If your business has a physical location, you need to know that doing the fundamentals of SEO will not obtain the best keyword ranking results. Your effort needs to focus more on the local areas where your customers may be interested in you. Below we will share the local SEO ranking factors that will help you appear in your competitive niche market.
1. Google My Business
First and foremost of the ranking factors, the Google My Business listing plays a big part in helping you appear in the Google Maps search result. Below are some of the fields:
- Business – what is your business about and what do you offer to your customers
- Opening Hours – make sure this is always accurate even during holidays, when you decide to take off, or other miscellaneous changes to your work schedule
- Physical Address – make sure you claim and verify your address
- Contact Number – the phone number that customers can contact you through
- Category – picking relevant primary and secondary categories are essential, and you can select up to 9 secondary categories
- Reviews – make sure your reviews are positive, ideally above 4-4.5 stars, and make sure to respond to your customers’ feedback including negative ones as this can make an impact on the future of your reputation
- Photos – visuals will help clarify any questions that customers may have about your service or products and can help attract them
Like regular content SEO ranking factors, you must have relevant local search queries embedded on your landing pages. Information regarding your business such as your name, address, and phone number (NAP) can help Google determine the distance of your business that can show up in local search engines. Adding keywords like “near me”, city/state, neighborhoods, and intersections can help local search engines know immediately that your content makes sense to show up in their area. More importantly, creating locally related content such as blogs, news, articles, videos, graphics, and announcements can help your local community which tells search engines you have authority in a specific area.
Ensure your reviews are positive, ideally above 4-4.5 stars as it creates trust, reliability, and legitimacy. The total amount, frequent addition, diversity of review topics, authority from professionals or experts, and format are part of the keyword ranking factors. Understand there are Google My Business, Third-Party such as Yelp for restaurants, and First Party reviews such as local publications. Make sure to respond to your customers’ feedback including negative ones as this can make an impact on the future of your reputation.
Just like any other website, you must have backlinks coming to your website. However, the links for local SEO should be more relevant from a local perspective such as local publications, directories, community websites, blogs, and event pages. More importantly, having high domain and page authority links means these links have several links from other high-traffic incoming websites. The anchor or link text that targets local search queries can help even more.
Citations or online directories are just like traditional yellow pages. It’s all about accuracy, how many listings, quality, and relevance of the listings to your business. Making sure you have consistent information across all directory and citation listings will help reassure search engines that your business has no incorrect information and is the official one.
Like the regular search engine result ranking factor, CTR is very important. On top of that, not all searchers will click on your website so making mobile calls or finding directions are also important. Lastly, even social media check-ins are positive signals to search engines that your website or listing is what users want.
The 6 local SEO ranking factors include Google My Business, content, reviews, backlinks, citations, and behavioral signals.