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Rank in google local searches

Today, we’re going to talk about how to rank in google searches locally for your company’s services.

Getting your local home service company to rank on page #1 on Google for searches related to your home services is one of the top ways to grow your business.

Let’s take a look at some of the key factors that can help you get there.

Let’s understand how Google determines local rankings and then we can zero in on optimizing for these metrics.

There are 3 key factors Google uses to determine which content to serve the local searcher and provide the best possible info they can to help them find what they’re looking for.

Factor #1. Relevance

Google wants to provide the searcher with ads, map listings, and web pages that are about the same topic the person is searching for.

That’s their #1 job and they do it better than any other search engine, which is why they get nearly 90% of all search traffic in the U.S.

So what does that mean to your home service company?

It means your ads, if you run Google ads, your Google Maps listing (a.k.a. your Google My Business listing), and your website need to have unique content that speaks to the exact searches you want to get traffic and leads for.

For example, if you’re a plumber, and you want to rank well for “water heater repair near me” to someone in your local service area. You need to have ads that talk about that exact topic, using keywords that target all the variations of water heater repairs.

It means that your Google Maps listing needs to have “water heater repairs” listed as a service in your listing. It’s probably best to also have new water heaters as a product listing in your Google maps listing.

It means that your Google Maps listing should have photographs of your team repairing water heaters.

It means that your Google Maps listing should regularly be making posts about water heater repairs in the cities in your service area.

Next up for Relevance means that your website needs to have a specific page about water heater repairs and link to related pages about water heater installations, water heater flushes, tankless water heaters, and more.

All of that helps Google understand that you’re in the water heater repair business. 

You can insert whatever service you are in as the topic in that water heater example.

The same suggestions apply to every service you provide.

If you service more than one city and those areas are very competitive, then you’ll also need a separate city page for each city in your service area. That page must speak to each service offered or even have its own unique service pages that only link to that city page.

Even better is to have a cluster of unique service pages that speak about and link to and from each city page.

Factor #2. Distance or Proximity

Google considers all local searches as the searcher wanting to find a business that’s near to them.

They treat every local search as if you’re looking for a pizza place and want the closest one.

Right or wrong, that’s how they do it, so that’s what you’ve got to work with.

If the searcher doesn’t mention a city in their search phrase, Google will still use their location as a key factor in serving them results relevant to their search topic.

So that means three things:

  1. Your Google ads settings will need to include their location city in the area you’ve chosen to show your ads in.
  1. Your Google Map location will most likely only show up for people in the same city that your business location is in.

Unless you’re in a very unpopulated area with few competitors, it’s extremely unlikely your Maps listing will show up in the top listings for searches outside of the city your business is located in.

  1. Your website and its service pages can potentially rank in the same city it’s located in but will also lose ranking power outside of that city unless you have well-designed city pages specific to cities in your service area.

Proximity is everything for local searches in Google.

Google searches

Factor #3. Prominence

This one is a more broad topic and factor. 

It includes obvious factors such as how many customer reviews you have on Google and elsewhere plus the overall rating of those reviews. 

Do some of those customer reviews mention the same service the searcher is looking for? Ask customers to mention the service you did for them in their Google review, and it can help your rankings for those services.

Do you have reviews coming in every week or month? Review “velocity” is a factor in Google.

Are you replying to every customer review? Google wants to see that you’re responding; for that matter, so does the customer who wrote it. You wouldn’t ignore your customer if they walked into your business and said how great you were, yet businesses do that every day with their reviews by ignoring them. So reply to every review.

How do your reviews and overall rating stack up against your competitors?

Is your Google Maps listing verified and filled out and up-to-date with correct information?

Are you staying on top of holiday hours in your listing every month?

Again, does your Maps listing mention the same service the person is looking for?

Does your Maps listing make GMB posts about that same topic the person is looking for? 

Does it have photos showing that same service?

Is your business listed in other important and related local business directories like Yelp, Bing Places, and hundreds of others?

These listings are often called “Citations,” which simply means another website is “citing” your business info in its directory.

Is the business name, address, phone, and website URL correct and consistent in all of those directories, or have you moved and not run a citation audit and clean up afterward?

If you’ve got lots of directory listings with conflicting information, you’re not going to rank as well.

Your website also plays a major role here. Does it have your contact info in the footer and on the contact us page?

Is your website mobile-friendly?

Do you have your Google Maps listing embedded on your site to tell Google the Maps listing belongs to the same company like this website?

Is your website SEO friendly, is it optimized for search engines?

Do you have a good site structure? 

Are all of your service pages listed under the main service URL?

Are your city pages grouped under your main service area page?

Do you have topical clusters created as I described in the water heater example? Are there multiple topical pages linking to each other and the main service topic page?

Suppose you’ve got several pages on different aspects of a similar topic all linked together. In that case, Google can better see you’re an authority on that topic and all of its related sub-topics.

Does your website have links from other websites to yours? This is the #1 ranking factor for your website. Google looks at links from other sites to yours and votes that your site has good and helpful content on it that’s worth linking to.

Grow links by syndicating your content on social media and issuing press releases on newsworthy topics, events, and milestones. 

Grow links by putting your top competitors into an online keyword tool to see who’s linking to them and then outreaching for them to link to your content also.

Check out episode #45 for “10 tips on building local links” to help power up your rankings.

If your site is just a sales brochure of your services, you’re not going to do so well in the search rankings. You also have to provide helpful content for people in various stages of the buyer’s journey in your services.

If you’re a solar installer, you need to provide helpful info on solar leases, power purchase agreements, solar loans, PV panel differences, and more to attract links from other sites.

Google themselves says that Relevance, Proximity, and Prominence are the top ranking factors for local searches.

Those are the things to rank well for local service searches and get more traffic, calls, and high-quality leads.

When you do them well, you’ll stand a better chance of growing your business from local online searches.

Alright, I hope that helped some of you. Thanks for sharing your time and attention with us today.

Good luck out there and create a great day!

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Founder & CEO of Battle Plan Marketing, LLC. We customize marketing strategies and solutions for home service companies. Mark has over 30 years experience in sales and marketing, 20 years as a business owner or partner, and over a decade in digital marketing and website design. We offer analysis, strategy, project implementation and management, and marketing coaching. Mark is also host of the new Battle Plan Marketing® Podcast.
Mark Ambrose
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