Find out where your business ranks in the Google map pack and how to get rid of unfair competitors who spam Google Local search results with one hack.
7 Google search hacks to knock the local SEO competition out
We do this dozen of time every day, we go to Google and type a keyword or a key phrase in the search box hit return and bang we get results. But there is so much more you can do in that little white box you probably don’t know about.
In today’s video, I’m going to show you 7 Google Search hacks to gain a competitive advantage with your local SEO efforts.
I’m luc Durand the founder of ranking academy.co.uk where I help small business owners like you with their marketing efforts for better online visibility step by step and click by click
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Let’s start with our first search hack
Google search Hack n#1
Finding out how many of your web pages are indexed in Google
To do this, type the following search command in the Google search box
Straight after it, enter your webs site address, or any address. Let’s take the example of a plumber I have found here and copy its web address and stick that straight after the side command. Make sure you don’t leave any space there and press enter. Google will show you how many pages it has in its index for this business. In this example, there are 79 pages. And If I quickly scroll through the results and compare them with the website, I can see that each page seems to be index properly.
Why is this useful?
For many reasons
Firstly, it allows you to see to see if all the pages you have created are being indexed in google and can be found by potential customers. Have a look at this dentist’s website called bracken barret for example.
It looks very professionally done and has quite a lot of pages. If you click on their procedures section there seems to be a bunch of pages at the bottom about the services they provide such as bridges, veneers, crown, whitening etc… these pages would be perfect for search engine optimisation.
So let’s have a look at what Google has in its index for this dentist.
Go to the google search, type
and then copy the web address of this website.
There seem to be 77 pages altogether.
And when I start inspecting the results all I can see is pages related to their team, their team members, charity and news and some other irrelevant stuff. I can’t find anything related to the services that they provide as indicated on their website. This tells me there is a major issue with the way this website is built. But more importantly, there is no chance in hell these guys would ever be found by anyone searching for teeth whitening or veneers, or anything like that since Google doesn’t even know this is a service they provide because it can’t find the pages.
I use this “site” command in google regularly because it gives me a good idea about the site I am dealing with in a matter of seconds and compare it with the existing competition, so I know what I am up against.
Try this with your own website and make sure all your pages are indexed properly.
Google search Hack n#2
Find out what your competitors have written about a specific keyword
You’re now able to look at all of your competitors’ web pages indexed in google in a few seconds. But what if you want to find out what they have written about a keyword that you are targeting.
Let’s imagine I am a plumber and I specialise in underfloor heating and our plumber ecoheatplumbing is one of our competitors.
This is very simple. Once again type the command site: and then the web address of your competitor, in this case, https://www.ecoheatplumbing.co.uk then simply add a space and type the keyword you are interested in, in this instance “underfloor heating” then enter.
Google will show you all the pages from this site that talk about “underfloor heating “and there are 26 of them. Although this is interesting, Google will include all pages that contain that keyword as part of its result even if it’s only mentioned once and 26 pages are quite a lot to go through.
What I really want to see is what pages my competitor has created specifically to target that keyword.
If you are familiar with the basics of Search engine optimisation (and you should be) you know that the title of a page is one of the strongest signals to tell search engines what topic a page is about. A truly well-optimised page will always include the keyword you want to rank for in its title.
In this example, this page was optimised for boiler installation and boiler repair for the area of London called Battersea.
This means that if I want to find the pages my competitor has optimised for a specific keyword, I need to find out all the pages they have created which include the keyword in their title.
Let me demonstrate this so it’s clear.
Go to the google search box and once again type site:
the web address of your competitor, then add a space and add the following command
followed by your keyword which in our case will be “underfloor heating” then press return.
This now shows me all the pages from this website that include the keyword I have specified in their title.
I am now down to 3 results
Why is this useful?
Because it narrows down my research to the exact pages my competitor has built to target this keyword. In this case, if I want to beat them, I simply need to replicate at the very least, the same type of content or create something even better.
Google search Hack n#3
Identify content gaps
If you want to grow your online visibility and you think you’ve run out of ideas to create new pages, one thing you can do is find out if you have any gaps in your content. What I mean by that is, have your competitors created content that you haven’t created yourself which you should consider.
Let’s stick with our plumber once more and once again type the same command
then their web address. Since these guys have a lot of content around boiler and we feel we are well covered on that front, we don’t want Google to show us any page that will include the keyword “boiler” in its title. To do this we just need to add the operator sign – followed by
intitle: and the keyword “Boiler”.
Google will display in its results, all the pages that do not include the word boiler in their titles.
Why is this useful?
Because now I can quickly scrawl through the results to identify if there are any pages they have built which you should build yourself since you are targeting the same market. Here is an example
Commercial gas engineering. Do you have a page on your site that talks about commercial gas engineering?
Is it worth creating one?
Google search Hack n#4
Find some Keywords you haven’t thought about
One way of doing some fast keyword research is to use google and rely on the auto suggestion the search box will return. Those suggestions are based on keyword popularity and therefore you should consider adding them to your content strategy when you feel it is relevant.
Although this is great, the autosuggestion functionality only completes the query as you are typing along and can omit a lot of opportunities. One way of overcoming this is to use what is known as a wild card to uncover new option you may not have thought about, let alone your competitors.
Let’s say you are running a vegan restaurant in New York and instead of searching for a keyword like “Best vegan restaurant new York” to see what other keywords Google suggests, try typing: best vegan space, underscore, then space and New York. Look at the suggestions you are now getting. Very different.
Why is this useful.
With this technique you can uncover some awesome alternative and, in this case, if you are running a vegan restaurant you might want to either adapt your menu to include some of the suggested dishes such as burger and pizza, or if you are already serving some of these foods people are searching for then created some dedicated pages on your website.
Google search Hack n#5
Find the level of competition for a keyword
Not all keywords are worth pursuing. The more businesses are competing for a keyword, the more difficult it will be to rank.
But how do you find out?
Let’s use one of the keywords or key phrase we have uncovered in our previous hack “best vegan burger New York”
If you type that keyword as it is in Google search box, you get about 36 700 000 search results which is a crazy number. But those results will include every page that Google has found which include either all those words or just some of them such as New York or burger.
To truly understand the level of competition for this key phrase you want to see all the pages that include every single word of that key phrase in their title.
Here is how
In google search type the following
allintitle: followed by, best vegan burger New York.
And look at that. This will show you all the results that includes all of those words in their page title. An there are only 36 results. If you run a vegan restaurant in New York I would strongly recommend you create a page for “best vegan burger New York” as there is a great chance you would rank for it and attract new customers.
But we all know that keywords and content are not enough to rank. You need links and although external links pointing to your site are the holy grail of all SEO signals, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of internal linking.
Let’s have a look at that in Hack n# 6
Google search Hack n#6
Find internal linking opportunities
Internal Links are important for two reasons, 1 they help your visitors navigate through your site and two they will help your SEO effort as they are part of the SEO signals Google considers to rank your pages. Adding more internal link will, therefore, be useful if you don’t overdo it and if it makes logical sense of course.
Let’s take the example of this handyman’s website called bobs handyman services who clearly has a lot of services to promote
Let’s say they want to add internal links to push their page “furniture assembly”
In google search type the following command
Intext: “furniture assembly” Site: https://www.bobshandymanservices.co.uk and click search
What this does in lemans terms is, it tells Google to show all pages on this website where the keyword “furniture assembly” is mentioned anywhere in the copy.
The quotes around the keywords are telling Google to only bring back pages that will include these exact search terms, how we typed it and in the same order. Which is exactly what we need to create a link.
All they would need to do now is go to each page within the google results and find opportunities where they can turn the text into a link. Ignore the first page as it is the page where we want to link to and we don’t want to link the page to itself. Let’s have a look at the second page, and if you scroll down, sure enough, there is an opportunity right here, “furniture assembly”. And that can be turned into a link.
You’re now able to find internal linking opportunities, let’s now have a look at how to uncover external link opportunities ones in our very last hack
Google search Hack n#7
Find external links opportunities
As you know, External links pointing to your site are the strongest SEO signals any website can get to rank higher in search results. But as a local business, what you really want are local links.
But since they are valuable, they are also very difficult to get. Here are 3 ways to source external link opportunities.
Here is the first one
Finding local Blogs you can reach out to
To do this you can search for something like this:
“city name” + “industry” + “blog”
Let me show you an Example
“London” + “barber” + “blog”
Just by scanning the results on the first page of google I can see some blogging site I could contact directly
Look at this one, top 40 barbers blogs and websites for barbers. Wouldn’t you like to have your site listed on that one and get a link at the same time?
To uncover other blog options try changing the city name to the postcode.
“city name” + “industry” + “blog”
Or you can also use the county.
Another way of finding external links is finding sponsorship opportunities in your city
Sponsoring is probably the easiest way to get links.
Obviously, we’re not talking huge amount of money here, we’re looking at sponsoring someone like your local football team or other smaller organisations. The sponsorship will result in your business being mentioned on their site along with a link, make sure it does before you commit.
To uncover potential organisations in need of sponsors here is the command you will need to search for in Google
inurl:sponsorship “City name”
Alternativaly you can also use
intitle:sponsorship “city name”
This will bring up all the local websites which mention the word “sponsorship” in either their URL or the title of the page and the name of your city.
Please remember this is not an exact science and you will get a lot of results out there, and you will need to do a little bit of digging around.
The last way I am going to show you how to get links is to find is to find relevant directories where you can submit your business details.
Although directories are nowhere near as powerful as they used to be they can move the needle, especially if they are local ones or specific to your industry.
Here is a list of commands I recommend you try for Industry specific directories
Here is a list of commands I recommend you try if you are looking for location specific directories.
“City industry” intitle:directory
“City directory” intitle:industry
Give that a go and try to find out some good directories where you can submit your business to