As a business owner, you’re always looking for opportunities to increase your business’s visibility. With a significant amount of marketing and advertising now being done online, you want to ensure your business has a strong online presence to generate leads and sales. Tracking local rankings is one way of doing this.
With Google’s algorithms emphasizing location and engagement to determine a site’s relevance, local rankings have become crucial for most businesses. Statistics show that nearly a third of consumers that search for a local business online tend to visit such a business’s premises within 24 hours. This is good news if your website is well-optimized for local search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. It is bad news if your business’s website isn’t well positioned to take advantage of such a trend.
The relevance of local rankings for businesses will continue to grow. For instance, the “near me” keyword has continued to gain popularity in many online search parameters. People want easy access to products and services in their geographical location hence the growing use of the “near me” keyword.
As with general SEO practices, improving your local SEO rankings will do wonders for your business’s visibility. Knowing the factors that will help you better profit from this trend is crucial. It’ll ensure that you’re directing your efforts accordingly.
Pay Attention to the following factors for better local SEO rankings.
1) On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is about ensuring that whatever you post on your business website is well optimized for better rankings. This process begins with a website’s layout. Ensure that visitors can easily navigate between different pages. The content you post on your website is crucial. Not only will it keep visitors longer on your website but it’ll also improve your local rankings. Increased traffic to your website and more time spent browsing it signals to Google that your site is an authority in a particular niche. It’ll have a significant positive effect on your site’s local rankings.
Whether it’s an article, a blog post, a video, or any other content, ensure that it is of the highest quality before posting it on your website. Ensure to insert the relevant keywords in a way that makes them seem natural. Whenever possible, endeavor to have your business address and phone number on every page of your website. When creating content, focus on local news, clients, or anything of relevance in your geographical location or neighborhood. This will improve your local SEO rankings.
2) Google My Business (GMB)
GMB is a crucial tool in improving your local SEO rankings. A GMB listing is a good way of ensuring that customers can find you quickly and better interact with your business. When creating a GMB listing, ensure to fill in all the required details correctly. Such details include your business name, physical address, and phone number. These are the minimum requirements. Ensure to list the correct working hours during which your business is open to the public. Such details not only help to improve customer experience but also your local rankings. The proximity of a business to those that search for it online is one of the factors used by Google for local SEO rankings.
Also, add some professionally-taken photos. These will help your business to appear better on Google Maps. Attractive photos, along with some testimonials and all the other details, will greatly improve your local SEO rankings.
Customer reviews are important for local SEO rankings. When someone searches your business’s name on Google, the local pack and Google Map are among the first things to appear alongside the other search engine results. The local pack is that smaller section that appears at the top of search engine results. It contains information like your contact info, business hours, and reviews. The local pack gives a quick overview of your business, so it’s crucial to optimize it as much as possible.
Just like with a brick-and-mortar business, people still trust the word of others as far as purchasing goods or services from a particular business. That’s why reviews are crucial. It’s good to encourage all customers to leave a review on your site once they’ve purchased a product. Many business owners are reluctant to do this, seeing it as an unnecessary bother for the customer. However, many people are only happy to leave reviews if they’ve had a positive experience. In addition to giving a positive impression to potential customers, reviews are also used by Google to determine your local SEO rankings. Avoid using fake reviews from non-existent customers to bolster your rankings.
3) Social Media
Over the past few years, social media has become a powerful tool for many businesses. Not only is social media useful for advertising and marketing but also for improving a business’s local SEO rankings. Some social media platforms like Facebook have become search engines in their own right. Every day, there are millions of search requests by customers on such platforms. This has led to Google algorithms monitoring such platforms very closely. A business that generates a lot of engagement on its social media page indicates to Google that many people are following it. Optimizing a business’s social media page alone is not enough to improve local SEO rankings. However, when used in conjunction with the other factors as part of a holistic approach, social media improves local rankings.
4) Backlink Profile
Utilizing SEO practices for better rankings means focusing on both on-page and off-page factors. On-page factors are the things on your website, including the content you post there. Your backlink profile constitutes part of off-page SEO. A backlink is a URL from another website to yours. For example, if you write a guest post or post content on another website, you can leave a web address embedded within the content to lead back to your website. Google sees this as an indicator of authority in your niche. Of course, simply stuffing a lot of backlinks will not work. When using backlinks, it’s always advisable to focus on quality rather than quantity. For improved local SEO rankings, you can add backlinks that feature relevant local stories or newspaper articles.
5) Online Citations
Your business name, address, and phone number are your calling card. Whenever they are mentioned, they are a direct reflection of your business. As such, you want to ensure that such information is always accurate. It is a crucial tool for local SEO rankings. Yelp is a review site for advertising local businesses. If you choose to create a listing there, ensure that the information is accurate. For example, if your business’s street address is 457 Grove Road, a listing on Yelp of 457 Gove Road could be detrimental. While it is a simple omission of a letter, it can have negative consequences for your local rankings. Customers tend to lose trust in businesses whose information is inconsistent when acquired from different sources. Most such listings are created by bots or third-party individuals who may not be familiar with the necessary details. Always ensure to verify your business’s information when creating a listing on sites like Yelp. This will ensure that your local SEO rankings are not negatively affected.
By focusing on these main factors, you’ll ensure that local customers can quickly find your business and have a generally positive experience every time they visit your site.