30 Dec What You Need to Know About Local SEO From 2016
You know when you are out and about looking for something, say a pizza place, and you google search ‘pizza place (your city name)’?You’ll get a page that looks like the one below…
As you can see, it conveniently offers you pizza restaurants closest to you. As a business owner, this is where you want to be; right in the local search results. By being there, you are going to gain more customers from the massive amount of online consumers who google search their shopping activities every day. You can catch customers as they are out and about, ready to buy.
Wondering how you can get into those coveted local search result spots?
You’re not alone. Let’s look at what happened to local SEO in 2016 and the actionable tips on how to improve your local SEO going forward.
What’s New With Local SEO in 2016
Google is always trying to improve the quality of their search results in order to keep visitors coming back. Local SEO is an area that they have been focused on for some time now. Recently, getting listed in the local search results has become a lot harder due to Google lowering the number of local results listings from 7 to 3. So for every local query you will only get to see 3 local businesses, as you can see in the image above, as opposed to the previous 7.
This means more competition of course.
The next point to note is the correlation between SEO and mobile. This year has shown us that you need to go mobile with your website or go home. Consider the fact that users looking for local businesses are usually on-the-go and using their mobile devices.
It is also worth noting that just a couple of years ago, there weren’t many local businesses taking advantage of Google My Business (GMB). But 2016 saw more businesses optimizing for local search and using local SEO as one of their main marketing strategies. This has raised the amount of competition for those few spots.
So how are local results ranked anyway?
How are Local Results Ranked?
Local SEO Guide conducted a study of 30,000 local businesses in order to figure out how Google ranks local businesses. Here’s what the study found out:
- Traditional website signals will continue to make an impact on the GMB ranking of a business website. Keyword usage and word length still matter. Using keywords and lengthening the content leads to a better ranking.
- The study also shows that if a business’s website has a high ranking when it comes to organic search, then it is highly likely that it will rank well in local SEO as well.
- Locations that have a ton of reviews get ranked higher, so that means you need to encourage past customers to post reviews.
- Aside from reviews, other traditional website signals such as uploading photos of the business and having an owner-verified profile gives your local business an edge over your competitors for online traffic.
- The study also found out that having a keyword placed in your GMB page’s business name will make you rank 1.5 spots higher. However, the practice of including the state and city in <title> tags is no longer relevant, as geo text is no longer considered when Google ranks local businesses.
Now lets take a deeper look into what you can do to improve local SEO.
How to Improve Your Local SEO
You need to make sure that your GMB page is fully optimized.
Make sure that everything on your GMB page is accurate, up-to-date, and most importantly, follows Google’s guidelines. Also verify that there are no duplicate pages, as these could seriously undermine your efforts. If you come across one, make sure to notify Google in order to have it removed.
Next, make sure to use the correct business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation. Also ensure that your business is listed in the right category. For example, you have a greater chance to rank for “destination wedding photographer” rather than the generic “photographer.”
You need to get reviews
As I have already mentioned, reviews have served as a major pillar for local SEO in 2016. These days, Google considers a review (whether positive or negative) as a signal of popularity. Make sure to get your business listed in directories and get as many reviews as possible on platforms such as Yelp!, Facebook, Trip Advisor, Angie’s List, BBB, Yahoo Local, etc.
There are also industry sites that are specific to doctors, dentists, lawyers, and contractors for example. These can be helpful as well. They will boost your local SEO rankings and increase your authority within your industry.
When soliciting for reviews, make it easy for your customers to leave the review and make sure that the customer reviews follow Google’s guidelines.
You need to have a great mobile-friendly website
As mobile is a huge factor in local rankings, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. The question is not whether or not your local business can be seen from a smartphone; it’s whether you have a competent and efficient mobile website.
If your mobile website is not backed by a great user interface and mobile-focused content, then prepare to be taken over in the local SEO rankings by your competition.
You need to create separate location pages
If you own a multi-location business, make sure to have a dedicated webpage for each particular location. Create exclusive content for each location to improve on SEO as well.
Having an effective local SEO strategy will help your business draw in more customers. In order to get started and to get ahead of your competition, you can hire a reliable and trustworthy SEO agency, such as Boostability, who are experts in optimizing for local. By doing so, you can strengthen your local web presence and generate more income for your business. Integrate these tips into your marketing strategy and you will be able to end 2016 on the right path.