Five simple things you can do rank better for local search
Local SEO has been a mystery for many traditional Search Engine Optimization experts over the years when compared with conventional SEO. Local search results are rarely the same as organic results. There is, however, among local SEO experts some clear consensus on how businesses can optimize their listings to rank well in local search results. In June, David Mihm published his 3rd volume report entitled Local Search Ranking Factors. In this comprehensive report, local SEO experts evaluated more than 50 factors that are thought to have varying impact on regional search rankings. These factors are in many ways opposites compared to the factors that drive traditional SEO. In this post, I will highlight five of the most critical local SEO factors that every local business should implement to start seeing positive local search ranking improvements.
1. Claiming your place page or local listing
Yes, surprisingly, just the very act of declaring your local listing from the search results appears to have the local search engine optimization expert consensus as for the most important factor for ranking well. Local SEO experts insist that until you claim your place page or local listing, you have little to no control as to how your business will rank.
Consistency is a huge factor with local SEO. If Google or any of the other search engines continuously find conflicting information about your local business, how can they justify ranking your site high? This local SEO factor makes sense. If searchers can’t find your correct location or your phone number then why should your business rank high in local search results? Get your listing info accurate and make sure your address is correct across your website. Ask that inaccurate info be removed from third party sites on the web.
Citations are comparable to links in Organic SEO. In local search engine optimization you have to understand that the search engines don’t put a lot of weight in what you say about yourself. Local search is driven by what others are saying about you. Are you a Sushi Restaurant that everybody gets food poisoning at? Chances are that you will be ranked low compared to other Sushi Restaurants where people enjoy eating. If you know you offer local goods or services that your customers appreciate, ask them to write a positive review on a site like Yelp.com or Citysearch.com. The more of these positive reviews you receive from your customers on a variety of sites, the more you will see a positive impact on your local rankings.
Though traditional organic search is primarily driven by keywords, local SEO is driven by categories. It appears to be extremely important to the search engines that you choose the correct category to list your business in. Some would go as far as saying that once you choose to put your business in the wrong category, you have severely crippled your potential to rank high for your targeted keywords. Don’t just pick a category at first glance, spend the time honing in on a category that accurately reflects your business. Getting this simple local SEO practice right from the start can save you lots of hassles in the future when you refine your local search engine optimization.
5. City Specific
This one is a no brainer in many ways, but it must be said. The location of your business factors heavily into how you will be ranked in local search. If Google sees you as being 200 miles away from where the searcher is searching, can they in all fairness show your business as a local search result? So be sure to set your expectations properly with local SEO. You can’t expect your hair salon in San Diego to rank under Los Angele’s hair salons. If you desire for business to rank high for locations that aren’t technically local you might want to consider optimizing your website using traditional SEO practices.
Addressing all five of these local SEO factors thoroughly should have your business on its way to significant local business listings ranking improvements. These improvements will not only increase your internet traffic, but also your foot traffic.