Local SEO is about optimizing your business website to increase traffic and brand awareness from local search results. Take help from a rank tracker tool and these ranking factors to boost your local SEO.
Parts Of Local Search Results
A local search result has two parts. The first part is the map pack or local pack that is where a map and a few Google Business Profiles are shown. This is shown at the top of the results. The second part is the regular search results. They are below the map pack.
There are ranking factors that are different for these two parts, but many overlap and are important for both local pack and regular search results.
Top Local SEO Ranking Factors
Google Business Profile
The map pack of local search results and all suggestions from Google Business Profiles. So, having a Google Business Profile is essential for getting a chance of inclusion in the map pack. It is a Google Maps listing that allows a business to be visible on the maps and local search results.
Your Google Business Profile (GBP) may get a better ranking if you fill in all the important information because Google states that businesses that have a complete GBP are more likely to be visited by customers.
- You can add up to 10 categories for your business in GBP. So, select all the relevant categories to get a higher chance of ranking in the map pack.
- Set your business hours and also include holiday hours or any change in hours for specific days.
- Add your contact information and address if you have a physical store or office.
- Add the products and services your business offers.
- Don’t forget to add photos of the premises and the products. If you provide a service like a hair salon, show photos of hairdressers coloring, styling, straightening, etc. the hair of customers.
- Ask customers to leave reviews (we will discuss more reviews later because it’s an important local SEO ranking factor).
- Never ignore other elements of Google Business Profile like Q&A, videos, Google Posts, info section, and verification.
A NAP citation is your business name, phone number, and address online like Google Business Profile, social media profiles, and other directories. Businesses that have complete NAP citations in more online directories might rank higher than others that don’t.
NAP consistency is important for this so make sure that not only most online directories have your business name, phone number, and address, but also the correct and updated ones. This is because the same information in all the directories shows search engines that the information is accurate and useful for anyone who will search for it. This can increase the local SEO ranking of a business.
Therefore, submit your information to big data aggregators in your country and other directories like Apple Maps, Yelp, Facebook, Bing Places, and Yellow Pages. Make sure to find local online directories as well.
Local search results favor businesses that have more reviews and more positive reviews on their Google Business Profile and on other platforms. Although reviews are important for both the map pack and regular search results, they are deemed important for ranking in the map pack.
Online reviews do more than help you rank in local search results. Positive reviews can help your business increase sales because people will trust you more if your business has a decent number of positive reviews.
Getting reviews involves customers so you must ask your customers to leave a review after the purchase. However, beware of never offering money in exchange for reviews. Plus, never instruct a customer to leave a positive review. You should only request them to leave a review. It’s up to them what kind of review they leave.
Proximity Of The Searcher From Your Business
This is a local SEO factor that is not in your control, but you should know about its importance. Google prefers showing results closest to the searcher. In some cases, a business with a less optimized GBP may be ranked higher than your more optimized GBP because that business is closer to the searcher.
If you have multiple branches of your business, make sure to create separate GBP listings for each branch to increase your odds of getting a higher local search ranking especially in the map pack.
On-page SEO deals with optimizations you do on your website to rank it higher in organic search results. Turns out, on-page elements of your website are also a ranking factor for local SEO as well.
On-page SEO is a part of the SEO strategy of every online business. Keep improving on-page SEO like:
- Include relevant keywords organically in content and products and services pages.
- Add your NAP information to your website.
- Make sure the metal titles and descriptions are compelling and SEO-friendly.
- Internally link pages where relevant.
- Include useful information for visitors.
- Optimize images. (High-quality images, alt text, etc.)
Backlinks are other sites linking to your site. For instance, if you conducted a survey in your locality about which coffee is favored by people in that area and posted it on your site, other websites that may deem that information helpful will mention it and may share the link to your website with it as well.
When other websites link to your site, it increases your website’s authority and boosts credibility.
Like on-page SEO, backlinking is also an important part of SEO strategies of any kind. So, there is no surprise that backlinks are a ranking factor for local SEO too. Try a white label rank checker tool for checking your progress.
To increase backlinks, you should:
- Try to get links from high-authority and top-ranking websites.
- Get local citations.
- Search for your business/product/service mentions that are without a link and claim them by requesting the website owner.
- Get links from websites that cover content relevant to your industry.
Google factors in what users do when they find your website in the map pack or regular search results. For instance, if a user searches for a term, your business comes up in the map pack, the users check it out but then moves to the next result in the map pack, and interact with that result, then Google will think that the other result was more valuable than yours.
On the opposite side, if a user presses the call button on your listing or clicks the get directions buttons, this gives Google a signal that the user liked the result. Google will push the listing up in the map pack.
So, you should make sure that users interact with your GBP listing or visit your website from the listing. For this, optimize your GBP listing and your website.
We have mentioned how to optimize your Google Business Profile in the respective section. For improving your website and avoiding a higher bounce rate, you should:
- Optimize the website for mobile users and make sure it works perfectly on all browsers.
- Optimize the on-page content of your website.
- Target relevant keywords.
- Build backlinks.
- Include the information the user is looking for.
Like other aspects of SEO, local SEO is also complicated and relies on many factors. Don’t expect to optimize your Google Business profile only for high ranking in the map pack and regular results. Use your SEO rank report and create a complete local SEO strategy for ranking in local search results.