no longer live during the days when you would type in ‘’Emergency Electrician” and end up with results from the east coast to the north coast.
Search engines nowadays use people’s Geolocation and IP address to give users the best possible results for their search. Local search optimisation enables you to enjoy the benefits of local search visibility on the SERPs. A local pack is triggered when someone makes a specific search for a service or business in a certain location. Local packs are a list of businesses that offer their products or services in a certain locality giving search engines an additional layer of search results.
A local pack will not only give your business extra opportunities but more visibility as well. There are two main types of Local Pack also referred to as Local Finder. The two types usually have the same information with a slight difference. This is a great way to drive local traffic to your website.
This type of local pack is mostly used by entertainment, dining and hospitality companies. When they show up on the search engine results pages, there’s usually a phone number, photo but no link to the website. However, if you opt to click to any one of the search results, you will get to see a map showing other businesses with a link that takes you to their site.
The Local Finder happens to be one of the most used Local Pack. The main difference between the Local Finder and the Local Teaser is that the Local Finder has a link on the SERP. On the search results, you will find about two to three businesses whose contact details and other important details are available. This result will show the business name, address, phone number (NAP), star rating and business hours.
Importance of a Local Pack
Whenever a person makes a local search, a Local Pack appears 93 percent of the time in the number one spot and 46 percent of all searches made on the Google search engine. If your business is fully optimised for a local search on Google, you stand a high chance of constantly ranking at the top of the SERP making your business more visible to your audience.
Research from ThinkWithGoogle has shown that more searches with ‘near me’ have since 2011 increased 34 times with the highest searches as mentioned coming from smartphones. At the same time, 18 percent of people who make local searches on their mobile phones make a purchase the same day while 50 percent visit a store.
So, what exactly does this mean for small businesses? The more you appear on local searches, the more prominence and visibility your business gets. By appearing in the local pack, you will be driving direct traffic to your website which leads to increased revenue and lead generations.
A Local Pack can be very beneficial whether being used offline or online. It leads to increased traffic to your website as well as improved SEO outcomes. This way, small businesses can go ahead and outshine large corporates since Google’s bottom line is giving users the best results possible by pushing more local content for them.
Besides increased traffic, the online Local Pack benefits also include new customers and increased revenue as earlier mentioned. Local inquiries show up on Google’s first page and as we all know, rarely do users go past the first page. Furthermore, 78 percent of local mobile searches lead to most offline purchases. Besides, a local study by Moz showed that while 44 percent of users clicked on the Local Pack results, 29 percent clicked through the organic listings, 19 percent the paid results and 8 percent refreshed for more local search results.
How to Make Your Business Rank for the Local Pack
Although Google continues to update its algorithms, there are so many factors that are taken into consideration despite the fact that you will only stress yourself out trying to figure out how to it works. However, experts say for you to get your business to rank on the Local Pack, three things play a significant role: Your Business Information also referred to as Google My Business Listing, Website Optimization and Online Reviews.
Google My Business Listing
Any business that needs to appear in the Local Pack needs to create a Google My Business Listing. There is no way you can make it to the top result page on Google if you lack this. The first stage is creating the page on Google and claiming your business. Once you have claimed your business, you will need to verify it and then begin optimising it to enable Google’s web crawlers to find you.
The information that goes to your Google My Business Listing is what enables Google to give the best possible answers to users. They ensure that everything that they show on the search results pages completely answers the searcher’s questions.
Google uses things like keywords, distance and category to do this. It’s therefore important that your listing is filled to a 100 percent and that all your information relating to your business is the same across the internet. If not, Google can punish you by removing you from the search engine results page.
Once you have created a Google My Business Listing, ensure that your NAP – Name of Business, Address of Business, Phone Number of Business – are right as they play a key role when you begin optimising your business for local searches.
When optimising your listing, ensure that the category, business hours, URLs, business hours, reviews, insights, photos, posts and business attributes are all correct and in sync. This you can do by managing your business’ citations.
Business Citations Management
A citation means that besides your business information being solely on your website, it’s also available on another website. A good example is a business directory listing. Such citations are either free or paid for. Most citations include the name of the business, address, contact information and a link to the official website. While some directories might allow you to write a brief description, others will have a call to action. Google needs consistency. For this to happen, you need to ensure your information is the same across multiple platforms. When building citations, ensure your website is linked to sites that are of high authority and relevance lest you get punished by Google for having low-quality citations that can massively affect your website’s ranking.
Any small business that needs to rank on Google’s Local Pack needs to fully understand what Google looks at. There are three key things: relevance, distance and prominence or industry authority.
Google’s definition of this is how well does any of the displayed listing match what a searcher is looking for. Having a completely filled out Google My Business Listing greatly helps users find the relevant information they are looking for.
As you’ve already listed your business’s address, all you will need to do is optimise your business location or service area page within your website.
For this to work, you need to use the right keywords. Each search result needs not be far from the location used. If your business doesn’t specify a search location, Google will do it on your behalf based on what it knows.
The more prominent your business is, the more authoritative it is, and the more Google will always show it in top results. For your business to be prominent, several things are factored in. These include your articles, citation on directories as well as like links. Google tries to have a 360-degree understanding of your business to improve search results for users. You can build your links using inbound and outbound links as well as online references.
Although your business will not always get positive reviews, still there is reason enough for you to get people to leave reviews for your business. Of course, negative reviews can be detrimental to your business, but you can choose to hide what reviews people see and which ones they don’t.
Online reviews are quite important when it comes to the Local Pack. Google considers the quantity of the review, velocity and diversity. Besides, Google reviews have a direct impact on the search engine ranking. If your business manages to get the most reviews, Google will automatically rank you at the top of the list.
A study on the on Google reviews and their impact on the visibility of search engines gave some interesting data.
- The listing with the most reviews is usually 63 percent of the time on Google’s Local Three-Pack result.
- Listings on the first three-pack average at least 472 percent more reviews than those listed on the second three-pack.
- The three local listings at the top tend to have more reviews than the combined next three results.
- The average listing on Google’s top three local results is 7.62 reviews while that on the second three-pack stands at a mere 1.61.
The above statistics is clear proof that Google reviews have a large impact on Google’s algorithm by influencing its decision-making process. Most consumers who do local searches are usually interested in buying a product or service.
Getting your business to rank in the top local searches can be a huge boost for your business online on the Local Pack. However, you need to remember that the Local Pack will list you and two of your competitors. What guarantee do you have that that consumer will pick your business and not that of a competitor? Yes, the online reviews.
As long as the reviews reflect positively on your brand, you will no doubt have a multitude of interested customers ready to buy and leave more positive reviews if your services are beyond their expectations. What this simply means is that your business can’t afford to not have an active Google review page. Besides, reviews tend to have more clicks as people want to know what other consumers are saying about your company, brand, products or services.
Once you’ve listed your business, it’s time to start getting in those reviews.
Final Thoughts on How to drive Local Traffic
If you are just coming across the Local Pack terminology today, it’s not too late to start implementing the above strategies and getting your business to where it needs to be. And if you think your SEO is enough, remember all the good perks that come with your business being on Google’s Local Pack. Armed with your Google My Business Listing, nicely optimised website and online reviews, there’s no need for you to lag behind and you will soon be learning how to drive local traffic to your website.