This week I had a kickoff call with a new client. My client serves the local Nashville area with his custom creations. He said he used to be at the top of Google rankings when people searched for his services but that lately Google had lowered his rank.

It can feel so frustrating to be at the whim of ever-changing search engine algorithms. You might even feel forced into running expensive Google Ads just to compete in the search results! Or suffer the consequences of growing your business at a snail’s pace.  

But I’ll tell you the trick I showed my new client so he could make sure he gets found by the people looking for him!

The Anatomy of a Google Search Engine Result for Local Businesses

While we were talking, I ran a quick Google search for his industry. By understanding the anatomy of a Google Search Engine Result Page, you can begin to beat the “algorithm” to get your business placed squarely in front of your next buyer. No paid ads needed.

Let’s begin by looking at an example. Here is a quick search I ran in Google for a custom patio design company. Let’s look at how Google begins to show the results to the user when they search for their desired business. 

Priority #1: Google Ads

First Google is going to show ads. Since we are all skeptical of businessess that blow their own horns, many of us keep scrolling past the ad zone. Unless an ad specifically addresses the number one question we have, we are more than likely to keep scrolling to see what other options are there. So let’s see what else Google is going to show us?

Priority #2: Google My Business Map View for Local Businesses

Next is the map. This map is a comprehensive list of businesses near your location that match your search criteria. These are Google My Business listings. This is the listing you want to focus some attention on, especially because a Google My Business listing is free. 

Within these listings are the details you, the business owner, specify for your business. Also displayed here are the Google reviews for each business.

In order to get your business to appear on this Google map for free, simply claim your business with a Google email address! Start here to see which Google My Business listings you already own and to optimize your Google My Business profile.

We discovered with a simple search for my client that his business had the wrong classification and his local business was actually listed in the wrong city. The fix was quick for this issue and now we will be able to make sure he shows up in front of people who are looking for him.

And now that his business is categorized properly, Google will show where he is located on the map to his next buyer. 

Priority #3: Images!

Before you upload images to your website, make sure you name them properly so Google can show them to the right people. For example, if you want your ice cream business to show up when someone searches for “ice cream shop near me”, name your photo “your town ice cream store” and then upload it to your website.

By naming a photo properly before you upload it, Google can read it and know when to display it in the search results.

Priority #4: The Google search engine result listings

Way, way down in the search results is where your standard Google listings are. This is where the pages are displayed in the order Google ranks them.

So after you understand how Google begins to display search results to the user, you begin to see that having a website rank as number one isn’t the only way to be shown on the search engine results page.

By optimizing your free Google My Business listing for your locally owned business along with naming photos properly, you can ensure that your business shows up on Page 1 of the Google results page!

Ready to optimize your Google My Business listing? Check out this tutorial >>

Are you curious to learn other ways your local business can implement a marketing plan without a huge paid advertising budget? Book your discovery call today.