Local search has always been important, but with the explosive growth in smartphone use, it has become a critical part of any local business’ marketing.

50% of consumers who use their smartphone to do a local search visit that store within a day and 18% of them end up buying something.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best way to rank well in the Google results — but it’s a competitive job, especially if your business is in a popular market. Ranking well for local searches is a whole different ballgame, though.

Let’s look at how local SEO services can be your shortcut to the top of the search results.

How to Outrank Huge Companies

If you do business in a market with huge corporations like WalMart or Amazon, there is practically no chance you’ll be able to outrank them in the regular search results pages (SERPs) for any popular search terms. They have more money to throw at their SEO and so much momentum to overcome.

The secret is to not try to outrank them in the SERPs.

Instead, outrank them by grabbing a spot in the local results. When someone does a location-based search in Google, by including “in location X” or “near me” in their search, Google will include a set of local results above the normal SERPs.

This is known as the local “3-Pack” — because it will show the top three local results. This listing includes information like the business’ phone number, hours of operation, and average reviews.

How Local SEO Services Help You Rank

There are several things you need to do to get your business listed in the Local 3-Pack.

The first is to claim your Google My Business profile. This profile lets you enter various bits of information about your business. Google uses some of your listing’s information in local results and reviews your listing’s information in order to recognize when it should consider your business local to the searcher.

Along the same lines, you should build citations on other websites. Citations include information about your business, like what you enter in your Google My Business profile.

Google uses the information it finds on sites like Yelp and the Better Business Bureau to improve what it “knows” about your business. You should also make sure your business listed in any relevant business directories, such as your local Chamber of Commerce or industry-specific sites.

Google gets the average review ratings for the local results from sites like Yelp — so you should also be proactive about managing those reviews. You can’t always avoid bad reviews, but make sure you respond to them when you can. Encourage customers to leave good reviews on those sites if they’re happy with your service.

How Much Time Does This All Take?

Ranking at the top of the local results can be a lot easier than getting to the top of the regular results — but it still takes time and effort. Plus, Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm to improve the results, so you need to stay on top of the latest changes, too.

If you’d rather focus on what your business does best and leave the SEO stuff to experts, Marketing Magnitude can help.

Our local SEO services will help increase your business’ visibility by getting you ranked higher. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.