What are the most vital local SEO ranking factors that can help you scale your small business fast? Why should Google My Business be part of your SEO strategy? Is your local business delivering the desired return on your investments? If local SEO is not part of your digital marketing strategy, the chance of growing your business may be slim. Why?
Partly because the search engine algorithm continues to change. Also, the recent reduction of the 7-local pack results from seven listings to displaying only three has made ranking your local business a challenge.
As a result, several businesses are taking advantage of local SEO to increase search visibility. But for some marketers, it is a challenge they’re trying to solve. So local SEO has become crucial if you want to rank your site or get your local business in front of your target market.
What Is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization (commonly called local SEO) is a digital marketing process that involves improving the visibility of your local business. It is more like a customary SEO strategy. However, local SEO focuses on optimizing your website for a defined audience in your region or city.
This SEO tactic allows you to reach and attract the target market within your area. And to make the most of local SEO, you must apply other marketing elements such as Google My Business.
This component will help to boost visibility by listing your business on Google Maps. We will discuss Google My Business later in this article.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
As mentioned above, implementing local SEO will aid your business to appear in local searches. Moreover, even if your company has no website, optimizing for local search will offer users valuable information that makes your brand excel on searches.
Other advantages of local search optimization include:
- Enhanced online visibility
- Builds your online reputation and trust
- Drives targeted traffic
- Increase sales
- Grow your business
This digital marketing approach lets you avoid SEO mistakes that will cost you money. However, the beauty of local SEO is that you can integrate it into any digital marketing strategy, including social media and content marketing, to scale your business.
Yes, there are potential options to combine social media marketing into your local SEO campaign. In doing so, you have to use the top social media marketing platforms to boost your website search ranking position. How? We will discuss that in a moment.
The Essential Local SEO Ranking Factors Every Digital Marketer Should Know
1. Reputation Marketing (Consumer Reviews)
Reputation management is a marketing strategy that implies the use of customer reviews to examine and confirm your brand’s reputation. Since online reviews are critical elements of search rankings, getting satisfied customers to leave reviews about their experience using your products or services is a game-changer.
It will help you increase web traffic, improve local search rankings, and sales. For example, a survey by BrightLocal reveals that over 90% of respondents are more likely to patronize a business after reading positive reviews.
So getting more consumer reviews is critical to your local search ranking. Don’t worry about how to obtain positive reports; ask your customers to write reviews for you, and they will do it.
The research also shows that 58% of buyers wrote online reviews for local businesses in 2018, and 66% did the same in 2019. As you can see, the need for consumer review is on the rise. So don’t hesitate to ask for reviews.
2. Use Social Media to Boost Local SEO Ranking
Ordinarily, social media may not be an element of Google ranking factors. Still, this digital marketing tool has the potential to boost your search ranking position by improving the local ranking factors that Google takes into account.
You can accomplish this goal by leveraging the massive sharing power of social media networking sites. The materials you post on different social media sites add up to create local brand awareness and increase content visibility and engagement.
The more engagement resulting from your social media activities will bring in more web traffic — signaling Google that your content is useful to the reader. As a result, your local ranking position will improve dramatically. Therefore, establish social media presence in the top platforms.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the top-performing social media sites. However, first, analyze your marketing metrics to discover where your audience is consuming content. Then, set up accounts on those networking sites to reach your target market.
The best way to use social media in your content strategy to boost local ranking is to utilize social media management tools. You can use your preferred social tool to schedule content for posting on different social media plattforms at the right time.
These can post your content when your target buyer is online to engage with your posts. In that way, you’ll boost the reach of your posts with social media automation and maximize your return on investments (ROIs).
3. Google My Business
Google My Business is a fantastic local SEO ranking factor because it allows more consumers to find your business. Therefore, it’s essential to optimize your business for local SEO by claiming your free Google My Business listing.
So add your business data, including photos to any Google properties, and create a business profile if you don’t have one already. Then use Google My Business to manage your business listing across Google properties, including Google maps.
Here’s How to Claim Your Google My Business Listing.
Go to Google My Business. Click the “Start Now” button.
Next, enter your business name in the “Search box.” If your business is already listed, it will appear on the dropdown of the suggested matches.
Click your business name on the listing to verify it. Ensure to add images of your enterprise in your Google My Business. It is a remarkable way to make your company more appealing to consumers.
With your business listed on GMB, your company profile will appear on relevant searches through Google maps or Google search. It makes it easier for customers to find and interact with your brand.
Please, follow this step-by-step guide to add or claim your business on GMB listing correctly. Make sure to include all the vital details about your business. It helps consumers to make better buying decisions.
Google My Business Categories
Also, therein your Google My Business account, ensure to select the right category. Choosing the wrong group will negatively impact your content SEO campaign. Therefore, pick the most relevant categories that will enhance your content visibility on local search results.
4. Bing Places for Business
Google My Business is not the only business listing you should claim. Although Google gets the most searches, Bing Places for Business is also a remarkable component for local search ranking.
Like GMB, Bing Places for Business helps your local business to increase local search visibility by showing your business listing in local search results. It works the same as GMB. So ensure to claim your Bing Places for Business account.
5. Structured Data Markup for Local SEO
Structured data (also called Schema Markup) enables search engine bots to understand your business better. And when this machine understands you better, it will increase your local search ranking visibility.
By using Local Business structured data for SEO, you are providing Google vital information about your business, including:
- Business hours
- Location of your business (Address)
- Different departments of your company
- Products and services
- Phone number
Providing Google with all essential data about your business is like creating explanatory content that offers users facts, statistics, and explains your material in an easy to understand manner. It encourages readers to keep coming back because you describe your article well.
Similarly, Google encourages marketers to use structured data markups for local SEO as an essential ranking factor to improve visibility and local search rankings. So using this tool is crucial because it will contribute to your site rankings on Google for all types of content.
6. Website Page Speed
Over the years, website page speed has been a paramount factor for SEO ranking, including local SEO. The reason page speed is a critical element is because Google aims to improve web user experience across web channels (desktop and mobile).
Speaking of the mobile web, Google recently updated its search algorithm with a focus on mobile page speed as a ranking factor.
What does this mean for website owners?
It means that if your blog or website does not improve user experience due to slow load time, you will have difficulty appearing on search results. So you should optimize it for speed. For this reason, Google advises that you evaluate your site speed performance with the following tools:
For instance, I used the PageSpeed Insights to analyze the speed performance of one of my favorite websites — Copyblogger. You can see my results below.
As you can see, the mobile version scored 33, which means you need to improve your mobile website’s speed. The red color signifies that your mobile speed needs an upgrade.
And if you take a look at the test result of the desktop version, it scored 74, which is also not ideal. Moreover, ensure that your site is mobile-responsive and mobile-friendly. These processes will add up as you optimize your website for speed.
It will improve user experience and boost your ranking in local search.
7. Keywords for Local SEO
Just as you would optimize your content and website for standard SEO, apply the same method when optimizing for local SEO. Use keywords your local audience is searching on Google. It is one of the best ways to get found on searches, drive more traffic, and increase sales.
Let’s face it; the primary reason for optimizing your site and content for SEO is to enable search engine crawlers to find your business. So using the right keywords will increase your odds of appearing in the search results.
In consequence, find and use relevant keywords that are specific to your niche. Think of the terms your customers would search on Google. For instance, add local keywords such as city, state, and country. That is because many users are searching for businesses close to them or “near me.”
Wrapping Up Local SEO Ranking Factors You Should Know
Local SEO is an ever-evolving marketing strategy that needs constant attention to different ranking signals. So understanding these factors will aid you in growing your organic traffic and customers.
What do these local SEO signals mean for your local business? There are several takeaways, but we will highlight only a few. Since Google My Business is the #1 local pack SEO ranking factor, it makes sense to claim your position in GMB and optimize it accordingly.
Choose the right categories as mentioned above, and add all vital information, including photos of your business. Also, consistently produce helpful content pieces using local keywords. Include brand and semantic keyword terms to amplify your content.
In addition, the competition is intense, so examine your local SEO strategy to find areas where you need improvements. Make the necessary adjustments to enhance your chances of appearing on local search results.
These steps will assist your target buyer in finding your business on searches quickly. Hence, apply the tips we outlined above and keep testing your marketing strategy for maximum results.
What other local SEO ranking factors would you like to add to amplify this article? Please, tell us in the comments!