4 Steps to getting on the first page of local organic search results.

Mar 15 2020 | Julie Warshaw, PayPal Editorial Staff

If you’re ever searched Google for a restaurant or dry cleaner “near me,” you’re probably familiar with the local three-pack – the three listings that appear under a map on the first page of results. So, how does a business use organic SEO to get one of those coveted spots?
When you shift your focus from global to local, you reduce the number of sites you’re competing with. And with less competition, achieving number-one status in search results becomes a lot more feasible. Optimizing for local search is a no-brainer if you have a brick and mortar location, but a business without a physical storefront can benefit from local optimization, too. Do you sell organic juices at the local farmer’s market? Do you offer lawn or maintenance services in your town? Any business conducted centrally can benefit from a local SEO strategy.
Now that you know why you need to optimize for local search, let’s move onto how.

  1. Get listed.

Make sure to claim your business’s name, address, and phone number – or “NAP” – listing in top local business directories, search engines, and social media platforms. Refer to our handy checklist below for the NAP listings that carry the most weight for SEO.
When you’re creating your directory listings, make sure to fill out every relevant section so that your listing is complete; things like your hours of operation, accepted payment types, and so on. Be prepared to provide an accurate description of your business with a few of your target keywords sprinkled in. You should also upload your company’s logo and if the directory allows, a few high-quality photos of your business – consider showcasing your storefront or some of the products you sell.
And remember to be consistent across all listings.  If your business has a suite number, do you say, “Suite 4” or “Ste. 4”? Whichever you decide, make sure it’s entered the same way in every listing. Variations can confuse search engines and result in a lower rank on organic search.
Tip: To get listed in GMB and Bing Places, you’ll need to verify the physical address of your local business (no PO Boxes). Google asks you to provide your address at sign-up, then mails you a postcard with your PIN number. Once you submit your PIN number, your business will be verified and you’ll be able to create your listing. Bing is a little bit more lenient and allows you to request your PIN via phone or email.
Now that your business is listed in all the right places, let’s tackle the next step: optimizing your website for search. If you already have an SEO strategy in place, great! Let’s tweak it to get you ranking locally. And if you haven’t done any SEO for your site, don’t worry – local SEO is a great place to start.

  1. Optimize for mobile.

 Are you tired of having marketing professionals reiterate the importance of making your website mobile-responsive? It may seem like we’re nagging, but it’s really that important – especially for local SEO. Think about the times you’ve used search to find a business “near me.” Were you on a desktop or mobile device? If you want to get your website in the local 3-pack, you’d better make sure it’s optimized for mobile search.
  1. Include location keywords in your content.

Your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers may already target a keyword, but what about a location? Updating your tags to include the target location makes it clear to both search engines and potential customers that your business services a specific area. Think about how a page's title and description will appear in the search results. In order for organic SEO to be effective, your tags need to read naturally, so avoid keyword stuffing.
The rest of your website content should also align with your local optimization strategy. This might be something as simple as adding your location to the existing content and alt text on a page, or it may be a little more intensive, like creating a whole landing page. An easy way to add localized content is by publishing blog posts. Google particularly loves what’s known as ‘evergreen’ content – content that is always relevant and helpful. Come up with an editorial calendar of topics to support your organic SEO efforts and include long-tail keywords that contain your target location.
By following the steps we’ve outlined this far, you’ve laid a solid foundation for local optimization. Now, comes the fun part: Reviews!

  1. Encourage and respond to reviews.

Reviews and testimonials are vital for local SEO. While it’s helpful for online shoppers to see reviews on your website, those reviews may not show up on organic search. But do you know what will? The social media pages and directory listings you created in the first step!
Engaging with customers on review platforms will give your listings traction and help your local business get better visibility in search. Most businesses get the majority of their reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and Google, so those sites are a great place to start. And don’t be afraid to encourage customers to leave reviews. Consider offering a discount or some other incentive to get the ball rolling. You may even find that just asking nicely does the trick.
Of course, the occasional bad review is inevitable. And while you can’t necessarily control what a local customer posts about your business online, you can control what happens next. The top review sites measure a business’s responsiveness, so be responsive! Good, bad, neutral – regardless of the review, a speedy response will benefit your SEO in the long-run. Depending on the situation, you may even find that a quick response results in an updated review.

Crossing the finish line.

When it comes to organic SEO, there is no finish line. (Sorry.) But! It's a lot easier to defend a top position in search than it is to get there. By following the steps above, you'll put your business on the right track to reaching number one. 
About PayPal for small businesses.
For nearly 20 years, PayPal has been a proud partner and platform for over 24 million merchants as they launch, scale, and grow. From access to fast funding to getting paid online, learn how our payment solutions can also help your business.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

Was this content helpful?

Frequently asked questions.

Here's how to view our currency calculator and exchange rate:

  1. Go to your Money page.
  2. Click Currency Calculator.
  3. Select the currencies you want to convert from and to. The exchange rate appears automatically.

Here’s how we set our exchange rate:

  • We receive a wholesale rate quote from our bank twice a day and add a percentage to determine the retail foreign exchange rate to apply to transactions that involve a currency conversion.
  • Our currency exchange rates are competitive with conversion rates used by banks and by currency exchanges.
  • When you transfer from your PayPal account to your local bank account, we automatically convert the money into the local currency when the transfer is initiated.
The PayPal Developer Portal offers support for developers who have questions about technical topics, such as APIs or integration. Below is a list of common topics searched for by developers. You can also browse and search on the Developer Portal for additional topics.

Encrypted Website Payments
To make online payments more secure, you can make Encrypted Website Payment buttons that rely on standard public key encryption for protection.

Identity API
PayPal offers a secure commerce Identity API that lets your customers sign in to your web site using their PayPal credentials.

Instant Payment Notification
Instant Payment Notification is a message service that automatically notifies merchants of events related to PayPal transactions.

Merchants, developers, and business solution providers use Invoicing APIs to automate the creation, delivery, tracking, and reconciliation of invoices with an integrated payments solution.

Mobile SDK
Accept PayPal, credit cards and other payments methods through mobile apps.

Name-Value Pair (NVP) API
Information and support on name value pairs and NVP SDKs.

PayPal Checkout
PayPal Checkout gives your buyers a simplified and secure checkout experience that keeps them local to your website or mobile app throughout the payment process.

Payflow Gateway
Payflow Pro is a high performance TCP/IP-based client-server architecture solution. It includes a secure payment gateway that gives merchants total control over the payment process.

PayPal Sandbox Support
Information and support for users testing in the PayPal Sandbox environment.

Shopping Carts
The shopping cart system allows buyers to select multiple items on your website and pay for them with a single payment.

Permissions Service API
PayPal's permissions service enables you to request and obtain authorization to make API calls and take action on behalf of your customers.

The PayPal SOAP API is based on open standards known collectively as web services, which include the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Definition Language (WSDL), and the XML Schema Definition language (XSD).

Testing Your Apps in Sandbox
A guide for developers testing their apps in the PayPal Sandbox environment.

Virtual Terminal
Information about PayPal's Virtual Terminal - a web-based application that processes credit and debit cards, replacing swipe machines.

Website Payments Pro
PayPal's Website Payments Pro is an API-based solution that enables merchants and developers to accept credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal payments directly on their website.
PayPal Payments Standard
You can accept credit cards online easily and offers a streamlined checkout experience to customers using mobile devices.
If PayPal determines that an account is reportable under FATCA (based on its analysis of account holder information), PayPal must either report information to the local tax authority or to the IRS if the applicable account balance has reached a certain threshold. The reportable information generally consists of customer information (e.g. name, address, and tax identification number (“TIN”) and account balance information. FATCA requires reporting on an annual basis in most jurisdictions.
We automatically transfer money from your PayPal Zettle account to your PayPal Wallet daily at 12.00am (midnight) local time.

These transfers are free of charge and you can view them within the Transfers page of your PayPal Zettle account.

Please don’t attempt to transfer money between your PayPal Zettle account and PayPal Wallet. We also advise you not to attempt to refund a successful transfer from PayPal Zettle to your PayPal Wallet. These features aren’t supported by PayPal Zettle.

When the money is transferred to your PayPal Wallet, you can keep it in your PayPal account or withdraw it to your bank account.

PayPal Zettle is obliged to perform additional security verification for the first 3 business days after creating your account. As a result, no transfers are made to your PayPal Wallet during this time, even if you have accepted payments.

QR payments and manually entered card payments are transferred directly into your PayPal Wallet and aren’t subject to any delays due to additional security verifications.

We’ll use cookies to improve and customize your experience if you continue to browse. Is it OK if we also use cookies to show you personalized ads? Learn more and manage your cookies