While Search Engine Optimization(SEO), has become widely recognized and used by people to make their products and service rank high among searches mostly on google.
A lot of businesses have failed to pay attention to Local SEO ranking factors that will allow their business to rank among the top results for local services.
According to an estimate by Google, 4 out of five customers use local searches to find information about a local service or business that they might need.
What this means is that if your business does not effectively make use of Google’s top-ranking factors for local SEO, you are at the risk of losing out on a massive 80% of potential customers. Yes! That’s how important local SEO is.
Most companies and businesses have now incorporated and have included the local SEO in their SEO and Digital marketing efforts. As there are a huge number of customers who search on google and prefer the businesses near to them.
So, how are these companies optimizing their business and where should you start? Let’s look at it together and begin from the very start.
- 1 What is Local SEO?
- 2 Why do you need Local SEO?
- 3 Local SEO ranking factors
- 3.1 Set up Google My Business
- 3.2 Create Local Listings
- 3.3 Keep The NAP Consistent (Name, Address, and Phone Number)
- 3.4 Get Reviews
- 3.5 Optimize Website Content For Local Keywords
- 3.6 Embed Google Maps on your About/ Contact page
- 3.7 Create Local Pages
- 3.8 Improve Website Loading Speed
- 3.9 Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Optimized
- 3.10 Use Local Backlinks
- 4 Conclusion
What is Local SEO?
From somewhere, you surely have heard of Search Engine Optimization or SEO, and know that optimizing a website according to the Search Engines’s algorithm and making it user friendly to rank it higher in the Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs) is in short called SEO.
Local SEO is not much different than this, as it is simply a way of optimizing your business to rank higher on related google search results. However, Local SEO is a step further ahead of general SEO.
You can refer to it as a more deliberate optimization of your business for specific areas. For example, if you own a Bakery shop that is situated in West Virginia, USA, you can optimize your local listing so that when anyone in West Virginia and surrounding localities make searches about the best bakery shop around your area.
Your company or business will be one of the top results that Google shows in the searches and will improve the number of potential customers who might end up patronizing your business.
Why do you need Local SEO?
From the brief explanation of Local SEO above, you should have an idea of how important Local SEO is. But let’s look at 3 simple reasons why you should consider this program.
- It helps you and your business to get leads from search engines. Google is the first place people check when they need a service, and you must bring your business to such an important place.
- It gives your business more brand credibility, trust and builds your online reputation. People tend to have more trust in businesses that have a good online presence. When they see your business come up among the top results in searches, they tend to believe your business more than if you were somewhere on page 2 or later.
- Just like website SEO, Local SEO mostly requires consistent improvements. But, once you’ve optimized your business for local searches, and you started ranking on top of the local listings, you will generate free traffic to your website or customer to local businesses.
So, if optimizing your business for local SEO is this important, where should you begin to ensure that your company ranks high among local searches?
Let’s Dive in, here are the 10 Local SEO ranking factors to make your business rank higher among local searches.
Local SEO ranking factors
Set up Google My Business
Ok, now this is not a ranking factor, but the first thing to do and probably the most important Local SEO ranking factor is to set up a Google My Business account properly.
As you already know, Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool by Google that allows local businesses and companies to manage their online presence across Google.
If you register your business on Google My Business, when related local searches are made, the algorithm will display your business above other results in the form of a snippet listing.
To set up Google My Business
- Visit the website at https://google.com/business/ and click on “Start Now”.
- Choose the Google account you want to use and sign in. If you don’t have a google account or will prefer to use a new one for this, you can create a google account quickly from the available options.
- next, in the search box, type the name of your business name or location.
- Once you have found or you have created your correct business name and location, click on the business.
- You will be required to verify your business through a code sent to your business location within 2 weeks or less.
- Once verification is done, you can be sure that your business will rank high among searches.
- To ensure that your page is duly optimized, you must fill in all the necessary details which include a business description, working hours, street name, website link, business category, and so on.
Make sure you consistently and continually post updates, news, and other information related to your business. This is available for you in the Google posts section of your Google My Business dashboard.
- Make use of only high-quality images of your business
- Make use of quick links and useful Q&A to enhance your presence further.
Create Local Listings
List your business on other local listing websites like Yelp, CitySearch, Yellow pages, or according to the local directories according to the country you are in. This will give more citations to your business and make Google trust your business a little more.
Most importantly, while creating local listings for your business, ensure that your information is consistent with that of your Google My Business page and across all the local listing services.
Keep The NAP Consistent (Name, Address, and Phone Number)
Ensuring that your business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP), as well as other important information about your business, is consistent and the same across all your local listings and Google My Business increases your business’ credibility and allows it to rank higher in local search results.
Moz Local is a service that you can use to check your NAP consistency across these services.
The importance of a good old review cannot be underestimated. It is, in fact, one of the most important Local SEO ranking factors.
According to a Moz report, customer reviews are very important to the ranking of business for Local SEO. Also, customers have shown a higher level of trust for businesses with legit positive reviews than those with no reviews.
Not only it is a ranking factor, but when we search for a business or service, the first thing we check is the reviews, good and genuine reviews can be the deciding factor between selecting your business or your competitor’s.
To get honest reviews, ask your customers to drop a review for your business after every service provided. You can offer them incentives for this.
Also, make sure you reply to most (if not all) reviews made by your customers about your business. This will make them feel appreciated and will prompt more people to share their reviews.
Optimize Website Content For Local Keywords
This is mostly possible if you have a blog attached to your website. People use keywords like “nearest barbershop in Philly” “best restaurant near me” and many other keywords.
Looking out for popular keywords and finding a way to incorporate such into your website content will enable the search engine algorithm to rank your business higher when such local searches are made.
Embed Google Maps on your About/ Contact page
This will help you amplify your website for local searches. For instance, if someone is looking for a plumber in Totowa, NJ, and searches on Google.
If your business is well amplified to show up in searches around Totowa or about it, Google will rank your business high up among the displayed results.
Create Local Pages
If your business is located in more than one place, then you might need to create One Page for one location that will target these locations where you have a business presence.
To do this, use the main keywords+ your location for each page. For example, if you run a Home Moving service in three different locations, you will have to create web pages for each of the three locations on your website.
Make sure to use the different names, addresses, and phone numbers for different pages and create location-specific content.
When doing this, however, desist from doing a copy-paste job because the google algorithm frowns at content duplication and this might hurt your search rankings.
Improve Website Loading Speed
This tip is also very important for optimum SEO for your business. People will patronize your business better if it has a very fast load time. A slow or laggy website will mostly have the visitors closing the webpage before it even loads completely.
Therefore, no matter how much attention you pay to other aspects of Local SEO, if your website is not loading fast enough, your efforts will be futile.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Optimized
This is an obvious fact for 21st-century businesses with an online presence. Because most people use mobile devices to access the internet these days, you must ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
A mobile-friendly website will ensure that your potential customers have a very good experience using your website from their mobile devices and will increase your credibility.
Backlinks are very important even for Local SEO and are highly recommended for your business. Building backlinks to your website will not only increase your website’s traffic but also, do your search result ranking a world of good.
To get quality backlinks for your website, you can use the following methods
- List your websites on local directories
- Create valuable content on your website/blog that will attract backlinks from people.
- Reach out to people and ask for backlinks
- Share your content on social media and groups (but don’t spam them)
- Collaborate with other business owners and exchange backlinks
- You can as well use the link-building services of local SEO agencies like a guest posts and so on.
Doing all these will ensure your website and local listing rank higher among local searches and drive more potential customers to your website. Local SEO is very important for businesses and if you really want online success for your business, then you must make use of the Local SEO to your advantage.
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