Local search has been a great help for smaller businesses and bigger businesses with multiple locations. When optimized correctly, a company can easily stand out in the local search results. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. Google, in line with their commitment to providing exceptional user experiences, continuously tweaks its local ranking algorithms. These continuous updates can make it difficult for businesses to maintain the results of their current online marketing strategy.
We understand that such scenarios can be frustrating. As a leading online marketing agency, we constantly monitor changes in the local search landscape and adjust the components of our Local Buzz techniques to ensure our service remains effective and efficient.
Top Local Ranking Factors
Before adjusting your current local SEO strategy, take a look at some of the most important ranking factors Google uses for its local search. A good understanding of these ranking factors can help you determine the most effective measures to include in your current strategy.
Here are the top Local Search Ranking factors from Moz:
- Google My Business Signals (14.7%)
- External Location Signals (13.6%)
- On-page Signals (20.3%)
- Link Signals (20.0%)
Each of these ranking factors plays a significant role in determining your local search ranking. With that in mind, here is a more in-depth look at each ranking factor:
- Google My Business Signals
It’s only natural that establishing a presence on Google My Business is an important ranking factor for Google’s local search. Google My Business complements your existing website by giving your business a public identity and presence on Google maps.
Google primarily looks at information pertaining to relevance, distance, and prominence of a business to help determine its ranking. By completing the following tasks on Google My Business, you can provide Google with the necessary information to help boost your rankings:
- Enter complete data (physical address, phone number, category, )
- Verify your location(s)
- Update business hours
- Manage/Respond to reviews
- Add photos
Simply put, you must update your Google My Business profile and keep it updated—or have someone optimize your profile for you. If you don’t have an existing profile, it is high time to make one.
- External Local Signals
Citations are still a crucial factor, but make sure that your citations are consistent and of high-quality. According to the report from Moz, “citations went from 15.5% to 13.6% as a general ranking factor, but specifically, citation quality and consistency remain top-five factors for both pack results and in competitive markets.”
Google’s algorithms treat high-quality citations as indicators of the credibility of your business. Local Buzz makes sure your business is listed on Yelp, Foursquare, YellowPages, Manta, HotFrog, and numerous other listings. These established sites are great for building up the number and quality of your citations.
- On-page Signals
On-page signals are important because they provide Google’s spiders vital information about your business. This is where your SEO strategy should shine the most.
Optimize the structure of your website with location landing pages and URLs if your business has multiple locations, or for a certain business location covering multiple cities.
Optimize the titles, meta descriptions and header tags of your pages. You also want to make sure the keywords in your content are right on the spot and to include relevant keywords as well.
Make sure that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is listed correctly on your site, as well as your business hours. This information has to be consistent with the NAP indicated on your Google My Business listing and other business directories.
Keep in mind that you should also optimize your page for people as well. Be sure to write engaging content. Users are much more likely to stay and keep your business top of mind if your content is useful and easy to navigate. Furthermore, this will help keep bounce rates to a minimum.
- Link Signals
Links continue to play a vital role in determining to rank. As with citations, you should focus on building high-quality inbound links. Be on the lookout for respected and authoritative sites. Link buying is a strict no-no. Optimizing anchor texts for both the keyword and your city also has a significant positive impact.
What Does Google Have to Say About This?
In a recent Google Q&A, Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, confirmed that On-Page Content and Links are two of the most influential ranking factors Google uses. Both factors have a weight of 20 percent in the Moz study.
Overall, we are proud that our efforts to improve our Local Buzz services are well in line with the recommendations of Google. Hopefully, the topics covered above help you maximize the returns of your online marketing strategy.
What Are Your Local Marketing Challenges?
What are some of the local marketing challenges that have left you feeling frustrated? How have you been able to tackle these challenges? Were the solutions you came up with effective? I would love to hear from you.
Contact us for more information and a consultation!