Local Search Ranking Factors
As a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, you are already aware of the fact that local optimization solutions are of utmost importance for the digital success of a business today, irrespective of its size. With more and more companies trying to claim the limelight in the digital arena, it has become increasingly difficult to get a local business to rank high. Moreover, Google has also put forth certain updates which have rendered the task of local search optimization even more time-consuming.
Google has practically taken away the high spots from the local businesses just by reducing the number of results that show up in the Google ‘Local Pack’. The number of results has gone down from seven to three. It is highly likely that out of those three, at least one will be a paid service soon.
It is to be noted that the factors on which local search ranking depends have also changed quite a bit over the course of the last couple of years. To get your local search keywords to rank well, you must be well aware of these factors and how they impact the current environment in the SEO world.
There are specific strategies that you can employ to boost your business’ (or your clients’ business’) local search rankings. So, take a look at the vital factors that heavily influence the visibility of today’s local searches.
Online Business Directories
Do you remember the Yellow Pages of old days? Business directories are the modern day equivalent of those books. You may come across the word ‘citations’ when you are dealing with online business directories. Citations primarily refer to any site that contains a business’ name and contact details. Do note that not all citation sites can qualify as a business directory. Getting your site on online directories like Yelp, MerchantCircle, Foursquare, Citysearch can fetch you some great backlinks. Google values these directories as quality and trustworthy sites. Therefore, listing your website on them can help you rank better on Google too.
The success of a business depends a lot on the keywords it is using. Thus, when you are planning your keyword strategy, consider the questions that the customers are most likely to ask. We cannot emphasize the importance of thinking like your client enough. Do not use too many jargons or complex terms, and make it a point to include the city or area’s name where the business is based and is being marketed. Use relevant keywords in the title and description of your site’s metadata/tags.
My Business and Bing Places
Do you know that Google and Bing provide you with a free page on their search engines? All you have to do is claim your business on Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. You will not only boost the chances of your business appearing in search results when a user conducts a relevant search, but the company will also be visible on any device.
Plus, you will get exposure on Google Maps. Fill up as much information as you can including logo, photos, employee counts, products, services, working offers, payment processes and so on.
You must write localized content. Keep the focus on creating content with the city or locality in mind. If you can tie in the latest happenings in the region with your business, that will be great. Make sure, if you are mentioning any local incident in the content, it must be relevant to your business. Be regular. You cannot afford to write a blog today and then another one two months later. The regularity of content submission is not an option for local SEO; it is compulsory!
In case your business operates from multiple locations, you can create a separate page for each area with specific details. It will make it easier for the visitors to find the specific details they are looking for, and it can also help you to rank better for each of the locations you are optimizing the business in.
Focus on getting good online reviews. Today’s customers are tech-savvy millennials who put much faith in online reviews. Thus, the better reviews you get, the better you will rank on search engines and the better will be your chances to improve conversions. Satisfied customers are happy to review a business. All you must do is ask. Don’t make the customers search for a URL to leave the review. Provide the with exact web addresses of the business’ review site preferences. Google, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor are some good places to get reviews on.
Even though getting backlinks for your business site is not the easiest of tasks, it is necessary for the success of your local SEO. According to a reputed SEO Caloundra agency, one great way to get valuable backlinks is to talk to local Chamber of Commerce and business bureaus or other complementary local businesses and see if they are interested in linking their site to yours. Be careful of ‘bad’ backlinks though. You can check if a site is link-worthy with the Moz Bad Chrome extension.
To stay updated about the changing scenario in local SEO spectrum, do keep an eye on the local search ranking factors that are studied from time to time. These studies analyze the complex, and of course, various strategies that impact local search rankings of businesses.
It is also important to keep experimenting. While examining strategies is useful, you would not know which one will work for you until you implement them. So, keep an eye out on the trends and follow the tips provided by industry experts. However, ultimately your results will depend to a large extent on how much time and effort you are putting in your search engine optimization. Remember that SEO is no magic. Be patient. It is a time-consuming process that, if done correctly, will fetch long lasting and efficient results.
The author, Hannah Jenkins, is a search engine optimization (SEO) expert who regularly blogs about trends and practices in the SEO arena. She works at a reputed SEO Caloundra firm and likes to go hiking in free time.