Top 8 Ranking Factors for Local SEO
Local SEO is getting more complicated due to the fact that only three listings show up in the search results, and also because of ads competing for the local space. The environment is highly competitive, so in order to have a decent ranking, you have to be spot on with your SEO. Second rate just won’t do.
In order to excel at local SEO, you need to know which factors are most important. In this post, we are going to take a look at 8 factors Google pays most attention to, and what you can do to get your listing to the top – where it deserves to be!
1. On-Page Signals (20.3%)
On-page signals have to do with how relevant your services or products are for the user. “Relevancy” can be broken down into two areas: services and geography.
Be sure that you clearly indicate what services you provide and the locations that you provide them in. The more clear and concise you are, the better. A person who has to question what you do or what locations you have will probably move on.
Also take the time to complete all of your on-page local SEO elements:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags
- Page content
- Name, address, phone number (NAP)
2. Link Signals (20%)
Link signals are one of the main ways that your website builds authority. For local SEO, link signals don’t matter quite as much, as we’ve seen websites be successful with barely any links. This is because location and other factors matter more. However, you don’t want to overlook links completely because they still make a difference.
Some of the links you can work toward include:
- Location-specific links: Links from credible resources that are relevant to your location
- Industry-specific links: Links from sites that are relevant to your industry
- Authority links: Links from authoritative sources
3. My Business Signals (14.7%)
It’s imperative that your Google My Business page is filled out correctly and is consistent with your other profiles. Aside from filling out your NAP, categories and description, also select a high-quality cover photo and any other relevant photos. Add in a special offer for customers as well as a clear CTA. Work on gathering reviews of your business, and reply to all of them – even the bad ones.
4. External Location Signals (13.6%)
Google wants to validate the information on your business with other materials on the web. This is why it’s very important to have consistent information among the various business directories like Yelp and the Yellow Pages. Pay the most attention to your NAP. It’s crucial that this “digital footprint” is the same across the board.
5. Behavioral Signals (9.5%)
You should have your SEO basics figured out if you want to see your local business rank well. Google is looking more at click-throughs from the search results. Write to people – not the search engines – and optimize your page titles and meta descriptions for your audience.
6. Personalization (8.5%)
Individual users always respond better when they are shown ads that are personal to their needs. You can’t exactly personalize local SEO on its own, but you can use it in combination with pay per click, display or offline advertisements.
7. Review Signals (8.4%)
Reviews are very helpful in boosting rankings. It could help with engagement. It could help with positioning. It could help with both. All we know is that you should encourage reviews so that you can reap the rewards.
It’s possible that not all reviews will be good, but respond to all of them. People will be looking to see how you handle customers with issues, and this can make all the difference in whether they choose you or not.
8. Social Signals (5%)
Social signals seem to have the smallest impact on local SEO, but they still have one. Social signals add credibility, so take the time to link to and from your site and build up your brand profiles.
Local SEO can get confusing, but it’s essential to your overall marketing strategy, particularly if you are a local business trying to increase foot traffic. Since local SEO is getting more competitive, it’s vital that you prioritize where you need to, resolve potential issues and understand your competition.