If you are targeting local web traffic, it is mandatory to know the top local search ranking factors. Once you have a complete idea about the local SEO factors, you can form local SEO strategy accordingly.
Getting a good Google local ranking is necessary to attract targeted local traffic.
- What Is Local SEO?
- Why Local SEO Is Important?
- What Is A Local Listing?
- Google Local Ranking Factors
- Moz Local Search Ranking Factors
- Local SEO Marketing and Strategy
- How To Rank Higher On Google Maps?
What Is Local SEO and Why It Is Important?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to get a better rank on the search engines when local web traffic searches for local business and services.
Local SEO is getting priority in today’s scenario for online businesses and brands.
For example, you have a restaurant website, and you are looking for local customers. You want to rank on the first page of Google when local people search for best restaurants. You have to take help of local SEO to achieve that and target the potential local customers.
Search engines fetch your current location automatically especially when you are using a smartphone. Accordingly, they list the search result links for a better outcome.
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According to Econsultancy, 95% of mobile users search for local information. Therefore, its importance is self-explanatory for the growth any business website.
Even if your website is a blog, you need to use local SEO strategy to get better local rank. Since almost all mobile users are looking for local information, targeting only global traffic is not the smartest idea.
In the long run, all the local websites are going to get all the priority. Hence, it is time to get smart and focus on local SEO.
What Is A Local Listing?
A local listing is the creation of a business profile that contains all the details about a company or website.
A typical local listing should contain name, address, phone number, social media pages, category, keywords, description of the business, services and products and other necessary details.
Local listing is done of local web directories like Yelp, Google+ Local and Yahoo! Local.
It is very much like creating profiles on social media sites. Local listing helps local customers to discover you and your services easily.
As a matter of fact, the more the complete local listing profiles you have, the better are your chances of getting a better rank on search engines for local customers.
In addition, verify your location, email address and phone number, add photos, and get positive reviews.
Hubspot lists the top 50 online local business directories for local listing.
Google Local Ranking Factors
Google’s local search algorithm ranks websites for local customers based on three important factors.
If your business category or service matches with what the local users are searching for, then your business has relevance.
Therefore, it is important to mention business category, type, services and products to help search engines understand your business.
How distant your business location is from the users who are searching on search engines plays an important role.
Therefore, you need to mention your address in details for search engines to locate you clearly.
As stated earlier, all search engines get the location of the users when they are using smartphones. The business which is nearer to the user will get priority.
How well-known or popular your business is, determines its prominence.
Leaving positive reviews on sites, more local listing, social media profiles, and followers, external articles on your business, backlinks and other factors increase your prominence.
Moz Local Search Ranking Factors
According to Moz, overall ranking factors can be divided into eight sections according to their priority –
- Business Signals – It refers to the relevance of your business to the searched query. Therefore, your business category, keywords, and proximity determine your business signals.
- External Local Signals – It depends on NAP (Name, Address, Phone) consistency and citation volume. Your business NAP has to be same on all the local listings. Citation volume refers to the number of local listing and external articles referring you.
- On-Page Signals – Your home page should have your NAP. You must do on-page SEO to optimize the keywords. Your domain authority and your design also play a major role.
- Link Signals – How many backlinks you have, how good are the links and internal linking are very important.
- Review Signals – How many reviews you have received, how many of them you are receiving within a given time period and how diverse are the reviews come under review signals. You have to aim to get reviews on multiple business listing sites.
- Social Signals – It refers to how many followers you have on popular social media sites and whether they are active. Therefore, you must try to keep them engaged all the time on social media.
- Mobile Signals – It includes how many clicks to call or check-ins you have received from mobile users. A mobile app is necessary. You need to have special offers for mobile users.
Local SEO Marketing and Strategy
Local SEO marketing is a combination of traditional SEO and social media signals as well as something exclusive. Accordingly, you have to form your SEO strategy to excel in local ranking.
Traditional SEO includes getting quality backlinks and optimizing keywords for increasing PageRank and domain authority.
On the social media front, you have to have complete profiles on all the popular sites. You can engage your followers and get positive reviews and comments.
SEO Checklist for Local Search
- Website’s footer must have main branch address, phone number, email address. There must be icons to access social media pages.
- The phone number on the homepage must be clickable on mobile devices.
- Contact Us page should have the address, email address and phone number of all your branches. Google map must be there pinpointing your main office location.
- The consistency of NAP is a must. Everywhere the same details should appear including social media sites or any external site.
- It is better to create separate and dedicated pages for all your services. Similarly, if you are operating in multiple cities, it is good to have separate pages for different branches for better ranking. But make sure, there is no duplicate content.
- All these different pages must have testimonial section from customers. In this testimonial text, you should insert your keywords creatively. Also, mention the address of the customers and make sure there is no duplicate testimonial.
- On the separate pages of services and locations, you should mention contact information of different staff who can be contacted.
- Have a blog section and write posts targeting local customers mentioning services, cities, and locations.
- When you are listing your business on online local business directories, make sure the details are uniform everywhere. Use the same keywords which you are using for SEO optimization.
- Get some paid reviews on quality sites like Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, etc. The content of each review must be unique and should contain the keywords. Mention different locations in the review.
Fiverr is an ideal marketplace to find paid reviewers.
- Respond to reviews including the negative You should always encourage customers to leave reviews on popular sites. Design some little offers to encourage them to leave a review.
- You should organize fun contests on social media pages and ask to leave reviews and ratings to win prizes.
How to Rank Higher On Google Maps?
The distance of your business from the user is a major factor in Google’s local search algorithm.
There could be a lot of competitors around your location and you have to rise above them.
To improve search engine local results, you have to rank higher on Google Maps.
A lot of users search through Google Maps and prefer to visit those places that come on the first page. Here is how to get a higher rank.
Google Places – Get listed on Google My Business. Provide contact information correctly and mention the business hours. Remove duplicate information. Verify your business via call or letter that Google sends you.
- Reviews – To increase your prominence, get as many reviews as you can on Google Maps. Make sure you provide good services and ask your customers to leave reviews. You can provide discounts for those who are willing to leave reviews immediately.
- Keywords – When you are listing your business on Google Maps, you can mention your category and keywords. You can add as many as five keywords and use them wisely. Listing description has character limit and you should utilize them wisely.
For example, instead of writing “awesome website development services in Kolkata at a rate you can afford”, you should write “professional web development services in Kolkata at best rates.”
Apart from that, you should embed Google Map on your Contact page. You should add photos wherever possible to prove your authenticity.
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Wrapping It Up
With your traditional SEO work, you need to start focusing on Local SEO. Just like traditional SEO, you can get the benefits of Local SEO in the long run. As almost all the local searches come from mobile users, get a mobile friendly website design.
Create a mobile app to keep your customers intact. Offer discounts and referral bonus for app users to attract more customers easily.
Have an option to leave reviews directly from your app or website on the review sites.
Start promoting your brand with local ad campaigns. Increase user interaction on social media sites. Have patience and focus on long-term local SEO strategy.