The 3 Battlegrounds of Local SEO for Coworking Spaces
You’ve probably heard a lot about local SEO and the value it can bring to your business profitwise. You’ve also probably started implementing it to reap its rewards, and granted you’ve implemented it the correct way, you may already be seeing an increase in your bottom line.
While local SEO is similar to traditional SEO (search engine optimization) in many ways, there are some unique differences — and that’s just for businesses with their own addresses, like coworking spaces. You’ve got an additional hurdle or two to jump over in order to make your local SEO efforts a success.
So, in this article, we’re going to talk about what it really takes to make your local SEO work, via the three battlegrounds you need to win in your local search results. Moreover, we’re going to discuss these battlegrounds in the context of a coworker space.
First thing’s first — you need to understand the importance of local SEO, because if you’re not implementing it, then you’re losing out on a good amount of business.
To put things in perspective, nearly half of all Google search queries are local searches. Even your regular, everyday Google searches typically yield business pages on the first search results page.
What’s more, is that the majority of searches involve the phrase “near me today/tonight.” Because of this, Google started putting out more results for geographically-related searches based on the following:
This means, if your business is close to where a user is conducting their search and offers the products or services they’re searching for, then you’re more likely to be found by potential customers.
That is if your local business listings are optimized correctly.
Above all, local SEO allows you to get your important business information out there, such as your address and phone number. It also allows you to highlight and promote the products or services offered on your actual website — and it puts all of this information in a neatly packed listing that gets right to the point.
From there, potential customers can either click on a link to your website to learn more, or they can simply place a phone call or plug your physical address into their GPS or Google Maps with the touch of a button.
There has been much change in the coworking space and Google guidelines in the past years. Google updated their guidelines until very recently to address coworking spaces.
As stated by Google,
“businesses can’t list an office at a co-working space unless that office maintains clear signage, receives customers at the location during business hours, and is staffed during business hours by your business staff.”
However, for those operating a coworking business, they don’t need to worry about these regulations for their own business marketing. This affects the clients and tenants, but not your own business’s local SEO. So you can proceed forward!
In getting started with Local SEO, just make sure you have the following, which you will most likely have:
- Your own dedicated space. For your Google My Business (GMB) listing to qualify, you must have a physical location that handles in-person contact with customers or clients daily — as in walk-on traffic.
- You have your own suite number. A suite number is another means of physical evidence that separates your business from the other businesses running out of the same building
Where the Local SEO can get complicated for coworking spaces is when their tenants and clients want to put the same location as the location of their own business. This can cause confusion for Google Maps if they see multiple listings and may not be sure which is the actual business operating out of the location.
However, because your business is the actual coworking space, your business will take priority in being listed over tenants and businesses who may be trying to list their business. Some businesses have tried to assist their tenants by creating suite numbers to help qualify them, however, this doesn’t qualify for Google guidelines because these suite numbers need to be real, actual suite numbers which are typically assigned by a city. At the end of the day, this hasn’t prevented people from trying this and flying under the radar.
All in all, the complexity of Local SEO with coworking spaces really comes down to the tenants, not the coworking space, so you can breathe a sigh of relief! Now let’s get into the exciting stuff!
Once a business operating out of a coworker space has their ducks in a row, it’s time to focus on the three battlegrounds of local SEO that you must win to gain traction within the local search result listings.
Luckily, the same rules apply to all businesses fighting for the best local search results possible, so coworking spaces catch a break here:
Google Map Pack (GMP) is arguably the most important battleground of local SEO, which is where we’re going to start. Google Map Pack is referred to by several names which you’ve probably heard of, including:
- Map Pack
- Local Pack
- 3 Pack
There are plenty of articles, forums, and data out there that make use of the above terminologies. So, should you come across one or more of them in your research, you’ll know that they’re all referring to the same thing.
Now, the Google Map Pack is typically the first thing that appears on organic search results. Because of its visual nature, Google Map Pack easily draws users’ attention. These results become heightened when people are using their smartphones or other mobile devices, where they’re much more likely to interact with the map feature versus than regular results in text.
Ranking on the Google Map Pack takes the standard ranking factors of your organic search results and shifts them towards other types of factors. For example, we mentioned proximity earlier as one of the important aspects of local SEO. Since local SEO depends on physical location, proximity becomes a dominating factor for Google Map Packs.
Additionally, Google Map Packs is also heavily influenced by Google My Business reviews. Reviews aren’t typically a primary ranking factor for organic search results, however, reviews via Google My Business equate to active customer engagement for said business (or in this case, coworking space) which communicates to Google know Map Packs that the listing is very much relevant in the present.
So, if you want your coworking space to leverage any kind of competition among the many other businesses operating out of the same space and around it, you’re going to need to focus on Google Map Packs.
Next, you have your organic search results to contend with. Organic search results are the traditional variable of all search engine optimization strategies, simply because organic search results are what Google bases it’s 200 plus ranking factors on.
In other words, it’s all about what the users are searching for and how relevant your products and services are to those searches.
So, how do you tip the scales in your favor, locally speaking?
Most people in the digital marketing and business world are familiar with traditional SEO best practices, but here’s a refresher anyway — the ranking factors you need to pay most attention to here include:
- Backlinks and referring domains
- Content development and marketing
- Technical SEO
Aside from ensuring all of the above are implemented correctly with a geographical location in mind, there’s one other thing that remains tried and true for any type of SEO. That thing is the fact that content is king.
If you want to make sure that your designated coworking space is as visible as possible, then your content should reflect you as an industry expert. In the organic search results game, Google loves an authoritative, informative, and trustworthy source, and will reward you for being all of those things.
In that same sense, your backlinks and referring domains are a large part of how Google will rank you. That means you need to work towards getting high-quality backlinks (from other well-regarded sources) and only refer to quality domains, aka external links. It’s important to remember that you can’t neglect external links—Google likes it when you provide your audience with external sources to back up your authoritative claims.
Lastly, we have reputation management sites — which are the area of local SEO that’s most often overlooked.
Reputation management sites (also referred to as review sites) are often all over local search results. Some of the most common examples include the companies specifically designed for customer reviews, such as Yelp!, Trip Advisor, UpCity, and so on. The majority of these review sites compete for local SEO all over the country, which is why they typically show up on the first page of Google regardless of the business being searched — unless of course, that business doesn’t get much attention in the way of customer reviews.
Rather than think of these sites as your competitors in local SEO, you need to see them as a strategic partner. Think of it this way—there are 10 results that pop up on the first page of a Google search. Realistically, you can only garner one or two or these search result positions. Now, these reputation management sites will likely take up a couple of these positions, leaving little room for you or anyone else.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Since these sites often take up high positions on Google, if you can’t beat 'em’, join em’. In other words, add your coworking space business listing to these sites and do what you can do to get a top position on their internal lists.
Some sites skew their algorithms towards the sheer quantity of reviews they receive for any one business listing. Others are skewed towards sponsorship. It’s up to you to figure out what pushes the needle with these reputation management sites and work with the company so that you gain higher exposure for your coworking space business.
If you can win one of the above battlegrounds for local SEO, that’s a great start. However, you want to ensure that your business is winning all three battlegrounds. By doing so, you’re securing your place within the top ranks of local SEO.
The best way to understand this is by putting yourself in a potential customer’s shoes and imagining the “buyer’s journey” of said customer on Google.
If they’re conducting a local search and see your coworking space on Google Map Pack, seasoned with ample reviews (which are prominently displayed on top), they’ll likely scroll down a bit to see your website. From there they may decide to further their inquiry by checking out a reputation management site, where they’ll encounter more honest reviews.
And just like that, the potential consumer has been provided with a whole bunch of touchpoints which verify your designated coworking space. This is something that will help build trust with your potential customers before they even try out your business.
Most users don’t just click and buy the first thing that pops up on their screen. They’ll take a few minutes to do some research, “window shop,” and assess your space, verifying that it’ll meet all of their needs.
By engaging in local SEO and ensuring you’ve got the three battlegrounds covered — correctly — you’re creating a stronger position for your coworking space business in Google’s search engine results. This is the only way to stake your claim on the SERPs as a coworking space and gain customer traffic to increase your bottom line.
The article was written by Jason Khoo. Jason started freelancing in SEO back in college, sold his first agency, and now is founder of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends, catching up on reading, and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.