As more and more consumers turn to Google for local searches it becomes also more attractive to small local businesses to boost their visibility on the Google search engine results page (SERP). But what are the best ways to boost local visibility?
SIM Partners, a local search marketing optimization and technology provider, published an aggregated study among 315 US businesses that shows how small businesses, by using basic SEO tactics, can improve the visibility of their Google business listings in the local search results on Google. It is important to note that the businesses that were included in the study were not independent small businesses, but national brands or chains with local locations. The SEO tactics SIM Partners used should also be applicable to local SEO for individual small businesses.
The overall goal of the SIM Partner study was to track the achieved improvements in local rankings on primary keyword/city search phrase combinations. SIM Partners tracked more than 4,000 keyword/city combinations across 315 US business locations.
Prior to the optimization effort these businesses had only 26% of their keyword/city combinations ranked in any of the top-7 positions, with only 8% of combinations ranked in the top-2 positions.
After optimization, targeted keyword/city combinations that ranked in the top-7 positions on the SERP’s increased by 179%; top-2 positions increased 399%; 3rd through 5th
positions increased 97%; and targeted keyword/city combinations not ranked in the top-7 positions decreased 62%. It’s also important to note that the results were achieved over a 6-to-9 month period.
To achieve the results SIM Partners employed the following search engine optimization tactics:
– Create custom business descriptions for each business location utilizing primary keyword/city search phrases that searchers would use
– Add additional information, such as photos and videos, to the Google business listings
– Identify and remove duplicate business listings on Google and other sites. When Google and other local search sites have multiple business listings there is a chance that links and citation are split between multiple listings thereby weakening the ranking power of each listing relative to the competition
– Identify relevant 3rd-party sites where adding additional listing information can increase the number of citation discovered by Google, thereby increasing the rankings in the SERP on Google
– Ongoing tweaking of content on each Google business listing to rank for both long and short tail search terms
The full report can be downloaded here (registration required).