With every passing day, Local SEO is getting more significance. At the same time, it is becoming challenging for many businesses to rank high on the local results as it is highly competitive. It is important to get your Local SEO right if you are targeting local businesses.
In this article, we will take a detailed look at the Local SEO ranking factors so that you can ensure to have a well-planned Local SEO Game Plan for your organization. These will help you to identify the right opportunities, gain more local visibility and check out your weak areas in your current strategy.
Optimizing MyBusiness Page
Filling out Google MyBusiness fully and correctly is crucial. Make sure that your Google My Business Page has properly gone through the entire verification process. You should never use a generic or a Gmail account. The email address should be attached to your domain name. You need to use this email address for getting registered on Google My Business.
Another feature to be careful about is N-A-P. It stands for Name-Address-Phone Number. It is extremely important that if you want to stand in local search on Google, these details should be clearly mentioned. Google gives this information a priority when it comes to determining it as a Local SEO ranking factor.
The Name of your business, address and the phone number should be accurately mentioned and should be 100% correct. Your address should be consistent with that of your local directories as well as the website. List the correct hours of operation of your business and at the same select the relevant category of your business.
Google also wants you to describe your business in a couple of sentences (around 200-300 words). Upload accurate photos of your business as Google will ask for uploading your Profile Photo, Logo Photo and a Cover Photo. They should describe your business appropriately.
On-Page Optimization of your Webpage
This starts with an in-depth keyword research which will help in bringing you high rankings on Google. It is the basic step of any SEO campaign which wants to be successful.
Therefore, for your business also, you need to decide upon a list of highly relevant keywords which people are actually searching for locally. In case of a business which wants to attain local rankings, using geo-modifiers as an addition to the keywords used are always preferred.
Google Keyword Planner is one of the reliable tools which can help you to find the set of relevant keywords to get more keyword ideas and to get a fair idea about the estimated traffic by looking at high volume/low competitive keywords.
Next step is to optimize your Title Tag and Meta Description. Just make sure that Title tag contains the State, City and the main keyword. Start the Title Tag with your brand name followed by preferably the services you are offering.
Same applies for generating the Meta Description. Meta Description basically offers a short and concise summary describing what the page is all about. It should be to the point and under the 156 character limit, besides containing the keyword and your city as well as the state where you are located. Besides all of these, it is also very important that your headers (H1, H2 etc) also contain the keyword and your location.
Optimize your Images
It is quite significant that you include additional information along with your images. The main features you need to have for images include Filenames which should contain your main keyword in it. Secondly, title tag should also have the keyword and the description of your service. Lastly, Alt-Text also ensures that the search engines understand your images by including the keyword and a description of the image. Alt-tag is quite helpful when the images fail to load and are meant for the visually impaired.
Carefully compress your images, as if not done properly can considerably increase the loading speed of the website which can be a negative factor for obtaining high rankings on Google.
Your Site needs to be Mobile-Friendly
Since about a year ago after Google’s update called Mobilegeddon was released, Google has time and again focused on having mobile friendly websites. Since more than 50% of searchers are on Mobile, it becomes imperative for every business to have mobile friendly site which are viewable and can easily be browsed on any electronic gadget.
In fact, if not designed as mobile friendly, Google could also penalize your website. Responsive web designs are the way to go in future too. In order to not lose relevant mobile traffic, it is necessary to have such a flexibility for moving forward into the future.
Including Customer Reviews
Having Online Customer Reviews and Ratings play a crucial role in the search engine visibility of your business. The more ratings your business has, the more positivity and online exposure it will get. Positive and real customer reviews increase the trustworthiness among the online audience who searches for business falling within your category. In fact, links from famous sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List and so forth should also be included which increases the confidence of consumers. A true fact is that the way you treat your customers and the level of customer satisfaction will ultimately determine the number of positive reviews in your Profile.
Including Schema Markup
Schema Markup means the code which you can add on your website to help the search engines understand the certain type of information in a better way. When implemented, this local schema increases authority and trust on a local level which further helps in increasing overall local rankings on Google. Rich snippets can be generated using schema markup and are the extra bit of text that occurs under the search results.
These are enhanced elements which are helpful for getting your listing noticed and for obtaining results on SERPs. When they are used, this information helps visitors understand your business more, click more on your page and spend more time. Google also supports Rich Snippets for reviews, ratings, news, articles and videos.
The more quality and relevant backlinks a website has, the higher it will rank on search engines. Link building, when done properly increase the authority and trust of a website. Reaching out to high quality and authoritative websites which belong to the same niche as yours and having links on them which point to your website helps tremendously in driving more traffic and establishing your brand.
There are various techniques for building links and by cultivating relationships, you greatly benefit the other side also as you bring them original and quality content for their website. The more links you have on there from high authoritative websites, the more beneficial it will be for you as each quality link is counted as a vote and Google endorses that by showing its site on search engine results.
Another note-worthy thing is that any link from a credible source is to be counted as a strong vote and is quite helpful. Similarly, any trustworthy link which is from a source same as your industry/niche, can prove to be quite advantageous. Industry specific directories and sites are a great source.
Also, a manually built authoritative citation profile will let Google see you as a trusted business with the passage of time. Yellow pages, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, FourSquare, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Merchant Circle and so forth are some of the citation websites which can help you in creating powerful citations which will give you an edge over your local competitors.