9 Local Ranking Factors To Improve Your Local Business SEO

Local Ranking Factors

Local SEO is by far the most important element for businesses trying to draw people to physical locations, but running a local SEO campaign is different from running a normal one. Therefore, the rules for this change faster than any other area.

Today, I’m going to show you some things that you can do to improve Google’s understanding of your location. Once you’ve implemented these local ranking factors, you’ll have a much better chance of appearing towards the top of the search results when you start running your content campaigns.

1) Start With Your Address

You can’t just have an address. You need to display it in the right way for search engines to actually notice it. The best way to do this is to use schema.org, adding the LocalBusiness tags to your address details.

You can also use JSON-LD if you’d prefer to, it’s also what we generally prefer for all parts of your site because it has a more readable format where it uses {} for objects, [] for arrays, which makes things much more lightweight.

Local Ranking Factors

Using JSON-LD will result in faster processing and transmission.

Schema – like most bits of programming, entering the tags wrong could completely screw up the results. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about this because SEOPressor includes a function that makes it easy to add the correct Schema tags to your site.

2) Google My Business

Local Ranking Factors

On a fairly literal level, you can’t rank well in local Google searches unless you have a Google My Business listing. Now, this is something you should take care of as soon as possible. It can take some time to get things processed as they confirm both the existence of the business and your ownership of it, so the sooner you start, the better.

Google My Business also allows customer reviews, which you should try to get some of those for your listing. Don’t hesitate to send messages out to your mailing list, especially to customers that have been the most active and talkative. Try to keep the conversations going by responding to reviews.

If they’re positive, be appreciative. If they’re negative, thank them for pointing out an issue and try to cite a change you’ve made to help stop a repeat of whatever problem they had. At all times, try to be friendly instead of a salesperson. People who read reviews tend to react more favorably towards businesses that seem friendly, personable, and professional. Don’t forget this, you’re not just talking to the reviewer, you’re talking to everyone who might read that review.

3) Match Your NAP On Your Website With Google My Business NAP

Your website’s NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) should be identical on your website and on every service you have it listed with including Google My Business. Now, when I say identical, I mean it.

Local Ranking Factors

If something is shortened in one place such as St. vs Street, it should be shortened everywhere.

The point of this is to ensure that Google makes the right connection between the information on it has your business and the website you’re using. You should also include your main address on every page of your site. Most businesses like to put it either at the very top (usually towards the middle, since the upper right is reserved for contact and shopping carts) or at the very bottom (typically the lower left).

4) Facebook Listing and Reviews

Facebook listings can also help you in local search results since a presence on social media is one of the things that search engines check for. You don’t have to constantly update your social media pages although that can be worthwhile local SEO campaign all on its own, you do want the pages themselves to exist.

Essentially, the more places that say “yes, this business exists, and here’s the address”, the more trusted it will be as a result.

Local Ranking Factors

Incidentally, Facebook also allows reviews of businesses, so you should try to get a few there as well.

This is generally good policy. The more positive reviews your business has across the web, the better those reviews are associated with you, and the better your local SEO results are going to be. Search engines tend to value these kinds of social signals, so it really does help to have as many as you can get.

5) City and State In The Title

This is a nice, simple one. Add your city and state to the title of your website. This will both remind Google that you’re located in a given area and show up in local search results. When people are looking for a type of store in a specific area, seeing that area in the website’s title will encourage them to pay more attention to the rest of the listing, encouraging them to click through.

6) Local Directories Help Your Local Ranking

Local Ranking Factors

Adding your business to local directories like Yelp can help further cement your status as a business that’s worth ranking in search results. And remember, there are customers who use such services. The basic rule of advertising is to be where your customers are, so it’s worth the few minutes that each directory submission is likely to take.

Now, some areas have more directories than others. The more populated your region is, the more directories you’ll probably be able to submit yourself to. Get your web team to work and have them find the most important local directories to get your details on to.

And by details, I mean real information about your business. Don’t just provide your name, your address, and a link to your site. Provide real details about your business, especially those that would appeal to the kind of person each directory is for.

7) Get Links From Related, Local Businesses

This is one of the most involved ways of improving your local business SEO, but it can also be one of the most powerful. Essentially, you want to be cited by other companies in your area, especially if you have a cooperative relationship instead of a competitive one. Let’s take a look at how this can work in practice.

When people are getting ready to sell a home, they often make use of a Realtor and that person will tell them what they need to do to get the best selling price. This could include things like having the walls painted, installing new carpeting, getting windows replaced, or having new appliances sold and these are opportunities to not just get mentioned in person, but to have a list of partner companies that people can be referred to.

Many businesses like to offer special discounts to people their partner refers to them. After all, a referral to someone else usually means the business will be lost, so slightly smaller sales are better than no sale at all. It also makes customers more likely to buy, especially if they worry they’ll have to pay a higher price if they reach out some other way and makes them feel like they’re getting a good deal from you.

Every potential need a customer has is an opportunity to form relationships with related local businesses, creating a network that supports itself by keeping customers within it as much as possible. Even if you think you’re not the kind of business that could take advantage of this, look around and see what your options are. You might just find that you have more opportunities than you ever imagine.

8) Social Mentions

Local Ranking Factors

This is a little harder to build up whenever you want, mostly because you can’t entirely control what other people are talking about. That said, people tend to talk about business, new developments, and products they’ve purchased on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Search engines absolutely notice positive or negative comments that are being made about you, especially because most of these comments are public to anyone who’s looking for them and they’ll be taken into account when deciding how to rank you.

Fortunately, you can influence the tone of comments people make. This comes into play on two levels. First, and most obviously, you want to be the kind of company that people are positive about. Make good products, offer good customer service, that sort of thing. At the same time, though, you can actively get involved in these conversations and engage with people talking about your business.

The right tone to use can be a little tricky to pull off, but at the heart of it, remember that social media is fundamentally social in nature. You don’t want to sound like a business that’s desperate for every sale. Instead, try to add real value to each conversation by directly addressing the subject, responding to concerns, thanking people for compliments, and generally being the kind of company people want to have in their conversations.

9) Optimize Your Content For Better Local Rankings

You’d be amazed at how many sites forget this part of SEO for local business. On a very fundamental level, Google won’t rank you for keywords you don’t have. If you’re located in a given city, you must absolutely mention that in your content. Similarly, you’ll need to figure out what local keywords people are actually using and make sure you have at least one piece of content targeting each of those.

Local Ranking Factors

It’s best to do some keyword research on Google Keyword Planner to further optimize your website.

Now, as our more experienced readers know, the volume isn’t everything for search terms. It’s just the start. The most valuable terms tend to be medium- and long-tail keywords that have decent search volume and little competition. A ‘popular’ search term may have more people seeing it, but it will also be much harder to rank on. Instead, it’s best to try and rank well for many other terms and when your website has grown enough, you might naturally start to appear in the most popular and valuable searches.

Let’s Get Down To Business

All of these things are the groundwork for your success in local SEO. Trying to run a good campaign without them probably isn’t going to work. But at the same time, doing these things without a strong content campaign to back it up won’t work, either.

Ultimately, SEO is something that’s more than simply the sum of its parts and you need as many of those parts as possible. Fortunately, most of the things we’ve discussed here can be implemented with just a few days of work, and that’s including the time it will take to get properly listed on Google My Business.

Further helping this is the fact that most of these (aside from the social media interactions) are largely set-and-forget things. Schema tags will remain on your site, your address will stay in directories, and you’re probably not going to change your city and state anytime soon.

Once you’ve implemented everything discussed here, RankReveal can help you take the next step by showing you which keywords you’re ranking for, including giving you an idea to manage your content.

If you’d like to have better controls to help crawlers scan and index your website the way you want them to, try SEOPressor.

The success of your business is too important to leave to chance, and in today’s competitive market, you need every advantage you can get. Remember, local SEO is a long-term strategy. You’re likely to go several months between when you start and when you first start seeing real results, so the sooner you begin – and the stronger the base you have to work from – the better off you’re going to be.

Updated: 17/6/17


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