In the world of SEO, the local results have been a wellspring of salvation for some local organisations. Having a physical location and proximity to the searcher as ranking components gave each local business a potential shot at pulling clients from search engines. However, Google has recently squeezed lemon in the milk by slashing the size of the local pack, now only 3 businesses are shown in the SERPs.
This signifies that in 2016, local results will be a furious battleground in the organic and paid listings. Results can change on a daily basisâ€” and to be in the best shape, you must give careful consideration to the fine details and other essential elements.
We are all aware of the fact that Google My Business, citations, and local search engine marketing of your website are the most essential and integral aspects. However, search engines utilise a great number of signals to identify final positioning. Of course, these big signals are vital enough to outrank any competition, it is good to delve deeper and bring out the real gem.
Here is a quick breakdown of the ranking factors that play an essential role:
- Overall ranking factors
- Local pack ranking factors
- Localised organic ranking factors
- Negative ranking factors
- Competitive ranking factors
Overall ranking factors
- On-page signals- Yes, as always, it is the most essential factor when it comes to SEO. You need to include the area or location of your business in order to help your user to find you. In fact, it would be much betterif you include this information through the websites in each element from title tags, Meta descriptions, page content, image, and NAP (Name, address and phone) on every page for better local visibility. However, you need to sensibly include the keywords for better understanding of the users rather than making it iterative.
- Link signals – Domain-level as well as page-level link signals are the most dominant factors in driving good ranks. These are highly important to show the credibility of the website. Therefore obtaining location-specific, industry-specific or quality links from any authoritative site is the best part of SEO.
- My Business Signals – Optimising your Google My Business page is highly important to gain local prominence. However, you must create it cautiously by providing the most relevant information.
- External location signals – Google wants to analyse as well as verify the address (NAP) or other business-specific information on your website with the information on Google My Business. Therefore, you must exercise professionalism and consistency in your work.
- Behavioural signals â€“You must include the local address or information everywhere from page titles, Meta descriptions, to Schema review markup, because these are the important factors that add value to your online business.
- Personalisation – The results are personalised for individual users based around what they are searching for. In this way, your site will become more useful.
- Review signals – Obtain reviews, and you will reap substantial ranking benefits. In fact, it can have positive impact on the search results.
- Social signals â€“ Yes, they can contribute a lot therefore; it is good to optimise your business descriptions present on different social channels.
Local pack ranking factors
These factors are quite vital and influence your Google SERPs. In fact, it is the most valuable non-PPC asset on the screen. So it is better to provide relevant information on the websites.
- Address in city of search â€“If you are targeting a specific city, then consider moving your business there or try to obtain a satellite office at that location.
- Citation consistency â€“ Yes, your citations need to be consistent across the web.
- Google categories â€“ Always make sure that your business has the correct category. Incorrect category may lead to a complete disaster and your website will struggle to rank.
- Authority of the structured citations – You must have a business listing on all important /credible citation sources for better credibility.
- Domain authority â€“ Yes, of course, domain-level and page-level links are still the biggest factors when it comes to website rankings.
- Keywords in Google My Business – Business title – If your business name includes the service keyword, then you can achieve something better than expected.
- Match NAP – External location signals or websites must match the address signals on the website. It may create a huge difference and help your website to grow forward.
Localised organic ranking factors
These rankings factors are still important and may influence by the location factors. Therefore, it is vital to focus on:
- Domain authority – Domain authority is determined by the total number of links that point to your site. So you must create a platform that can be used for earning link from highly trustworthy sources.
- Quality of the inbound links – The number as well as the quality of those links from external sources are the real co-factors in the overall domain authority.
- Keyword relevance of domain â€“ This means your site should be relevant to the service as well as consistent to the topic.
- Geographic keyword relevance – If you focus on a given location say London, then you should talk about London within your content in order to sound it natural and specific.
- City/state in the title tag- This technique works better when single-location businesses are concerned.
Negative ranking factors
This is simple to understand, if your business is listed in the wrong category, then it will cause damage to the credibility of the site. In fact, if the business address is false and your NAP is a mismatch, then also it will negatively impact your SEO. Therefore, it is important to address such issues and fix them ASAP before they hit back.
Competitive ranking factors
If you have done everything legitimately, but still your website is struggling to rank well, then you must look to the basics of achieving quality links. It is the single most differentiating factor and may fuel your engines of success.
Of course, ranking your business in the local SERPs is one of the toughest things, but through focused strategies and approaches you can achieve visibility locally. Today, it is becoming increasingly evident that through refined link building approaches online businesses can achieve long-term growth and profitability.