Whether you are running a business or looking for information about specific products or services, there are certain basic facts about a local company that most people need to know. Things like name, address, and phone number tend to be critical pieces of information about your business that customers will want to find out through a basic Google search. If you run your business out of a local co-working space, you may be concerned that it could adversely affect your Google My Business and local search ranking.
One of the primary goals of digital marketing is to get your local business ranking at the top of the search engines so that potential clients will choose your company over your competition. There are many aspects of Search Engine Optimization to consider and many factors that contribute to a website's overall ranking on Google and other search engines, but everything always comes back to the need for a high ranking in the search results. Most potential clients will not go beyond the first page of results (and probably not past the top 3-5 results listed on that page), so it is critical for your online success that your company's website is on that first page for relevant keywords. This is doubly important when considering local SEO and the need for ranking locally.
When a potential client is looking for local businesses, it is essential that those businesses are available to customers through a phone number, social media, and/or (most especially) a physical location. If you are one of the many businesses that uses a co-working space out of which to run your business, it may be of concern to you whether or not Google and other search engines will recognize the physical location as your business address as being legitimate.
For the purposes of local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and your company's ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs), it is important that your address and phone number are specific to your business when you work out of a co-working space. When your goal is to rank high in the SERPs for your specific area, local SEO is going to be critical, and search engines need to know that you have an address so that you can appear in business directories for local customers.
To get started answering this question, let us define SEO first. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is an ongoing and ever-evolving process of improving your company's website to better perform on the search engines like Google. When potential customers are looking for your products or services, they are likely to turn to search results which are found using specific keywords. Your placement in those search results is a major factor in deciding whether or not that client contacts your company or your competitors.
There are aspect of your website that you can change and improve to make your site more attractive to search engines and help you rank higher. These are on-site optimizations. You can also optimize elements which are off-site to make sure that you are maximizing your potential to be found. Aspects such as your Google My Business page can influence your ranking. It is also part of local Search Engine Optimization.
Local SEO is the process of improving your ranking in local search results by working on aspects of your online presence such as your Google My Business listing that will directly affect how you rank in the search results for relevant search queries. Having your local business listed and verified on Google My Business and claimed for Google Maps as well will ensure that your local SEO is greatly improved. If a potential client searches for "best dog groomer," that person will get lots of varied results about dog grooming but possibly also some local dog groomers in town since Google will use the GPS coordinates of their phone or computer. If that same person searches for "dog groomer Albuquerque," then that provides Google with a geographical marker to use and offer specific results for that location. Perhaps that person is not in Albuquerque at the time but will be soon and wants to have their dog groomed while there. If they got search results for their current location, that wouldn't be helpful. Using the geographical tag (and your company ranking for that marker) will result in much more specific results that will be useful and relevant. When localized SEO is done, your company's online visibility in the specific geographic area that you serve will be substantially increased and you will be able to reach those potential clients who are looking for your goods and services in your geographical region.
The primary goal of any Search Engine Optimization campaign or project is to attract more potential customers to your site who will then convert to clients. This can only happen if your website ranks higher than your competition in the search results of various search engines, especially Google. Your online presence and visibility is key to performance in traffic and conversions. SEO for local businesses ensures that your site not only gets found online through a local search but also gets found by the people who most need your products and services. Whether you have a storefront brick-and-mortar building out of which you sell your products or your service-based company has a generalized area in which it operates, local SEO will ensure that you are found and contacted by the individuals who are interested in your company and would like to take advantage of your expertise.
If you are able to rank higher than anyone else nationwide or even internationally, that is quite impressive. However, ranking high in search results that are not localized or specific is only useful and effective if you are a company who is able to provide products and services to clients all around the country or the globe. A potential client in Ohio will not contact you - even though you rank highest nationally - if you cannot provide them the products and services they need because you are located in California. If your focus needs to be on local business and local search, then you need to make sure you rank well locally. That's where local SEO comes in.
SEO for local business encompasses slightly different practices than regular Search Engine Optimization because there are alternate issues to be concerned about when it comes to local search. When people are doing local searches for businesses in their area, they often turn to search engines and maps with keywords that include a specific location. A search such as "auto mechanic Denver" would be a good example of a local search, so it is essential that auto mechanics in Denver make sure they rank locally in order to get the attention of those clients in their area. They should be focusing their efforts on improving their local SEO to ensure that they can reach and assist clients in their local area who need them.
A great local SEO strategy to implement to ensure high rankings in the local search results is to claim, verify, and fully complete your company's Google My Business (GMB) listing. The more information about your local business that you post in the Google My Business listing, the better off you will be because Google will recognize that you are a legitimate local business. Being the top local company online for your industry is essential for success, and it is critical that you work on your Google My Business listing, your Google Maps entry, and other aspects of local SEO to ensure that it is accurate and as helpful as possible for potential clients.
When you get started on your Google My Business local listing, some of the pieces of information you will need to list for your local business are name, address, and phone number. If you are operating your business out of a co-working space, as many entrepreneurs do, you will need to make sure that you differentiate your company from the others listed in the business directories of the co-working space to continue being successful with SEO, local search, and client communication.
Co-working spaces offer small businesses and solo entrepreneurs ("solopreneurs") an affordable place out of which to operate their company. It is a great option for startups, small but established businesses, and those who need a dedicated workplace outside of the home but can't afford a the rent on a dedicated building. Co-working spaces are also useful if you are a business owner who regularly operates out of your home, but you do not want to list your home address on your business listing. You can use the co-working space's address as your base of operations and to get your mail without having to reveal to the world where you live. However, there are a few specific aspects of using a co-working space for your business that need to be considered when it comes to your website's local SEO and ranking in the search results.
There are a great many advantages to using the co-working space to operate out of, but there are also a few considerations to be made when it comes to verification of your business on search engines like Google. Very specifically, your business address for the Google local listings of your company need to be distinct from other businesses which have located themselves at the co-working space. When Google attempts to verify your company's name, address, phone number, and other important facts, it will check for overlap or redundancies with other companies.
At a co-working space, many businesses may have the same address, so you need to make sure that other points of information distinguish yourself from other local businesses. This may seem like it will be a bit of a hassle, but it really does make sense. Google wants to make sure that it is delivering the best possible results to its users, so it needs to verify that addresses and locations for businesses are correct so that users continue to trust the search engine for its accuracy. This, then, falls on the business owner to demonstrate to Google that the co-working space and your company are not one in the same and that you are legitimate.
Many co-working spaces do not assign or even have permanent offices or dedicated suite numbers, so if your business does not have a consistent office number, you should simply list the main office address on your Google My Business listing. All mail and inquiries will come to the primary reception desk, and they will generally parse them out from there into individual business mailboxes. You can differentiate your business, then, from others who also occupy the co-working space (and have that address listed on their GMB listings) through your business phone number.
It is unadvisable to make the main phone number of the space your business contact number because it will not work to distinguish your business from the space. After a local search, it is important that customers looking for your products and services are able to contact you directly rather than having to speak with a receptionist first or trying to figure out if they dialed the correct number in the first place. A unique phone number (most often this will be your company cell phone number) for your business will give customers confidence in your company (and their search results) and also help improve your ranking in Google local searches.
Although operating out of a co-working space can be effective for your business (especially if you are a small business or want to keep operating costs low), it also comes with some risks that you should take into account before you start moving into a local co-working space. These risks are especially relevant in the digital world of local SEO and your Google My Business listing. One of the biggest risks actually has two sides to it - merging listings or removing listings as duplicates.
If you and another company have the address of a co-working space listed as your address, Google may merge the listings or remove one or more of them as duplicates to ensure that a local search contains the correct information. In the past, this had been a serious problem in that Google often merged listings with similar details, especially physical addresses. Over time Google has developed a more sophisticated understanding of locations, so the prevalence and frequency have reduced significantly, but it can still be an issue. A shared phone number also tends to be a risk factor for merging. It is important that your company is able to differentiate itself enough to show that the details are not similar enough to any other business so that they can be merged. Preventing Google from merging or deleting your listing as a duplicate will prevent unnecessary stress on you and will make sure that your local SEO campaign continues to progress positively.
Another potential risk for your local SEO campaign success when it comes to using a co-working space address for your business is the unintentional confusion you may cause if you have more than one Google My Business listing for your company because you have various products or services. The general rule is to simply have one listing for your company regardless of how many goods or services you offer. This holds true as well if you happen to move locations within the same co-working site.
Just because you have moved to a different part of the co-working space, it is not necessary to create a new Google My Business listing. If you have been assigned a permanent office in the co-working space and it has a suite number, then definitely add that to your listing. It will be a significant advantage for you when it comes to making sure that Google sees a differentiation between your company and the co-working space itself or other businesses which also operate there. If there are no office suite numbers, though, simply use one address and only have one listing for your business. Use your phone number and business name to help distinguish you from the others.
When potential local customers search for your business through a local search, it is important that they can find you and all pertinent information about your business. Google lists the top three businesses in a local pack based on the proficiency of their SEO, and with that local pack is a map. If the map shows that your business is inside of a co-working space or the name, address, phone number are all the same for the co-working space and your business, it may be quite confusing. Most clients who are looking for a local business will use the search results and that local 3-pack to make a decision of who to contact and whose site to visit. For the benefit of your customers and the search engines, you need to make sure that your business is distinct from the co-working space so that clients know where to find you for your services. You can do this on two fronts: your business site and social media outlets.
On your site, it is important that your business information is consistent for both client conversion and local SEO for search engines. If you are able to meet with clients at the local co-working space, you spend much of your business day at the space, and you can receive physical mail at the space, then you should definitely list the space's address as your address. To avoid any confusion, be transparent with your customers who have found you through local searches. Explain through detailed copy on your website that your business is located in the co-working space so that nothing is unclear or the overlap on a map (of your company and the co-working space) does not deter any clients from contacting you.
If on your website you have and maintain a blog, this is another excellent way to let clients who have found you through a local search know that you operate out of a local co-working space. You can directly address any confusion that Google Maps listings or seemingly duplicate entries may cause for your customers. When they search for your local business and find that your address is listed as the co-working space, they may question whether or not these details are correct. Your blog is one place where you can explain to clients that you operate in the co-working space, how to find you in that location, and that you can still offer the goods and services they need and used a local search to find you for. The better explanation you provide, the more obvious it will be that you care about their patronage and want to assist them as much as possible.
Another way that local businesses can connect with their customers and let them know where they can find you (both digitally and physically) is through social media outlets. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and many others allow you to communicate directly with your clients to let them know where they can find you. Posting photos of your work space, videos of the area, and information regarding the space and your occupancy in it will help customers realize that you are a viable, credible business offering the goods or services they need. Even something as simple as pinning a tweet to the top of your Twitter account that explains where you are located can be effective in eliminating any confusion for your customers. Local businesses need to do as much as possible to show clients and search engines like Google that they know how to connect with customers and use digital techniques like local SEO to continue being successful and useful for their community.
If you are a business operating out of a co-working space and need assistance with your local SEO campaign, we can help. At 51Blocks, we have a wide range of experience and expertise dealing with all aspects of national and local SEO, PPC, email campaigns, social media, copywriting, and everything else in the digital marketing world. We understand how important it is for your business to rank as high as possible in a local search, and we know that local SEO is the way to ensure that potential clients find you.
A co-working space can present a challenge to your success in local SEO and local search because of the fact that other businesses may operate out of the space and the space itself needs to have its own Google My Business listing. In the past, P.O. boxes had created difficulty for companies who did not have a physical location or brick-and-mortar building that customers could come to, but that issue has largely been eliminated. The current challenge for some companies is the ability (or not) to differentiate themselves from the co-working space on Google. They want to be found by local customers and don't want to cause any confusion because of the local addresses being the same. A co-working space is a great option for many businesses, and it simply takes the digital know-how of an experienced local SEO company like 51Blocks to help businesses like yours continue to be successful operating out of the co-working space.
For more information on how local SEO can help your business or how a co-working space may affect the success of your local SEO campaign, contact us today. We also offer opportunities for companies to become our white label SEO partners, and we would be happy to discuss these options with you.