As a local business owner, SEO and more specifically Local SEO becomes one of the most integral parts of marketing for your business in your local area.
Here we’ll walk through what Local SEO is, the local ranking factors that influence your spot in rankings, and how you can improve your online visibility to reach more of the customers searching for your products or services in your local area.
What is SEO?
SEO “Search Engine Optimization” is the process of optimizing your website to increase the quantity and quality of organic, editorial, unpaid or natural traffic from the SERP (search engine results page).
In other words, SEO involves making certain changes to your content and website structure that makes your site most relevant to display your website as a top result on the SERP. Moreover, SEO is useful for branding your business.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your web in order to increase traffic, leads, brand awareness, and search visibility from local search. In addition, promote a physical business to local prospects and customers at the exact time they’re looking for it online.
Local search marketing aims to engage consumers in a specific geographic area and grow your local business. Common local SEO includes finding local keywords, optimizing a business’s Google My Business profile, building “NAP” (Name, Address, Phone number) citations, etc.
Now let’s have a look at local SEO ranking factors that helps you gain higher search engine rankings.
1. Google My Business (GMB)
Potentially Google My Business is one of the most important local SEO ranking factors. GMB (Google My Business) is free to use tool for all types of businesses and organizations to manage their online existence through Google Maps and Google searches.
Properly setting up your GMB listing and editing your business information is an essential part of getting your business noticed by potential customers and Google both.
GMB is one of the first things that customers will come up with while searching for a business on Google. To have your business listed, verified, and managed is significant.
GMB signals such as contact information, categories, proximity, and updated content are used by search algorithms to analyze where your business is shown to people in your area.
Not only it is remarkably important for businesses to set up, and verify their GMB listings, but also the comprehensive local SEO campaign will help to optimize the listing for boosted visibility.
GMB profiles with more replies, more reviews, and greater time online will help to receive a better ranking.
2. On-Page Signals and Personalisation
When your website faces analysis for local rankings, various on-page factors are taken into consideration. One of them is the use of relevant keywords.
Search engines crawl and analyze each of your web pages and decide what they’re about. They lookout for the use of keywords that are strategically placed to work out and highly relevant where your site belongs. As the right keywords can help get your site ranking in specific areas for your business, relevancy is essential for local SEO.
Also, the presence of necessary details including name, address, and phone number (NAP) on pages assists in on-page ranking factors. This information is used by Google to determine important proximity details for your local rankings.
The mobile-friendliness (or Accelerated Mobile Pages) of your website is another local SEO on-page ranking factor. According to a survey 30% of all Google mobile searches relate to location. Having your website easily accessible and fast on mobile devices is an important factor for both user experience and local SERPs.
Moreover, your website must be easily accessible and responsive on all devices such as computers, laptops, and tablets also. By optimizing your website for local search, you can make it easier for the users to find you as people are always looking for products and services nearby.
3. Backlink Profile
As the search engines determine the value of your website with consideration of your business backlink profile, backlinks are another local SEO ranking factor.
Links that are coming from another website and pointing to your site are called backlinks. It helps to drive traffic and signals to search engines that the site trusts your business.
The quality of links has an immense effect on your rankings. When high-quality sites link back to your site, it indicates search engines that your site is also trustworthy and admirable. This boosts your credibility and helps to improve your rankings.
Building quality, natural, and relevant backlinks is an important part of any successful local SEO strategy to build authority for your local business.
Local SEO ranking factors correlate with backlinks applied to the relevancy of the links, quality of the linking domains, the authority of the linking domain, and the anchor text used to link to your website.
Below are some important factors to consider when establishing strong link signals to your business:
- Authority of inbound link
- Relevancy of inbound links from local domains
- Quantity of links from high-authority sites
- Link diversity
4. Online Reviews
According to surveys, consumers trust online reviews from other consumers before making a purchase. Obviously, search engines also consider online reviews as a signal for local search.
Positive online reviews help to paint your business as trustworthy, legitimate, and reliable. Having positive online reviews not only has a remarkable impact on the decision-making process for potential consumers but will also contribute to local search ranking factors.
Online review signals impact the snack pack more than the organic local search results. Businesses receiving frequent positive reviews and ratings online will benefit from an increase in ranking. Local SEO ranking signals consider the total number, quality, frequency, and diversity of reviews for the business.
When a business is frequently getting genuine positive reviews for its services, Google takes it as a sign that clients are happy with the provided products or services. So that businesses with good reviews will be served to searchers higher in the local search rankings.
An important part of a strong local SEO campaign is encouraging satisfied clients to leave positive reviews and ratings with online review platforms like Google Maps, Yelp, Glassdoor, and Angieslist.
Reviews posted on third-party review platforms drive referral traffic, increase your exposure, and add legality to your business.
5. Online Local Citations
The online local citation is a mention of your business on the web, it can be any combination of your business details including company name, phone number, address, zip or postal code, and website address. Citations in SEO are an essential factor in improving your local search results.
Besides that, citation signals are related to how well your business information can be verified by other online resources. Citations may come from review sites, other businesses, or social media platforms.
The above image consists of some of the popular local listing sites. Citations are significant for getting consistent information about business out onto the web and acquiring local backlinks from legitimate and authoritative websites. Searchers use directories and citations to find products and services and their contact details.
NAP consistency is an essential element for local SEO ranking factors in 2020. Therefore, make sure your business name, address, and phone number information are the same across all citation listings and directory. The use of citations and directories confirm your accurate contact information to both users and search engines.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Citation consistency
- Citation relevance
- Also, citation authority
6. On-Page Behavioral Signals
Google’s algorithm uses several on-page behavioral signals to determine the ranking order for local search results. Behavioral signals are actions that how users interact and engage with local business listings and websites.
Likewise, their behavior sends signals to Google that indicate whether or not your site is helpful for visitors. User behavior is available to site administrators via the Google Search Console.
While all these factors don’t directly affect your website ranking, they do focus on positive user experience.
The key user behavioral signals that are monitored include:
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Mobile Clicks to Calls
- Social Media Check-ins
- Bounce Rate
- Call to Actions(CTAS)
- Page Speed
- Organized Navigation
- Responsive Design
- Directions to business clicks
- Mobile clicks-to-call
- Time on page
All of these factors are analyzed by search engines to help them determine which businesses are most relevant and are getting the most valuable attention from the users.
7. Social Media
Social Signal is also one of the important Local SEO ranking factors. Moreover, social media is a big deal and deserves your greatest attention, especially with your local customers. Google also considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before.
Digital marketing experts have concluded that social media impacts Local SEO rankings, these include engagement with the likes on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Moreover, you can use “Rebrandly URL Shortener” for your blog promotion links that make them more manageable.
Below is the checklist of what needs to be done,
- Work on growing your followers on important social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Find the type of content your followers like and are more enjoyable to engage with. Likes, comments, and shares are big social signals, so invest time in posting on social media to involve your customers.
- Encourage your clients to engage with your social platforms.
- Ask customers to post reviews about their experiences with your services or products.
Local SEO can be the most powerful and most effective route to generate visibility for your business. Attending all these factors at once can help you drive site traffic, create exposure, and achieve your revenue goals.