Search engine marketing is a long-term digital marketing strategy, not an overnight fix. For it to be truly successful, it should be grounded in realistic, long-term goals.
To expect instant gratification is a sure road to frustration, and can sabotage your efforts before business starts coming in.
SEM campaigns have no end date, they must persist through the lifetime of a business’s online presence. Done right, it pays off with compounding interest.
Search engine marketing grows more powerful the longer you continue. Consistently posting new information, and making a habit of refreshing older content periodically, will drive results as long as you stay committed to quality content and best practices.
You Can’t Buy Organic Reach
Since you cannot pay Google or any other search engine to rank organically on the maps or the SERPs, it is important to know what the search engines look for when ranking your business. Search engines use a “Quality Scoring System” to determine the ranking of the organic and map listings.
Listed below are the most influential ranking factors in organic search and the local pack rankings. These signals provide the largest impact on both localized organic and local pack results.
When optimizing for the local map-pack, having a physical address in the targeted search location is key.
A popular request from some service industries looking to grow their presence online is to hide their address in listings. While you could still show up prominently in the local map-pack with no address listed, you will always have a better position in local searches when you show your address online.
Local Search Marketing Is An Evolving Landscape
Google’s local search algorithm is continually being developed. Your web optimization techniques need to center around two things:
- Authority building
Paid advertising aside, many of our clients rank better in organic local search because they have a high-quality online presence.
Maximize Your Online Visibility
These are the core 5 pillars needed to build your online authority, and achieve a high Quality Score:
- Uniform name, address, and phone number (NAP) to all local search directories (e.g. YP, Manta, City Search, Yelp, Google, etc.)
- Enhanced Business listings – GMB (Google My Business Page) Include complete business profile to all Local Directories.
- Content/Keyword – What does your website say about what you offer? What does the content score on your local listings? Is the content clear and precise, offering the best experience to your end user?
- Online Reviews – What are your clients saying about you on Yelp, Angie’s List? With Google, reviews hold the most value in terms of search engine management.
- Backlinks – Do other websites have a link to your website? Getting quality backlinks is a top ranking factor according to Google.
Establish Domain Authority
With all these pillars in place, search engines will recognize your listings as a trustworthy business, which helps build your domain authority. Higher domain authority means a higher place on the SERPs. The example below shows search results for one of our clients:
The example below shows search results for one of our clients:
As you can see there are multiple links that can end up on the SERPs. We have the Map listings (Short Stack), organic listings (native website content), review sites, directories, and social networking sites.
All these links give the consumer a transparent look into the business, allowing them to make an informed choice. In short, the effect of showing multiple times for a single search term is powerful. It can create influence your marketplace and help boost domain authority at the same time.
Get On The Map
Search results have developed quite a bit over the years to give users a more seamless experience. The world of local search greatly benefited from the release of map listings, showing consumers exactly where your business is located.
When a user views a map listing they are greeted with reviews and other information from sites to help them make an educated choice about where to spend their hard-earned money.
This high-level overview, when managed properly, can encourage conversions.
Mobile Is On The Rise
Mobile devices have put the world into our pockets. The growth of niche social networks and mobile apps like Yelp allow the customer to find the things they need, at any place and at any time.
As we mentioned previously, have accurate and identical listings will greatly improve your chances of being found in a local search. tool for identifying any discrepancies, incorrect submissions, and
Check For Discrepancies In Your Listings
AdCom8 offers a free tool called SCAN for identifying discrepancies in your listings. When using SCAN make sure you give accurate NAP information for your business.
The screenshot below shows the results of a SCAN, with all the discrepancies shown in red. These issues, which they may seem minor, prevent business listings from ranking well on the SERPs.
To maximize your search marketing efforts, these discrepancies must be corrected. In addition to consistency across directories, maintaining the five core is also critical to your efforts.Can you do it yourself?
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Can you do it yourself? Of course, you can—but you must be committed.
Effective search marketing takes time, expertise and a defined process. To maintain your rankings can be a serious endeavor depending how competitive your industry’s local search market is.
What local search marketing techniques have you used for your business? Were they effective? Leave your thoughts in the comments.