Many factors affect your local search rankings and Google is continually making changes and updates to the algorithm (and they’ll continue to do so for the foreseeable future). Some factors move up or down in importance or insignificance, so knowing why something helps your rankings is great, but it helps, even more, to know which ones really matter and which don’t.
However, when you try to look up any information about ranking factors for local pages or how to rank your local page you will be bombarded with confusing and sometimes conflicting information. Today, you will gain a better understanding of 5 commonly talked about digital marketing factors that can help to increase/improve your local search ranking performance.
What Are the Most Important Local SEO Ranking Factors?
1) Optimized Content
Content is king when it comes to search ranking factors. And the key to effective local search marketing is having relevant keywords and keyword phrases while focusing your content locally.
Search engines use web crawlers to analyze websites and understand what they are about. These crawlers look for keywords in your content to determine which searches your website ranks for.
If you’re trying to rank for a specific keyword or keyword phrases, you need to add that keyword to the page you want to rank. Just make sure to use long-tail keywords that your potential client might use to search for your products or services by doing local keyword research.
For example, “Plumbing Services in Lehi”, UT is a great long-tail keyword for a plumbing company in Utah.
If possible, also use the keywords in page titles, headings, meta descriptions, anchor texts, URLs, while also using similar phrases and variations to enhance the connection.
Building high-quality content is the ideal way to build local SEO for your business. Through blogging, use of local keywords, and engaging readers who are looking for services or products in your area, you can rank higher in the search results.
2) Mobile Friendliness
Have you seen your Google keyword rankings plummet this year? You could be impacted by the mobile-first index which started rolling out in 2018. This new Google algorithm update was designed to make your site more mobile-friendly.
Now that mobile friendliness is a local SEO ranking factor, the importance of a site being responsive and optimized for these devices has never been higher. The opportunity to reach customers on their preferred devices is what you need to win, so you must ensure your website is accessible from any mobile device.
It turns out that Google punishes sites with cluttered, overcrowded pages. In fact, the new mobile-friendly algorithm takes into account not just how a site looks on a mobile device, but also its site architecture and design. So if your site is not mobile-friendly yet you want to rank higher in search results, then now is the time to make some tweaks.
3) Google My Business
Google My Business is the golden goose of local SEO. As a small business owner, you may have heard about Google My Business: that free SEO tool that allows business owners to upload details about their companies, products, and services, to better compete with their rivals.
Since GMB listing is one of the first things clients will come across when searching for products and services on Google it is important to set it upright. Search algorithms use GMB signals like contact info, proximity, updated content, and categories to understand where you and your business are to show it to people in your area.
To make a good GMB listing you should:
- Verify your business. Google will rank your listing higher if it has a physical address and consistent hours.
- Claim your listing. Google will count your listing as a current business if it has a confirmed address and phone number.
- Add location information. Google wants to know where your business is located to recommend services locally.
- Add categories. Categories let Google categorize your listing and make it easier for people to find you.
- Select photos. Images are important, so it’s best to include several photos.
If your listing isn’t listed on Google My Business, you’re missing out on a lot of business.
4) User Experience
With website speed being one of the most important factors when it comes to user experience, you have to ensure that your website is loading fast.
Page speed is one of the most important local search ranking factors, and Google has been making a lot of noise about it. There are no exceptions here: for small businesses or large brands, if your site isn’t loading quickly, you’re at a disadvantage to sites that do. Make sure your site loads quickly and is consistent across all devices.
When a web page takes too long to load, visitors will get frustrated and leave. What’s worse is that also Google slaps a penalty onto sites that have bad page loading. The good news is that you can improve page loading, which helps with your Google rankings by:
- Enabling file compression
- Reducing redirects
- Leveraging browser caching
- Improving server response time
- Optimizing images
- And much more.
5) Link Building
With 57% of Google users saying local information is the most important information when looking for a business online, it’s no surprise that this data point is so widely researched. The best way to rank highly for local search is to have quality links coming from relevant websites.
There have been many developments in the Google algorithm over the last several years. One of these improvements is a clear focus on quality backlinks. If your SEO efforts include a clean link-building strategy, you’ll be able to power your website to a top spot in organic searches with minimal effort.
However, you need to understand that only links from authoritative sites in your niche will tend to count toward the keywords you’re targeting, while shady-looking links affect your local search ranking. This isn’t necessarily good news for website owners, but it’s something that should be taken into account while you build your authority by earning links.
If you’re not sure about the quality of your backlinks, the MozBar Chrome extension is a great tool to gauge the strength of your backlinks according to what Google values most. So, when you’re analyzing a web page, you can see how well it utilizes the major search engine ranking factors (authority, trust, relevance, etc.).
Boost Your Online Presence Today
Businesses that don’t rank well in local searches run the risk of losing potential customers and eventually going out of business. Local search is a complex type of search and it is hard to be successful with it on your own. For this reason, hiring an SEO company like Boostability to promote your online presence is essential.
At Boostability, we are a full-service search engine optimization company focused on helping small to large business owners gain local visibility online. From link building to local search engine optimization, our team is experienced in many different areas. You can start by claiming a free website analysis and receive a personalized SEO strategy that will deliver results. Learn more today about growing your small business SEO services to their fullest potential.