Conversion Optimisation

Growth Hacking 101: How To Hack Local Search

It doesn’t require a big budget or months of campaigning. It simply involves hacking local search. Whether you make donuts, print t-shirts, sell guitars or create tattoos, you can get a lot more customers through your doors by doing the right things.

When it comes to local SEO, Google Maps is the most important factor

Local SEO can be confusing.

You do a little research, read a few articles and BAM! You’re reading stuff about Pigeon algorithm, NAP, local pack, snack pack, local stack, citation volume, click-to-call, review velocity…

You’re thinking, “What the…?!”

Welcome to the wild and confusing realm of local SEO!

Local SEO is not a tame animal. It’s an intimidating area, even for the most accomplished SEOs.

Thankfully, there’s a way to bulldoze through all of the jargon and confusion and still get the local traffic you want and need.

Have you heard of the Pareto principle? 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.

It works in marketing. You’ll get 80% of your marketing results from 20% of your marketing efforts.

Running a local business is extremely time consuming. You probably don’t have time to learn everything there is to know about local SEO.

Thanks to Pareto’s principle, you don’t have to! What I’m going to show you takes minimal effort, but will give you major results.

SEOs argue among themselves as to which factors are most important in local search.  And, there are a lot of possible factors!

Moz listed out the top 50 organic factors, plus the top 50 local/snack pack factors! That’s 100 factors! And, those are just the “top” factors!

What if you don’t understand some complex issue like “Quantity of Structured Citations (IYPs, Data Aggregators)?”

Don’t worry about it!

For all of the jargon and complicated discussion, one thing reigns supreme — that 20% of your local optimization effort that will give you 80% of your results.

It’s called Google My Business.

The SEO authorities agree on this. In the Moz discussion of top 100 factors, Google My Business is in 35 of them! (Abbreviated “GMB” below.”)

In other words, one third of all of the local ranking factors point to one central feature:  Google My Business.

If you can successfully configure Google My Business, then your local SEO has basically taken care of itself!

Besides, there’s a massive blind spot in the discussion of the local ranking factors as discussed by Moz.

Their discussion centers on businesses that have websites.

But, here’s the thing:  Your business doesn’t need a website in order to successfully rank on local!

And, once you scrub website-specific factors from the list above, you’re left largely with just one thing: Google My Business!

Okay, but wait a second. You thought this article was about Google Maps, right?

Right. Google My Business is Google Maps.

You can’t simply click your business location from Google Maps and start hacking its features. Instead, you have to use Google My Business to address your map issues.

Why do you want to be on Google Maps?

I want to show you why Google Maps is important and why you want to be on it.

To make this as specific as possible, let’s walk through a customer journey.

Let’s say I’m wandering around Pike Place in Seattle, Washington. I’m hungry for donuts.

All of this information is provided thanks to Google My Business.

Customers today will find you based on Google My Business information.

Do all the other local SEO factors matter? Sure. They matter to a degree.

But, if you want to save time, save mental energy and hack Google maps to your local business’s benefit, this is the way to go.

Should you be on Google Maps?

Not just anyone should go claiming a business on Google Maps. Should you?

Here are two questions to find out:

  • Does your business serve local customers?
  • Do you want customers to come to your physical store or location?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you should be on Google maps.

If you operate a remote business, such as software or digital marketing, there’s no need to be on Google Maps. A lot of digital entrepreneurs are in this situation.