Google For Local Businesses SEO Best Practices

What is Google Local / Google My Businesses?

As far as marketing opportunities go, Google My Business (GMB) is one that your dispensary can’t afford to miss. The platform is a free to use, one stop shop for managing your business’ presence on the world’s most popular search engine. Most importantly, a GMB profile helps you display your company’s vital information to an audience of thousands on Google Maps and Google Search.

Google currently controls 90% of the search engine market, so being in its good graces is the key to securing new customers. In fact, research shows that adding information about your business to GMB leads to at least 30% more clicks to your homepage. Furthermore, customers are twice as likely to consider your business to be reputable if your information is verified through GMB.

How It Looks In The Search Engine Results

Being listed on Google provides your customers the opportunity to quickly learn more about your products and services as well as find out what sets you apart from the competition in one, easily-accessible place. Here’s how it looks:

Google featured box

Your GMB listing gives you a panel that appears on the right side of the page when someone searches for your business. Here, prospective customers gain access to key information such as your:

  • Website
  • Photos
  • Google Reviews
  • Phone number
  • Store Hours
  • Street Address

If customers like what they see, they will be directed to your place of business via Google Maps with the push of the button.

 

Your listing also ensures you are featured in general, location-based searches made through Google Maps. For instance, if someone searches for dispensaries near Santa Monica, CA, all the dispensaries registered with Google in the area will pop up.

Why it is important to rank in for local results, especially if you own a local business

 As you probably already know, it’s not enough to simply be present in the results; you also have to rank high in the list to win over new clients. In fact, as the graph below demonstrates, the click through rate (CTR) for any page increases substantially as your business increases in rank.

CTR graph per SERP position

This is especially important for local businesses because proximity to the searcher is the most important factor in determining how well a page ranks. So, if you have a well-optimized GMB listing, people in your area who search for a dispensary will always find your business first.

How to Create a Google My Business Listing

Here’s how to get started on GMB:

  • Go to the GMB page for creating or claiming a business
  • Enter your business’ name and address
  • If GMB already has a page for you, simply claim your listing
    • If someone has already claimed your business, follow the instructions here
  • Fill out the information you are prompted for
  • Be sure to choose the most relevant category and service areas for your dispensary
  • Make sure to verify your business via postcard to confirm your address with Google
    • This typically takes less than a week and is necessary in order to show up on Google Search

Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing

To make the most out of your GMB listing, follow these tips for optimization:

  • Convey all relevant details about business in full, with proper grammar and punctuation
  • Include important industry keywords such as:
    • Dispensary
    • Cannabis, weed, and/or marijuana
    • Recreational
    • Medical
    • Name of your location
    • Names of the most popular products that you sell
  • Share high resolution photos, including your logo, a cover photo, and pictures of your location
    • Sharing photos leads to 42% more requests for driving directions to your location and 35% more clicks through your website
  • Encourage customers to write Google Reviews on your GMB page
  • Respond to Google Reviews to show customers that you care

Ranking factors: What to do in order to rank higher in your local 3-pack

Upon searching for dispensaries in a specific area, Google delivers its assessment of the top three businesses in that location. This selection is known as the Local 3-Pack. Here’s what it looks like in the search results:

Google local pack

Being placed among these chosen few promises massive exposure for your brand. Here’s how to elbow your way into these sought after spots:

Links

Having high profile websites hyperlink to your website is one of the most important factors in boosting your rank on Google. Secure links by writing guest blogs for popular websites, hosting community events, and listing your business in local directories.

Social Signals

Social signals are another crucial ranking factor. These are your likes, shares, and general presence on social media sites. To increase your business’ exposure, feature your dispensary’s link in targeted social media ad campaigns to your local area.

Also, always include links to your social media pages on your website, and remember to ask customers to share and like your content on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Reviews

Having numerous positive reviews also plays an important part in ranking. Additionally, seeing good feedback also makes 71% of Google users more comfortable using a business. Make sure to include a link to your Google Review page on your newsletters, business cards, email signatures, and social media posts in order to garner great reviews.

Local SEO

Because 76% of people who search for local businesses on their smartphone visit a related business within a day, ranking higher in local searches is the key to beating the competition. Optimizing your website to rank in first place can be done in a few simple steps:

  • Include industry related keywords in all your web content
  • Include your location in your URL, business name, and website
  • Make local promotions for residents in your neighborhood or city
  • Create content about local news that relates to the industry
  • Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly to keep up with the rising trend towards mobile searches. If you want to know if you’re in the clear, run your site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. The test will inform you about changes you need to make to create a competitive mobile website.

mobile internet usage graph

Build a local community

The best way to make the most of the aforementioned suggestions is to engage you local customers. Through hosting and/or sponsoring community events, and making your storefront a fun and inviting environment, your users are more likely to leave great reviews, link to your website, and share your business on social media. All-in-all, once you create your GMB page and start following these directions, you’ll be well on your way to attracting the locals and transforming your place of business into a bustling community center.

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