dominate local seo small business

How To Dominate The Local Search Results in Google

When it comes to local business, just about everybody turns to the internet first to find the product or service they are looking for.

In 2017, 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses, with 12% looking for a local business online every day. That is according to a survey by Bright Local, a local marketing platform.

So yes, just about all of your potential customers are on the internet.  But the question is, will they be able to find your business when they search online?

If you are not taking your local online marketing seriously, then you are seriously losing out on lots of business.

Getting your local business at the top of the Google search results is like the Holy Grail of local marketing.  Having that kind of visibility in the local search results can provide a steady stream of leads for your business.

What if I told you that you can get your business listed at least 3 times at the top of the Google local search results?  Maybe even more.  How would that impact your business if you were listed multiple times on the first page of Google for your main search terms?

Yes, it can be done, lots of businesses do it all the time and it drives a lot of business to their website every day.

I'm going to show you how you can get your business listed multiple times on page one of the Google local search results.

Look at the example below.  You can see that this Physio clinic (and one of our clients) is listed 3 times at the top of the Google local search results for a popular search term in their city.

SEO for Physical Therapy Clinics

This “Local Marketing Stack” consists of 3 things:

  • Google Adwords
  • Google My Business
  • Your Website

When it comes to a local search result in Google, all 3 of these types of listings will show up in the search results.  Since they are all different types of listings, any business has the ability to dominate all 3 of these, like we did with the physiotherapy clinic above.

The example above is a pretty popular and important search term for our client, and they grab the Lion's share of the clicks and traffic each and every time.

You can do the same by optimizing your local marketing strategy.  Let's start from top to bottom.


Google Adwords

Every small business should be running some sort of Google Adwords campaign.  Almost everyone turns to the internet to find a local business and the majority of them use Google to do so.  Running an Adwords campaign gives you the ability to have your website show up at the very top of the Google search results, even above the organic rankings.

Google Adwords totally dominates the search results when it comes to mobile, see the image below.  Adwords ads take up the entire “top of the fold” on mobile, forcing you to scroll down in order to see the Google My Business map results and even further to see the organic search results.  Google will typically show 1-2 ads at the top of the mobile search results.

local search result example mobile

The nice thing with Google Adwords is that you have the ability to set your exact budget, target a fixed geographic area, and to only bid on keywords that are important to you.  This level of control makes it affordable for most small businesses to get started.

A good starting strategy is to only target a handful of important keywords for your business and to set a monthly budget so you can control your ad spend as you test out your new Adwords campaign.  One tip is to make sure you are not targeting your keywords too broadly or else you may show your ads for keywords not relevant to your business.  Check out this short video to learn about keyword match types in Adwords.

If you have questions about setting up your Google Adwords campaign or need some help, you can contact us here.  If you are a new Google Adwords advertiser, you also qualify for a free ad credit by Google so you can test it out without much risk.


Google My Business

Google My Business is a free listing from Google that is available to any local business.

The GMB listing shows up in local search results and is displayed a few different ways:

1 – The GMB listing can show up in the local search results next to a Google map.  This is why this is sometimes called the “Map Listing”

google my business map results2 – The GMB listing can also show up in the Google search results as a knowledge panel.  The knowledge panel is often triggered when doing a brand search or a closely related brand search and Google associates your business with the search query.

gmb knowledge panel

Google My Business listings are free and easy to setup but it takes work in order to get it to show up at the top of the search results.  The first step is to claim your listing and to make sure that all of your information is accurate.  from there, you need to work on getting customer reviews for your listing as well as adding rich media, like photos, videos and adding posts to your listing.  To get a better idea of how to optimize your Google My Business listing, watch this short video.

If you are just starting out with your GMB listing or having trouble getting it to rank higher, you can also insert a local ad into the local map results using Google Adwords.  You can get instructions on how to do that in Google Adwords here, and below is what it looks like

local ad in map results


Organic Search Results

When it comes to local search results in Google, organic listings tend to play second fiddle behind Adwords ads and Google My Business listing results.  But they still generate a lot of exposure and can be an additional listing you have on page one of Google.

organic search results example local seo

Organic search results are tied directly to pages on your website.  When you hear the term, “SEO”, or search engine optimization, getting your web pages to rank high in Google is usually what is being referred to.

Getting your website to rank high in the search results is usually the hardest to do out of the three as it involved hundreds of different factors that Google takes into account when deciding where your rank your website for any particular search term.  The organic search results will often have more competition as, unlike Google My Business, you do not need to be a local business in order to show up organically in the search results.  You may find review platforms like Yelp or online directories showing up high in the search results, so you have a lot more competition.

One advantage the organic search results have over the Google My Business map listings is that you have the ability to have your website show up many more times in the Google search results since it will always show up in the search results, whereas the Google My Business listing results only gets triggered when Google understands its a local search query.  You also have a chance of listing your website more than one time in the organic search results.  Many times you can get your homepage and a service page to rank on the first page of Google or your homepage and a topical blog post to rank.  This gives you the ability to rank more than 3 times on the first page of Google.

Aside from organic rankings, your website is also a ranking factor when it comes to how high your Google My Business listing is ranked.  The stronger your website and your authority is on Google, the higher your website and Google My Business listing will rank.

SEO for a local business is a pretty broad topic, below are some resources on how to get your website to rank high using Local SEO.

Get Started Creating Your Local marketing Stack

So now you understand what you need to do in order to get your business listed 3 or more times in the local search results in Google.  Google Adwords is easy to get started and can get you top rankings immediately.  Google My Business is also easy to get started but does take some time to get higher rankings for it.  Organic search rankings do take time and effort using Local SEO strategies but can pay big dividends in the long run and help complete the local marketing trifecta in Google that can make you the dominant business for your local market.

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
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