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SEO Self-Assessment Series: Local Search Visibility

Video 7: Local Search Visibility

This video discusses local search visibility as part of our eight-part, SEO self-assessment series. If you're a business with brick and mortar locations, a physical storefront, or an office location, it's imperative that your online information is optimized.

Watch the video below to analyze your current efforts.

Transcript

Hello, today we're talking about how to measure and analyze your local search visibility. If you're a business with brick and mortar locations, or you have a physical storefront or an office location, it's imperative that your information in Google Maps and Apple Maps is up-to-date, as well as all the other local search directories and local search engines across the web.

It's increasingly difficult as this information is dispersed and disseminated across different listing services and providers. Perhaps you've moved. Maybe you've had some different services offered at different times. Really what we're going to talk about today are some of the tools you can use to go in and audit or assess your local search visibility as part of our eight-part, ongoing SEO self-assessment series. You can watch the videos in any order and go at your own pace. So, let's dig into local search.

We're all familiar with Google Maps. Your business is going to be represented by a little map marker and in some cases, if you've already claimed a business profile, you're going to have a lot more in-depth information and opportunities to supplement that information with things like your office hours, your website your phone number, and some of the corresponding descriptors—or categories of products or services that you offer—so that you're showing up in the appropriate searches when people are looking for you both on the web and in local search results.

One of the things that is imperative for anybody that's concerned about their local search visibility is to go in and claim your organization, or your business listing, in the various search engines. This is just one example—this is Google My Business. Bing has their own version, you can go claim your business with Apple, and a lot of the online directories as well. We're going to explore Google, but you can go look at the others on your own as well. In Google My Business, once you've logged in, and verify that you own the business—by confirming through either a pin number or a postcard they're going to send you with verifying information—then you're going to be able to see a lot more information about your locations and the locations that you may manage on behalf of your organization. Your dashboard view is going to give you an overview of all the locations that you can go in and influence. And then when you dig into a particular location, you're going to see what percent complete or verified it is, so that you can understand whether or not there's more work to do.

In your business listing, it's going to give you some information about performance and how often it shows up—as well as some tips and ideas on how to keep it updated so that it stays fresh and relevant for the ways that people are searching for you. Google does sometimes get it a little bit aggressive with pushing updates and pushing changes to this, so you're going to want to check back pretty often to make sure that you're keeping it updated and relevant for the time—especially as there are holidays, or during COVID-19. If you have any updates you need to share with your customers about social distancing policies or protocols in your business, this is an important place to show it, so they have a realistic expectation before they show up at your location.

Now in local search, geographic proximity is a huge indicator of relevance for somebody searching if they're looking for a doctor, or a dentist, or a shoe store near me. But also, don't overlook the importance and power of reviews. We're all familiar with how the one- through five-star system reviews play a huge role in how well your business is going to be ranked in the organic or local search results. You can't go in and write your own reviews obviously, but there are services that will let you monitor and respond to reviews. But you can also respond directly here in Google My Business and in the other platforms as well. So you want to stay on top of those and flag any that might seem suspicious or illegitimate.

Now, you may have a lot of locations, so it may not be as easy to go through and do this on a location-by-location basis. So, the next tool I wanted to share with you is called Moz Local at moz.com. They are a suite of SEO tools that have a great tool called Moz Local, which for the free version, allows you to check your business information. You simply type in your name and street address and your zip code, and it's going to quickly scan through several dozen online directories in Maps to make sure that you are properly verified and up-to-date—and that your listing information is correct. You can subscribe to Moz Local and there are other services that provide the same services that keep your information updated across all these listings and directories.

I would encourage you to go double check and make sure you have everything in the right place and that it's consistent. Again, if you've moved or changed your phone number, or you've changed your web address, sometimes that old outdated information can start to show up in weird places—and you may be missing some opportunities to get in front of customers as they're searching.

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7. Local Search Visibility

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