I published this back in May (2022) but and regularly make updates so what you’re seeing below is the easiest, quickest, and most up-to-date method for ranking your business #1 in Google, locally.
1. Create and claim your local Google Maps business profile / listing
With a Business Profile on Google, you can manage how your local business shows up across Google products, like Maps and Search.
If you run a business that serves customers at a particular location, or you serve customers within a designated service area, your Business Profile will help people find you.
If you want the best shot at getting to #1 for your best search key words / terms, you can also hire someone like me to do this for you as long as you remember to vet them well and beware of people that’ll happily take your money and not do any of the required keyword research or SEO copywriting and you won’t ever rank for search terms to grow your brand.
2. Complete every section of your Google Business Profile (was: Google My Business)
This really just piggybacks off #1 above but if you’re going hire a pro to do it for you, then you don’t gave to worry about this one.
If not, here’s an explainer video from Google showing all the fields that need to be completed:
Keep in mind, while this video does a good job of telling you what to do, it’s fairly uncompetitive and doesn’t get into the nitty gritty of how to rank on top as its purpose is only to get you listed (whereas your goal is to get you listed above everyone else).
3. Keep your name, address, and phone number consistent
For best and fastest results, your business address and phone number needs to be consistent everywhere it appears online and it
needs to should be local to the area you’re targeting.
This means if you’re renting golf carts, like this company in Anna Maria Island, then the address and phone number on your website should match the address and phone number on your citations, Google Business page, Yelp page, social media profile pages, etc.
4. Properly categorize and describe your business
I’m always shocked by how many people get lazy when describing their business.
This is literally your best chance to target the key words people are using to search for and buy what you’re selling.
It’s also a great opportunity to toot your own horn and let people know why you’re their best option (because they’re expecting you to use this space to tell them why they need to choose you over your competition).
5. Add new photos and posts to your listing regularly
Monthly is okay. Weekly is good. Daily is better.
Regular updates and activity on your Google Business Profile lets Google know you’re not a here-today-gone-tomorrow business.
As far as the algorithm goes, the more relevant activity it registers, the more it “sees” you as an authority and therefore will “want” to rank you over everyone else.
6. Get lots of 5-star Google reviews
Use any and every opportunity to get ask customers and prospects for reviews and follow up religiously.
Reviews are a big deal with Google and the higher your overall average, the better you’ll rank for all your keywords.
As with #5 above, every time someone reviews your business, the algorithm marks it as relevant activity and every time you get a good review, you’re rewarded with more Authority Points.
Again, the more authority you have, the better you’ll rank across all your keywords.
Also, Google’s algorithm really likes when businesses respond to reviews
as soon as possible immediately so do this for every review you get (good and bad).
This is a rule to follow with all your profiles because even social algorithms (TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) also reward your immediate responses by showing your posts to more people.
SmarterQueue has a nice tool for responding to direct messages as soon as they come in and they’re working on doing the same for Google Business.
7. Delete duplicate Google Business listings
Duplicate listings confuse the people looking to buy what you’re selling and they typically end up moving on and buying from your competitors.
Also, duplicate listings are a red flag for Google’s algorithm letting them know you might be trying to spam the system and so for obvious reasons, you’ll want to avoid this.
That said, if you have multiple locations like this school, you’ll want separate Business Profiles for each.
Setting up multiple locations isn’t so straightforward and a lot of people end up hiring someone like me to do it for them right the first time.
If you have the time and you’re not in a rush to start ranking, I suggest you do it yourself so you get a better understanding of how this all works… but if you need to start ranking ASAP and / or you don’t need to be so far in the weeds with these kinds of tasks, here’s a company that only does Google Business Profile marketing.
8. Have a responsive website
You need a responsive website. It’s a non-negotiable.
If you don’t already have one and an affordable responsive website, check out SMARTER CLICKS MEDIA.
9. Target your website and Google Business Profile for local keywords
If you don’t already have a list of keywords that people are currently using to search for what you’re selling (that you know you can rank for with relative ease), stop everything and get on this ASAP.
You wouldn’t show up at an airport without a destination and neither should you create an online presence without knowing what key words / terms people are using to buy what you’re selling.
I typically recommend using a professional keyword development service because when regular people do it themselves, the results are usually poor.
When they’re reputable, SEO pros have the time, skills, know-how, experience, tools, and data to do keyword research and selection right.
Bottom line, keywords are the foundation to your digital marketing.
Get it wrong and you’re wasting time and resources building on a foundation that’ll fall under its own weight (best case scenario you’ll waste a lot of money building an online identity based on arbitrary keywords and no strategy).
10. Buy citations
Citations are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number on maps, directories, and websites that aren’t your own. Here’s where you can get good high-quality citations for cheap.