Want to know how to show up in local search results? If you’re having trouble getting your business to show up in the Google local search results, you’re not alone. For starters, there’s a lot less territory there – with ads on the top and bottom of the page and online directories, there isn’t much room for small local businesses to show up on the first page of Google search results.
Complicating matters, Google has a local filter that can cause a business listing to drop out of local search results. This filter isn’t very different from websites ranking organically in search results. Ideally, the best sites win the top spots.
What causes a business to get filtered out of local search results?
There are a variety of factors that influence local search results. The following situations might cause a business to get filtered out of the local search results.
Proximity of the search is critical
Google now takes into consideration where the mobile searcher is physically located when they are performing the search. This means that local search results can also now depend on where the business is physically located when the search is being done.
Select the Most Specific Google My Business Category
When you set up your Google My Business category for your listing, choose the most specific category that is appropriate and relevant to your business. You can see in the screenshot below that Len The Plumber has chosen Plumber for it’s Google My Business Category.
If you see your competitor outranking you, find out what category they are using and select the same category for your business. Look at all the other things they are doing to differentiate themselves online and copy what they are doing so you can outrank them.
Make sure you don’t select too many categories. More is not better. Too many categories can confuse Google to the point where it’s not sure what your company’s specialty is. Try removing the less specific categories.
Don’t Have the Same Physical Address as Your Competitors
If it’s possible, don’t have the same address as your competitors. This means that you should not list a virtual office or a UPS p.o. box store as your physical address. If you do this and there are competing businesses in the same location, there’s a good chance that you won’t appear in the local search results.
Multiple Practitioners Working in the Same Location
If you’re an attorney, accountant, doctor, cpa, or some other professional in an industry where there might be an office filled with people working in the same category, Google may filter out some of your practitioners’ listings? Google doesn’t want one business dominating the first page of Google local search results.
The workaround to this dilemma is that each practitioner’s Google My Business listing should have a different category (if possible) and should be directed to different URLS (either the person’s specific profile page or a page about their specialty – they should not all point to the business home page.
Another thing you can do to differentiate the practitioners is to make sure that each practitioner has his or her own unique phone number in the Google My Business listing.
See What Your Competitors Are Doing
If your business is not appearing in the Google local search results, see what your competitors are doing. Maybe they are doing something different or better than you – and you can learn from them. When you’re evaluating your competition, make sure you focus on the signals that help sites rank organically:
- Do they have a better Google+ description?
- Do they have more 5-star reviews?
- Is their Google My Business listing completely filled out while yours is missing some information?
- What is their business category? Is it different from the one you have selected?
Remember that Google just wants to show the best businesses first. If you truly compete head to head with your competition, and you follow the advice in this blog post, you will eventually appear in the Google local search results.
Related Google Local Search Blog Posts
At Connect4 Consulting our specialty is website design and internet marketing for small businesses. You might find these other local search related blog posts of use:
- Why You Need to Optimize Your Google My Business Page
- Five Problematic Local SEO Tactics
- Avoid Local SEO Mistakes