With Google’s Pigeon update in 2014, local SEO to a great extent has turned into general or non-local SEO. Ranking signals such as links and content have a crucial role in a site’s local rankings. Going back to last year, Possum made things tricky with various SERPs returned in response to very little variations in search queries. After a careful look at research done by Local SEO Guide, below are some factors that are significant for local rankings in Google.
1. Verified Owner
Starting with Google, ‘My Business’ page is quite easy; however, the process can be tricky. To keep things going the right way, it is important to get the following things right during the setup process:
Write a lengthy, elaborate and unique business description
Be specific in choosing the categories
Provide correct and up-to-date details and double check information such as business name, phone number, address, accepted payment methods, etc
Upload at least 5 photos
2. Google Reviews
Be it any business, its number of business Google reviews have the highest correlation with rankings.
To get reviews on the business page, it is good to have at least five of them. Once you have them, do everything that grows these numbers and improves local rankings.
Here are some suggestions to attract more Google reviews:
Carefully read and understand Google’s guidelines for reviews
Ask your customers to write reviews for you. To do this, hand out leaflets, ask customers in person when they visit to pay the bill and print out a QR code on the receipts or business cards. Other ways include:
Sending follow-up emails and ask them for reviews gently
Encouraging customers to write reviews on your social media posts
Asking clients to review your business and write the review
Giving them a link to your Google My Business page
Giving them a direct link to the review form for easy and quick reviews
Setting up a reviews landing page
Reply to negative reviews:Always respond to unhappy customers as early as possible. This will allow you to dig into their problems and fix them, which will make you win their loyalty. Also, it will make them feel valued.
Number of photos on the business page matters a lot to Google. If you are confused about what kinds of photos to upload, take a look at some useful ideas:
Customers are interested to know about the place they are visiting. Hence, post photos of your location, your parking lot, retail area and business building
To add a personal touch to the business page, upload a picture of yourself on the work premises
Put photos of your team members
Take picture of your customers and post them (after taking their permission)
Show off your products or services
4. Number of linking domains
Number of domains, C-blocks link and IPs of a website strongly correlate with the local rankings. Hence, link building for local SEO is quite important. To start with it the right way, download SEO Power Suite and fire up its Backlinks tool, SEO Spyglass. Summary module of the app will show the number of domains, C-blocks link and IPs. Besides, the Domain Comparison module will help you to add maximum of 10 competitors in order to compare your link with them. Talking about Inside Domain Comparison, switch to Link Intersection and jump to the Potential Linking Domains tab so as to view the domains that link to the sites of your competitors but not yours. You will be surprised to know that this is the best place for best linking opportunities. It is good to look for sites that link to multiple of your competitors as there are chances of them to link to you.
You can use SEO Power Suite’s Link Assistant for outreach and other ways of finding link building opportunities. Not only it will let you find link prospects using 10 methods but also assist in reaching out to them directly from the app via built-in email client.
5. Link quality
A number of Backlinks quality factors relate with local ranks, including Google Page Rank. The best way to measure quality and authority of a Backlinks page is SEO Power Suite’s InLink Rank that’s available in SEO Spyglass. Here, the calculation is based off the original Page Rank formula and shows the potential SEO value of each & every Backlinks page and domain. Open your SEO Spyglass project, go to Backlinks, switch to the InLink Rank tab and see the InLink Rank of your links.Select your Backlinks and select theUpdate InLink Rank button.
6. Anchor text optimization
It has been observed that the number of Backlinks with the city name in anchor text and their proportion in the link profile of the site has a strong relation with local Google ranks. Apart from this, presence of target keywords in the anchor text also have their role; however, not that prominent. Location-optimized anchors have no ideal percentage; therefore, it is good to analyze the competitors. You will be glad to know that this can be done with the help of SEO Spyglass as well. For this, create a project for your top competitors and visit Summary for stats on their links. Make sure to be attentive towards anchor text diversity, anchor cloud and top anchors by Backlinks. Doing so will give an idea about which and how many anchors can be used in the link building campaign.
7. Word count
As per studies, longer content ranks better organically; hence, the fact that word count plays an important part shouldn’t come as a surprise. Elusive concept of ideal content length varies from niche to niche. Hence, you must look at pages that rank well for the keywords you are targeting. SEO Power Suite’s Website Auditor saves you from doing this manually. Its Content Analysis module analyzes the page and looks at the top 10 ranking pages for the specified keyword. This app estimates an optimal word count range for the content of the page depending on the competitors. You can look at the word count in the body; if the content falls in this optimal range, a green Correct sign next to this factor will be seen.
8. Keyword occurrences
As Google now tries to figure out what the web pages are about and not focuses only on the keywords, ranking algorithms have turned highly sophisticated. However, this doesn’t mean that keywords don’t matter anymore. They do matter, local SEO included. Keywords in the content and HTML tags help to rank in the local pack.
To keep things on track, you must remember that things are not that easy in 2017. Content quality and comprehensiveness have become more important. Website Auditor comes with a handy TF-IDF dashboard that gives a list of concepts that if included on the page increases relevance.
It has been an assumption that using city and state name in the title tags, URLs and copy help to rank in those particular studies. However, studies show that there is no statistical correlation with this tactic and local Google ranks.
9. Total reviews
Google loves reviews like anything. Not only Google reviews but it welcomes every type of review.Total reviews of the business are less important than Google ranking as far as local rankings are concerned. However, growing the total number of reviews on popular platforms like Yelp gives significant ranking shift in the Map as well as the local pack.
Local SEO Guide has found that the number of citations have hardly any correlation with local rankings. However, thinking about it makes sense. Being a kind of a commodity in itself, citation hardly serves as a differentiator between businesses in competitive niches.
It is useful to know that citation consistency serves as the key factor to get into the local pack.Therefore, citations need to be done in the local and niche directories. Clean them and head on to factors that matter the most.
So, these are the top 10 local ranking factors worth optimizing for. Remember that focusing only on citations and not investing in linking building and on-page SEO will put you at competitive disadvantage.