Local SEO and traditional SEO rankings are affected by different factors. Traditional SEO shows users the most valuable, relevant content based on their keyword search. Local SEO is informed by the above but adds location to the mix in order to get the user more personalized results.
When queried for local results, Google only targets and displays results for businesses within a specified proximity. That’s why when you’re ordering pizza late on a Tuesday because you forgot to pick up groceries, Google shows you pizza delivery places nearby, not pizza joints in Bhutan. Often, digital marketing agencies primarily cater to companies in their province but most don’t necessarily exclude other clients.
Local SEO improves your search engine visibility to customers near your location. And it uses specific metrics to influence your local SEO website rankings.
A digital marketing Local SEO specialist is chiefly concerned with three categories relating to Google’s requirements:
These three pointers form the basis of robust local SEO marketing services.
How to improve your local SEO ranking
As location-based searches increase yearly so does the competition. The trends keep changing, but businesses can reap the benefits by improving their online presence through each of the following factors.
Create Evergreen Content
Without content online, you have nothing to optimize and nothing for search engines to rank well (or poorly). Creating timeless content relevant to your local community is the foundation for boosting your rankings.
If you maintain a website of the best restaurants, hikes, and sites in your local city of Memphis, and the content is lucid, actionable, and regularly updated (no one likes driving to a restaurant only to find it’s closed!), the locals may bookmark it and check it regularly. This is fantastic for your local SEO.
Let’s say you’re a bank, real estate agency, or grocery store. Consider covering events and local news in your articles to show that you’re up-to-date on your community, and use location-specific keywords in your copy to build authority and target the appropriate audience.
On average, evergreen content accounts for over 92% of leads in top organizations like HubSpot.
Earn Quality Backlinks
A large number of backlinks from reputable sources indicates to Google’s search engine that your content is high quality and r
elevant to the topic you purport to be an authority on.
90.63% of websites do not get traffic on Google because they do not have backlinks.
Websites that rank high on SERPs (search engine results pages) typically have a large number of backlinks from other domains with high authority. Evergreen content is key to getting these backlinks.
Let’s use our example of a local activity guide website. If you regularly update your website with valuable content about Boston, then a more trafficked, well-established website about traveling in Massachusetts will feel comfortable pointing its readers to you as a resource. When authoritative sources link to your website (and thus affirm its value), Google uses this information to improve your rank on SERPs.
Take Control of Your Google Business Profile (GBP)
Google Business Profile is a tool that allows you to list business details online, such as opening hours, contacts, photos, and business locations.
Your GBP is one of the items Google shows in response to a local search query. The contents of your GBP are instrumental in deciding the final positioning of your business in search results. When rank-ordering companies, search engine algorithms prioritize contact information, proximity to a user, evergreen content, and services.
Building a GBP profile is essential, as it helps locals see important information about your business before visiting your site. Web design companies will often leverage the information provided by your GBP to create a website. And don’t forget to add a photo; profiles with photos receive 35% more clicks than those without.
A GBP is free and relatively easy to create; you or a content marketing specialist can set it up.
Get Mentioned in Citations
Citations are different from backlinks, and Google can tell them apart. A citation is when your website is mentioned on another website. When Google sees your website listed in directories such as Yelp, Facebook, or your local chamber of commerce, it recognizes it as legitimate - providing the details match.
Add your business page to as many local directories as possible. There are many popular directories, but you should research those related to your industry. There are directories for real estate, health insurance, mechanics, etc. Local SEO specialists can help ensure you don’t list on the same directory twice. So if you’re in Milwaukee, you may choose a digital marketing agency in Milwaukee. Businesses in the top 10 on Google typically have over 50 citations.
Personalize Your Content
Even though we may not fully understand how search engines’ algorithms operate, one foundational aspect is the bias toward personalization. The algorithm wants to show results based on what it has learned about the customer’s preferences and interests.
Write content for the people for whom your business exists. Don’t try to trick the algorithm into ranking you higher. In the long run, proving you know your customer and can provide value will get you shown to the right people.
On average, 4 out of 5 companies that personalize see an uplift in their content.
Monitor and Collect Reviews
Google considers reviews from customers when ranking websites. True, some customers may troll you or leave unreasonable comments, but for better or worse, a search engine takes them into consideration.
Positive reviews help build your business’s online credibility. Google knows that customers would rather take a chance on companies that have glowing reviews from fellow users. Some of the signals used by ranking metrics are quality of reviews, total number, diversity, and frequency of new reviews.
A successful local SEO strategy will leverage the many reputable online review platforms. Check your business on sites like Google Maps, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Glassdoor to get insight into what the internet thinks of you.
If you don’t appear anywhere, it’s time to ask your top customers to give you a review!
Improve the User Experience
How users interact with your website also affects your rankings. Most search algorithms depend on the entire user experience to decide if your website is worth listing on a search result. Knowing user behavioral patterns will help you improve their experience and your local SEO ranking.
Some of the primary signs an algorithm looks out for include:
- Directions to your business site
- Click-through rate
- Mobile clicks to call
- Bounce rate
- Check-ins from social media sites
This is where a well-optimized website becomes necessary. Most web designers build sites that are optimized for mobile use. Since over half of all web traffic happens on phones, you need your website to be a seamless experience.
Understand Localized Organic Ranking vs. Local Pack
There are two distinct parts involved in local SEO.
When a customer searches for a gas station, pizza store, or restaurant “near me,” Google will display two kinds of results; organic and local pack searches. You’ll find other types of results too.
Local pack results consist of listings displayed in a map format. It also shows information, review ratings, and where it is precisely located. Organic listings are the regular blue link results on a Google page. The local pack is displayed at the top before organic rankings.
Localized Organic Ranking Factors:
- Reviews (6%)
- Behavioral (10%)
- GBP (7%)
- Citations (6%)
- Links (31%)
- Personalization (7%)
Local Pack ranking:
- GBP (33%)
- On-page (15%)
- Behavioral (8%)
- Personalization (6%)
- Links (15%)
- On-page (15%)
Improving the above factors may not give your business an immediate boost. Backlinks, for instance, are a long-term strategy and take time to cultivate. However, a Google Business Profile does not take much time to set up and provides significant value to local businesses.
Local SEO rankings have become the holy grail for small businesses. You may not have the power to compete with large companies for international recognition, but your local terrain can become your stronghold.
Consider the above factors when building your online presence, and focus on those that are likely to have the most impact given your situation and industry.
Many business owners are not aware of the long-term impact of evergreen content on their ranking. Building credibility online using local SEO takes time. Eventually, you may need to implement all the factors listed here if you wish to be on the first page of Google. Don’t have the time or energy to improve your local SEO? It is possible to get help from digital marketing agencies that specialize in content creation or from content marketing agencies that specialize in marketing content.
Local SEO can be tedious and overwhelming in the beginning, but the payoff is worth it.