Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial aspect of digital marketing for small businesses. With the rise of smartphones and voice search, it is more important than ever for small businesses to optimize their online presence for local search.
It is a common problem among businesses. If you’re not easy to find with a quick Google search, you risk missing out on a ton of visitors. 82% of smartphone users say they use search engines to find local businesses.
In order to get discovered locally, you must rank on page 1 because many people never go past the first page. It is not enough to just put out interesting content and hope for the best. There are a number of factors you should consider to improve your ranking.
But what if we tell you that it’s actually pretty easy to rank on page one of Google. Of course, it’s not something that happens overnight but it doesn’t have to take you years. We have compiled a list of top ranking factors for your local business all in this article.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO involves optimizing your website and other online assets to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for local-based searches. This means that when someone searches for a business or product in a specific location, your business will be more likely to appear in the search results.
Local SEO is important for small businesses because it helps to ensure that when someone searches for a business or product in a specific area, your business appears higher in the search results. This can greatly increase the chances of someone visiting your physical location or making a purchase.
Local SEO strategies
Examples of local SEO techniques include claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing, using location-based keywords in your website content, encouraging customer reviews, optimizing your website for mobile, building local backlinks, and utilizing NAP citations. By implementing these and other local SEO strategies, businesses can improve their online visibility, reach more potential customers, and ultimately drive more sales.
Google My Business Profile > Your Website
The content on the page and the links pointing to your site play a big role in Map Pack rankings. But for your business to rank #1 in the map frame, your GMB profile needs to be reviewed.
Name, address, and phone number
NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) citations are another important Local SEO ranking signal. NAP citations are places where your name, address, and phone number are all listed.
Why is it important?
Google uses NAP to confirm that all your business information is correct. And the more often they see NAP citations for your business, the more confident they are that your address and phone number is correct.
This is why you want to get consistent NAP citations across as many reputable sites as possible.
Pro Tip: Avoid the common mistake of only including the NAP within an image — images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text.
The most common location for the NAP is in the footer or header of the site. Additionally, you should include your NAP on a “Contact Us” page, too.
Moz’s study of local ranking factors also shows that online reviews play an important role. Nowadays customers rely on reviews for most of their purchase decisions.
Most customers turn to fellow shoppers and make purchasing decisions based on their online reviews, due to a growing skepticism in traditional advertising.
As a result, 93% of customers will read reviews of local businesses to determine their quality.
According to an expert who participated in the research, if consumers trust a business, that trust is a fundamental factor in ranking. That means responding to reviews, even negative ones, can help your Local SEO efforts. Knowing how to leverage the power of customer reviews can help your business flourish.
Build local backlinks
Backlinks from other reputable websites in your local area can help improve your local SEO. Seek out opportunities to get featured in local news outlets, directories, and industry-specific websites. Here are some tips for building local backlinks:
Get listed in local directories: Submit your business information to local directories and business listing sites, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and YellowPages.
Partner with other local businesses: Look for opportunities to partner with other local businesses in your area. This can include cross-promoting each other’s products or services, guest blogging, or co-hosting events.
Participate in local events and initiatives: Participating in local events and initiatives, such as community events or charity initiatives, can help increase your business’s exposure and build backlinks from local news outlets or organizations.
Utilize local business associations: Join local business associations and participate in their events, initiatives, and directories.
Get featured in local media: Reach out to local news outlets and media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, or TV stations, to see if they would be interested in featuring your business in an article or segment.
Create locally-focused content: Creating high-quality, locally-focused content can attract local customers and build backlinks from local websites and organizations.
Ask for backlinks: Don’t be afraid to reach out to other local businesses or websites and ask for a backlink. This can be done through email, phone, or in-person interactions. Be polite and provide value to the other party, and they may be more willing to link back to your website.
Traditional SEO factors
While local SEO factors usually determine your business’s local ranking, traditional Google ranking factors still apply to local SEO optimization. In fact, Google has confirmed that your organic ranking on the SERPs affects your local rankings.
That is to say the higher you rank in organic search results, the higher you will also rank in the map pane. Here are key traditional SEO factors to take into consideration to leverage your local ranking:
SEO Web Design
SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, optimizes a website to make it easier to find on search engines by looking up keywords. However, while SEO helps make it easier for users to find your site, it does nothing to make them stay and make a purchase. On the contrary, it’s excellent web design that keeps users engaged – and coming back for more.
Good SEO web design is essential for a good user experience. Users won’t want to spend a long time on your site if your site has slow-loading pages, a cluttered navigation bar, and overall poor visual design. Browsing should be a seamless, enjoyable process, not a frustrating one.
SEO and web design rely on two entirely different skill sets, so it’s natural to wonder how they work in unison. With that being said, here are some of the ways that SEO and web design can work together to complement one another:
Could you imagine looking for an item at a grocery store that has unlabelled aisles and a maze-like floor plan? That’s what browsing on a site with poor navigation feels like.
If users can’t find the products they’re looking for, they’re likely to grow frustrated and leave your site. The easier it is for visitors to browse your website and understand its layout, the more pages they can visit and lower the chances they’ll bounce.
When your site is easy to navigate, Google and other search engines will be more readily able to index your site’s many pages and make them visible on the SERPs.
Effective web design doesn’t just focus on the visual components of a site. Great visual design will also consider how well readers can understand and read your site’s textual content.
Digital content marketing is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to optimize your site for SEO while also providing value for your site’s visitors. Search engines will rank your site higher if your site has content authority on various topics and clear product/service description within your business or industry’s niche.
However, content marketing relies heavily on content and a lot of it. Blog articles and guides are great but white papers that showcase your business’s knowledge on a subject are better. There is one caveat, though – these content pieces have significant word counts, and if it’s presented in a non-visually pleasing manner, users won’t be likely to read it.
How fast a page loads is another critical factor for ranking a site high in the SERPs. If Google’s web crawlers have to wait longer than two seconds, it’ll reflect poorly on your SEO rankings.
Web design directly impacts how fast or slow your website’s pages will load. If high-resolution images, videos and hero banners are used, your page’s load times will become agonizingly slow. At that point, it doesn’t matter how excellent the design is – your users will bounce before they even have a chance to see it!
Local and mobile search go hand in hand (61% of all Google searches are performed on mobile).
Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment are to look up reviews, find directions to your location, and search for contact information. In fact, “near me” searches on mobile have increased 250% since 2017.
Make it easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.
Improve Your Business Visibility with Local SEO
Local SEO is an integral part of any SEO strategy for local businesses. Local SEO will help your audience find you when they search online if you have a storefront or service area.
With many top ranking factors to keep in mind, If you’re not sure where to start to leverage your business’s ranking, Advesa is here to help.
Work alongside a team of experts to develop a truly authentic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. We leverage many decades of industry experience to help you obtain great returns on your online investment.