It is crucial for a business to be found by location. A good quote from local SEO tool builder Bright Local sums it up: “The number one reason people search online is to find a location of a known business.” But how does Google decide what businesses turn up by location and how do you get your local business appear in location results? In this article we will discuss Google ranking, local SEO, how to do local SEO with or without a storefront, and why local SEO is important to your business.
How does Google Ranking Work?
Google uses a proprietary algorithm to rank websites for various search results. The ranking dictates when and where a site will show up in a Google search. Sites with a higher Google ranking will appear more frequently and above lower ranking sites. The factors that determine Google ranking are site usefulness, relevance, quality of content, speed, keyword usage, and structure. However, Google ranking is constantly adjusting search results which is why it is so important to stay on top of keywords. Google makes over 500 yearly changes to their site ranking algorithm. Many growing businesses accomplish this by hiring an SEO expert. A factor that is not usually considered is a business’ local presence on the website, also known as Local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a marketing strategy aimed to help local businesses appear in search results based on the geographic location of a potential customer. When someone is searching for a business near them, Google ranking will list local businesses that they determine to be the best options.
5 Local SEO Strategy Tips
Businesses looking to have a highly effective local SEO strategy need to make their physical address easy to find. Here are 5 tips to improve your google Google ranking and Local SEO:
- Your business needs to have the company’s name, address, and phone number on the website. Remember this by the acronym, NAP; it is crucial that your NAP remains constant throughout your website, and other sites (like listings, directories, and community sites) as well.
- Your business’s name, address, phone number should be on local citation sites. Examples of local citation sites include Yelp, Google My Business, Bing, and Angie’s List. Google My Business is one of the most important citation cites because it helps your business to turn up in a local search, Google Maps, and Business Google. Using citation sites with a higher authority and trust score will deliver higher Google search rankings. To be competitive, use a tool like Whitespark to analyze which citations have been created by others in your industry. Adding these same citations will give you a leg up on your competition.
- Ratings and reviews are extremely important. A good rating and review on local citation site will increase Google ranking because it will prove your business is providing quality service. In order to create a healthy stream of reviews:
- Copy the URL of your Google My Business page
- Replace “/posts” with “/?hl=en&review=1”
- Send this link to satisfied customers, asking if they’d like to leave a review. Also, think about adding a comment section into your website and make sure to complete any interactions you receive
- Local Directories – although many local directories use paid models (such as chambers of commerce), many free local directories are available to help you maximize your local SEO footprint. Just make sure these directories are trustworthy and not replete with toxic links.
- Automated Local Listing Services – These are software companies that aggregate local directories to manage and target local SEO for your company. It may be worthwhile to obtain these services through an Agency or firm like SunCity Advising because they have access to better rates and can integrate it into your monthly service fees rather than all upfront.
- Moz Local – Moz only works with roughly 20 directories and although they claim to be hitting most of the major directors, we have found that there are omissions of major search engines like Yahoo and other prominent directories. Although cheaper than Yext, we find that it does not offer the same bang for your buck. Keep in mind, this is not Moz’s core competency.
- Synup – A newer player in this space, Synup offers similar services but we have found that the directors are smaller than Yext and of a lower quality. A word of caution: If you request a proposal or demo, be prepared for a bombardment of calls and emails!
We have personally had great success with local automated listings but it’s not a one-trick-pony, we utilize all 5 of these local SEO strategies to stay in the top spot for local searches. Remember that one of the most basic yet essential aspects of Local SEO, is a consistent format with your name, address, and phone number on all sites.
What if my business doesn’t have a local address?
Throughout this article, we have been discussing the importance of local SEO and Google Ranking for local businesses. But if you do not have a storefront, then how can you compete with other businesses?
There are three main options for businesses with no storefront regarding local SEO.
- Write content on your site that introduces a specific area you can service. Make sure to add a specific location to the title of the page, into the headline, and the meta description.
- Add individual pages that introduce projects that you have done at specific locations. In your individual page URLs, order your location first, then add your projects.
Google takes into account which label you prioritize first in your URLs, so if you find potential customers are searching with location-specific keywords, this is the most effective landing page URL structure.
3. Use Google My Business & website plugins to outline the area you service or pin specific locations and add map to your site.
Why should Businesses care about Local SEO?
- Local SEO assists in higher visibility for local searches. Everyone is going to get a different result based on geography. Creating a higher chance for your business to be discovered.
- Local SEO searches are often used to find a business or product. Meaning there will be a higher conversion rate from search to sales. More than half of Google searches based on location are made by customers who intend to purchase a product or service on the same day.
- Local SEO is an easy and effective way to advertise your business.
- Local SEO will target local customers, assisting in creating a customer base.
- Local SEO can brand your business as trustworthy. If you keep consistent business information and put your high reviews in the spotlight, then customers will believe you are a good company.
SunCity Advising is a local SEO company in San Diego. We have helped multiple businesses be discovered through SEO, keyword research, writing content, and website design. Check us out to get started on improving your company’s visibility and start getting discovered by customers.
Author: Daniel Barry
Daniel Barry is an Advisor at SunCity. His background is in digital marketing, SEO and operational management. His client portfolio includes successful partnerships with startups, small businesses, medium-sized firms & large corporations.
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