Ranking your business website on Google is one daunting task you might not want to deal with. To be pure honest, it can become complicated along the way. But sorry, whether you like it or not, it’s a major assignment you need to focus on.
In our previous postings, you should have learned by now that SEO is not dead, yet. Search Engine Optimization is still one of the backbones in setting up a successful business website.
In fact, local businesses have a higher chance of getting traffic and conversions if their website surfaces on Google every time there’s a related search query within their vicinity. However, the aforementioned is not easy, especially if you have the littlest idea about the local SEO ranking factors.
So what are the local SEO ranking factors? Do they really help your business website?
First, let’s go over the importance of ranking a website locally. See, as a consumer who is in need of a product or service, the first thing that pops in your mind is to find a store or shop near you, correct? You wouldn’t travel far north if you’re in south just to buy a mobile phone when the local store has it in stock, right?
Now, as an owner of any business, it will be in your advantage if your website ranks well on Google locally. Apart from the fact that it attracts interested consumers, it also boosts your popularity, which could translate into more buyers in the long run!
It sounds exciting, isn’t it? Then again, I am telling you as early as now that optimizing your website for local SEO is not a piece of cake. But with a good understanding of the local SEO ranking factors, you have a better chance at hitting a homerun!
1- Geographical Details
The accuracy and consistency of a local business’ geographical details is a paramount factor in ranking its website on Google. What you must ensure is that the NAME ,ADDRESS, and PHONE NUMBER (NAP) of your business appears across your website.
Adding your company’s NAP is vital as it appears in SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Users will be able to quickly check your business’ location and contact information without even clicking the link.
Most importantly, your NAP allows Google to identify your proximity to a user’s location. When a user puts on a search query and you happen to be the closest result, then your website got the best opportunity of being displayed first.
It is also important to note that you need to input your NAP on other websites in exactly the same way you listed it on your website. Doing so should help Google mark your location accurately.
2- Google My Business
Now that you have already set up your NAP, the next factor you need to focus on is your Google My Business listing.
To optimize your Google My Business listing, it is again critical to put your business’ exact same NAP. Then, you have to fill up the correct category of your business so Google will display your page for related search queries.
If your company offers differing services and products that won’t fit in a single category, you need not fret. Google allows you to choose multiple categories, which you believe your website should rank in.
Your company citation in local directories serves as a reference to your business website. After optimizing your Google My Business listing, grab the chance of earning a strong online authority in your area through citations in relevant local directory pages.
In ranking a website for local SEO, link building within local websites that are related to your business is one of the main keys. But because it may take some time before you can build your links across such business pages in your location, you can take advantage of local directories like Yelp as a useful tool for link building.
For this reason, you have to dig and search for local directories that can list your business NAP. It is worth mentioning that there’s no need to actually link your NAP from these directories to your site. Just appearing on local directories should be enough to reference to your business.
However, getting citations in several directories also need monitoring or auditing from time to time. Any change in your business NAP should be reflected in all your local citations. This ensures accuracy of your company information displayed all over the web.
If your citations have many variations per each local directory or if the information is outdated, there’s a possibility for Google to question the reliability of your data. When this happens, Google might downgrade your website’s search ranking.
4- Excellent Reviews and Social Mentions
Customers commonly search for online reviews before buying a product or availing a service. Displaying excellent reviews in your website gives them more confidence and a little push in making a purchase.
It will not just help your conversion but may also help establish your business prominence. It is worth noting that Google also uses prominence in determining which websites to display for related searches.
As you can see, Google primarily shows well-known brands and pages for specific searches like this.
So you can’t actually do without a little bump in your business popularity. After all, you’re nothing unless you’re talked about, right?
Now, how do you achieve prominence? How do you get people to talk about your company? A good review like the abovementioned is one. But you can also stretch more by getting social mentions.
When people talk about your business through social media, you earn a reputation and popularity. The more users speak of your products and services, the better your chance at getting noticed by Google. If this continues, you might hit the top SEO rank without you even realizing it!
5- Quality And Quantity Of Inbound Links
Inbound links are good. But it’s not always the case.
Links to your page can only do you better if they are from reliable sites. Having said that, it is also crucial for you to check the quality of the pages your backlinks are from.
You need to be particular in bad inbound links that come from spammy websites. It might affect how Google sees the trustworthiness of your business. To help you determine whether a page is a well-founded and dependable link partner, you can checkout the MOZ Bar Chrome extension.
The MOZ Bar Chrome extension displays a page’s Domain Authority (DA) as well as its Page Authority (PA). It also shows you Spam Score of the website. Just looking at the numbers should tell you if the page is link partner-worthy or not.
Another tool you can employ is Ahrefs. It is a program that checks backlinks quite similar to what the MOZ Bar Chrome extension does. Ahrefs ranks websites by the quality and size of their backlink profile. With this information available, it will be easier for you to pick the ones worthy to build inbound links with.
And of course, let’s not forget that the more quality backlinks you have, the higher the traffic to your website. That said, you also need to work on the quantity of your backlinks. The good news is, you can actually grow your inbound links organically through quality contents. Learn more about it below!
6- Optimize Contents
As I mentioned above, you can grow your inbound link quantity naturally through publishing quality contents. To achieve this, you must optimize the contents contained in your website.
Contents that are valuable and relevant never go unnoticed. Social influencers and bloggers always find reliable and complete sources for their craft. Be that source and you’ll see your backlinks grow tremendously in a short while!
But apart from growing the number of your inbound links, a content that’s optimized to the local audience should also help rank your page for SEO. There are many businesses in your area that sell similar products and services. How do you convince consumers that you’re the best choice?
This is where your contents should back you up. Write articles that highlight your business like how you perform your services and what quality checks you implement. And don’t forget to put your location as your keyword in every post. Google can pick this up and may rank your site well.
Ranking your website for Local SEO is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. But the factors we listed here should give you a start.
Scott Donald is Chief Strategist at Creativ Digital an agency specializing in ecommerce website optimization. He designs builds and provides marketing for websites to perform at their best. Head over to his site to get a free digital success plan for your business. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.