It is getting really harder for a local business to rank well in search results. One reason is the explosive increase in mobile devices in any given area. Second reason is the awareness among businesses about the optimal local SEO for improved results.
Then, there is the Google’s Local Pack. It is at the top of the search results that highlights three local businesses related to the search. It used to be seven detailed results, but cut down to three that can also have ads. This is most helpful to mobile users, because they can find all the important information, without visiting the website.
A whopping 70% of the marketers think SEO is more effective than PPC.
Businesses need more than fresh content to be found. They need Google’s Local Pack and good SEO. A good SEO strategy is not simple and straightforward. But, even in this cut-throat business, there are several local SEO ranking signals that can help your business achieve top results in search engines.
There are two types of local SEO ranking signals, based on their level:
This covers the foundation. These are the signals you keep in mind because they are the most important to have the top slot in search results.
This covers all and everything above basic. They address the situation minutely and could prove to be helpful in securing a place in the top of Local Pack.
Remember that all signals discussed in this post are proven facts. Their authenticity is verified by Google or the research conducted by the most respected name in the field.
What are the top local SEO ranking signals?
From basic to all the way to the pro, here are all the basic local SEO ranking signals you need to know.
1. Register at Google My Business
The most simple and straightforward way to improve local SEO of your business is to grab some real estate for your business at Google My Business. This is entirely free and takes a couple of minutes to get done.
Studies show that 72% of consumers went to a local store within five miles after local search results.
2. Choose right category at Google My Business
The next step is to make sure you choose the right category at Google My Business page. It’s very important to choose as few and as accurate categories as possible. Never use ambiguous terms and remain true to the nature of your business.
3. Upload photos on My Business profile
A gallery of pictures can help you get credibility at search results. Make sure to put snapshots of your location (store front is the best option), products and staff. Ask satisfied customers if they are willing to participate.
4. Sign up at Bing Places for Business
Google has the lion’s share when it comes to search engine market. But according to research, Bing has also a major share around 33%. That’s one-third of the market. So be sure to sign up for Bing Places for Business.
5. Make use of other online listings
On the subject of directories and listings, don’t forget ‘less-popular’ online business directories. They may have not much of an impact on SEO rankings, but it’s important to have a place in them. Some of the popular local business listings are:
- Yahoo’s Local works
- Apple Maps
- Yellow pages
6. Build profiles on review sites
Online review sites are also a great place to kick up rankings of your business. The sources which are directly related to Google are the ones that has more advantages. The top review sites are:
- Angie’s List
7. Cultivate positive reviews
You have already covered many basic areas. In addition to them, what your business needs are reviews. Make sure that majority of them are positive. Google gives a lot of importance to quality reviews while determining the ranking of your business on its search engine.
Google discourages businesses to plot schemes like review stations and gift vouchers against positive reviews. The review sites have their own policies too, which should be observed.
8. Use of keywords & area
According to a study, the language and terms that web browsers use matters when it comes to search rankings. When they use areas and keywords, it gives search engines an indication that you are an established local business.
9. Get responses for reviews
Backed by the same study given above, reviews that get responses (favorably positive) also contribute in the local SEO.
10. Respond to negative reviews
Just the way a positive review helps in getting local SEO, a negative review with no response takes down all the effort of getting higher in the search results.
To better handle all the online reviews, be sure to devise a plan, especially when you are dealing with Google reviews.
11. Use Facebook
Many people live and breathe social media. Interestingly, a large group of individuals use Facebook to find all the answers. It never hurts to create and periodically update a business page at Facebook. It must have necessary data like your business’s webpage, timings and summary of what your company provides.
12. Use other social media platforms
Use other social platforms like Twitter and Instagram even if you are not going to use them 24/7. Tweet about the latest event held at your business, greet the community for an upcoming holiday, and so on. Be sure to give other contact info if you are not active on one social platform.
13. Publish consistent info
Google rewards accurate information as much as it penalizes bogus information, obviously in the face of good or bad rankings. Always publish consistent and authentic contact info about your business’s name, contact numbers and addresses.
14. Optimize to mobile-friendly interface
According to 2019 stats, 52% of the worldwide traffic came from mobile devices.
Google rankings are all about mobile devices. The search engine now looks at the mobile version of a site first, and then move on to desktop version. You can check your site optimization to mobile devices by visiting Google’s respective pages.
15. Structure markup data of your site
Local SEO can be boosted employing structured markup data, including hours, address, and menu. It is highly recommended by Google. There is no clear indication to whether including GPS coordinates in markup data is helpful or not.
16. Improve bounce rates and average time rates
Local SEO gets taken care of, if overall SEO of your website is healthy. Always provide updates and original content with proper Meta titles and descriptions. In this way you can cover a lot of area by simply providing visitor the answers.
17. Create local content
It makes a lot of sense when things are at their places. If you periodically churn out data with your keywords and location, you contribute a lot of your local SEO. Write about local holidays and celebrations, promote native causes and charities etc. What suits your business, suits you in the digital world.
18. Optimize for on-page location with keyword
Data indicates that long-tail keyword searches have a 3% to 5% better click-through rate than that of generic search. 57% of executives think that on-page content development is the most effective SEO practice.
To get better local SEO listings, make sure to optimize content with location and keywords. Never optimize for “residential locksmith”. Better go for “residential locksmith Brooklyn NY”.
19. Optimize for title and Meta description
36% of all the experts in SEO think that headline or title tag is most vital factor in SEO element.
Every time you get the chance, make sure to use keywords and location in your main title and Meta description. This is also one of the most important signals that determines your place in search results.
20. Build quality inbound links
Over 91% of all sites never receive any organic traffic from Google. It’s because of the fact that they don’t have backlinks. Another stat indicates that over 55.24% of pages have no inbound link.
It wouldn’t come as a surprise that procuring a healthy link profile from the sites that Google trusts can get help your local SEO climb up.
21. Diversify inbound links
Targeting inbound links that are the most relevant and authoritative can help a lot in gaining points for local SEO. Make sure they are acquired organically.
In the industry, 61% marketers say optimized SEO and organic traffic is their top inbound marketing strategy.
22. Procure inbound links from local sites
To build your trust with search engines, you must acquire a healthy following from your local community blogs, news hubs and social groups etc. It indicates to the fact that your site is trusted by your locality.
23. Acquire inbound links with your location and keyword
It’s healthy for your site to have several links from a variety of high-ranking sites. But if you need the jackpot, you need to have a backlink from a high authority site; a link that uses both your location and keyword term.
24. Facilitate the searcher
A recent study indicates that Google’s search algorithm keeps more than 200 ranking factors in consideration to rank websites.
Physical location of your business remains constant, but you can grow your rankings in local SEO by using Google My Business and authentic information about the services your business provides.
25. Enhance authority of your domain
According to Moz Local Search Ranking Factor, domain authority placed at sixth slot among top 50 Local Pack Finder Factors. You can’t add authority to your website overnight, nor can it be done easily and quickly. But it surely pays in the long run.
To sum it all up, it is of vital importance to cover both basic and professional level local search ranking signals in order to create an influential and lasting cyber presence. It’s a fact that it’s a competitive field, but local businesses can improve a lot of areas to outsmart competition.