Your website search engine rankings are a major factor, if not the most important, when it comes to building a strong digital marketing strategy. A big part of your digital strategy starts with your website and search engine optimization techniques. However, to ensure your website is ranking as high as possible, you should also consider local SEO solutions.
According to marketing automation provider, Emma, local search queries account for 35 percent of all search traffic. Local search results are ranked by Google based on searchers’ location and IP address. Even searches that don’t necessarily include the phrase “near me” receive rankings off of the searcher’s location.
So, as a savvy business owner, what can you do to rank high and stand out from the rest of the blue links on Google? To help you strengthen your SEO strategy, we’ve put together eight things you need to know about local SEO solutions!
1. Local SEO is not the same as traditional SEO
Local SEO focuses on helping your website rank higher for location-based searches. Many local searches are queries searching for businesses or services, such as “pizza near me,” “denver marketing firms” or “McDonalds.” Google recognizes that users are looking for a business and provides results with a larger focus on location. Most often, these results will show businesses that Google believes are relevant to the search and are within a short distance from the user.
Traditional SEO, on the other hand, helps your website rank higher by optimizing its performance and the strategic placement of keywords within your website’s content. Many times, these searches are for terms that are not location-based, but rather are for phrases such as “inbound marketing tips,” “SEO best practices” or “growing social audience.” These types of searches don’t necessarily need results from businesses that are nearby, which is why Google focuses more on the content itself when it comes to these rankings.
2. Listing consistency is key
One of the most important factors of local SEO solutions is consistency of information. This means that each of your listings on business directories (e.g., Google, Yelp, etc.) should contain identical, accurate information, specifically your NAP information, or Name, Address and Phone number.
Inconsistent listings is one of the most popular local SEO issues. Not only can an incorrect listing give consumers inaccurate information about your business (aka lost sales), but it also hurts your ranking because the various listings are competing against one another.
3. Local SEO solutions drive traffic
A major benefit of ranking well for local SEO is that high ranking businesses drive traffic to both your website and physical location by providing all of your contact information in one place, including:
- A direct link to your website
- A link to call your directly from the search results
- A link to get directions in the maps app
According to HubSpot, this is because most local searches (50%) are looking for a business address. In fact, HubSpot also found that 50 percent of people who completed a local search on their desktop or mobile device visited a physical store within a day.
4. Your online ratings and reviews matter
First and foremost, reviews matter when it comes to knowing if your current customers are satisfied, but it also matters for your local search rankings. In a survey, Shopify found that 90 percent of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online ratings and reviews.
When it comes to your search rankings, Google also takes ratings into account. Your ranking score, according to Moz, is made up of several factors, and reviews account for approximately ten percent. Like web searchers, Google looks at the average of your ratings and total number of reviews. Are you getting more four- and five-star ratings? You’ll probably rank higher. Do you have more total reviews than your competitors? You’ll probably rank higher for that too.
5. Google crawls menus and product/service lists for keywords
If you’re a restaurant owner, chances are you have your menu on your website. If not, you may have a list of your products and services. Menus associated with your Google My Business account can also affect your rankings in local search results. Over recent years, Google has begun crawling business menus and products/services lists for keywords, and when optimized, they can help your business rank higher.
With your menu or list of products and services displaying on Google search results, not only can customers view your business offerings, but you will also boost your SEO by ranking for specific key terms within your menu and lists.
6. The Google Snack Pack gets the most traffic
Google search results have changed over the past decade. In fact, the goal has moved far beyond simply showing up on the first page of Google. Many years ago, Google displayed search results as the top ten blue links. It then updated to show the top seven (aka lucky seven). In 2014, Google reduced this number to the top 3 results, or Google Snack Pack.
According to Vendasta, the top three results are generally those that Google deems most relevant to the search and most useful to the searcher, but there are many factors that affect Google’s choice.
7. Google craves fresh content
If there’s one thing search engines loves, it’s fresh content to crawl for SEO. Many SEO experts, including SEO Site Checkup, believe that consistently posting new content to your website not only helps you attract an audience, but it also improves your search rankings. This applies not only to blogs and website content, but also your social media and Google My Business listing.
Google’s tendency to favor websites that are consistently adding fresh content is evident in its recent update, allowing Google My Business users to post social messages to their Google My Business page.
8. It’s more than just Google, Facebook and Yelp
There are more than 100 online business directories on the web, and each and every single one of them affects your local rankings, regardless of how popular or frequently used the directory is. However, this isn’t always an easy task. The biggest challenge is ensuring your listing information is consistent across all of them.
Not only can it be hard to track down all of the business directories, but it’s also a time consuming process. Plus, once you get a listing’s information corrected, there is no guarantee that the listing can’t be changed to display incorrect information (read more on that here).
So how can you ensure that all of your content is consistent across all online business directories and can’t be changed? As a certified Yext partner, we can help your business reap the benefits of local SEO solutions and ensure your listings can’t be changed to display inaccurate information.
See how your business is ranking today with a FREE LISTINGS ANALYSIS.