Local SEO Ranking Factors You Should Know
Updated: Sep 1
Is your local business getting buried in online search results due to the lack of a strong local SEO presence? You’re not alone. Many companies – from small businesses to large enterprises – struggle to get local search visibility on the web.
But if you think about it, it only makes sense that local businesses get the short shrift when it comes to organic search engine rankings. After all, why would a national search query lead users to a store down the street? That’s why you need to understand how Google’s algorithms incorporate local ranking factors into their calculations.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at key ranking signals for local businesses. We’ll explain what each of these factors mean for your site and how you can effectively use them to improve your SEO rankings.
What Makes Local SEO Different?
When it comes to search engine optimization, local SEO is a unique beast. Unlike traditional SEO, local SEO focuses on optimizing for searches that occur in a specific geographic area. The goal is for locals to be able to easily find information about your business when making location-based search queries.
Understanding the importance of local SEO ranking factors
The significance of local SEO ranking factors cannot be overstated. In today's digital landscape, where countless businesses fight for attention, these factors determine how easily your business is discovered by potential customers in your area. They shape your online visibility, influencing whether your business pops up on the first page of search results or gets buried.
Local SEO ranking factors optimize your chances of standing out, attracting local customers, and establishing a strong presence within your community. By meticulously addressing these factors, you not only improve your search engine rankings but also create a bridge between your business and those seeking your products or services nearby.
11 local ranking factors you should know
1. Google Business Profile
The impact of your Google Business Profile on local search rankings cannot be overstated. Ensuring that your business information is accurate and consistent across platforms while actively engaging with your audience through regular posts and interactions can yield tangible benefits for your local SEO efforts.
This consistency and engagement signal to search engines that your business is relevant, trustworthy, and actively involved with the local community. Consequently, it can lead to higher rankings in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find and connect with your business.
2. Bing Places for Business
To achieve favorablee rankings in Bing Places for Business, start by claiming and verifying your business listing. This establishes you as the official owner. Next, optimize the listing by ensuring consistent business information, using keyword-rich descriptions, selecting relevant categories, and adding high-quality photos.
Engage with your audience through posts, review responses, and Q&A to build trust and credibility. Providing essential details like business attributes and website URLs further enhances your local visibility. By diligently managing your Bing Places for Business profile, you can secure higher rankings in Bing search results and establish your business as a reliable and active presence in the local community.
3. Social media business profiles
Social media profiles on platforms like Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter) can support your local SEO to an extent. These profiles allow you to optimize your business information and engage with customers.
Fill out your business profile completely, including: • Business name, address, phone number
• Business category
• Business hours
• High-quality photos of your business
• Posts about your business, services, promotions, events, etc. to increase engagement.
Steps to optimize your Twitter profile include: • Use your business name as your Twitter handle
• Complete your profile with business name, address, phone number, category, and hours
• Post tweets about your business, share blog posts, announce promotions and events
• Engage with customers by replying to their tweets and messages
4. Structured data markup
Integrating structured data markup on your website is crucial. This involves adding semantic tags to your HTML, providing additional information to search engines about your business. Implementing structured data markup offers various benefits, such as improving click-through rates and local pack rankings. Here's how to optimize it:
• Schema.org vocabulary: Google, Bing, and Yandex recommend Schema.org vocabulary for structured data. Utilize the LocalBusiness schema to describe your company and locations accurately.
• Location and contact info: Include your business's address, phone number, business hours, and geospatial coordinates in the LocalBusiness schema. This ensures accurate location confirmation for better local rankings and map listings.
• Business type: Specify your business category using appropriate Schema.org types, like AutomotiveBusiness or FoodEstablishment. Clear categorization helps search engines understand your services better.
• Reviews and ratings: Add aggregate review ratings and review counts from platforms like Google and Yelp in your schema markup. Demonstrating your reputation enhances local SEO for both search engines and users.
By optimizing structured data, you can increase your local online visibility and drive more traffic to your business.
5. On-page content
On-page optimization involves optimizing various elements within your website to enhance local rankings. Key factors to consider are:
• Keyword usage: Strategically incorporate target keywords, related terms, and synonyms across your website's content, page titles, URLs, headings, meta descriptions, and image alt text. Aim for a keyword density of 1-3% to avoid penalties.
• Local address: Clearly display your business address, phone number, and contact information on the homepage and all location pages. Ensure consistency with your Google Business Profile listing.
• Location pages: Create separate pages for each business location, including the full address, phone number, hours of operation, and a location map. Optimize these pages for local search.
• Internal linking: Establish links between your homepage, location pages, service pages, and blog using target keywords in anchor text. Internal linking helps search engines explore all areas of your website.
• Schema markup:Implement schema.org markup, particularly LocalBusiness schema, to define business details for search engines. This aids search engines in understanding your business type, locations, hours, and more.
• Mobile-friendliness: Given the prevalence of mobile local searches, ensure your website is fully responsive and mobile-friendly. Optimize pages for mobile display to boost local rankings.
By optimizing these on-page factors and consistently monitoring and updating them, you can significantly impact your local search rankings. Search engines will better comprehend your business and locations, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of your local SEO strategy.
6. Citations and online directories
Citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number on other websites, and they play a significant role in local SEO. Here are some insights and top citation sites to focus on:
• Google Business Profile: Claim and optimize your free business listing on Google, as it's one of the most critical local citations.
• Bing Places for Business: Bing's equivalent of Google Business, equally important to claim and optimize.
• Yelp: Claim your free listing on this popular local business review site and encourage customer reviews.
• Facebook: Create a Facebook Business page to boost your local search presence.
• Yellow Pages: Claim or create your business listing on YellowPages.com.
• Citysearch: Another well-known local business directory where you should claim your listing.
• MerchantCircle: Join and create your profile on this extensive local business network.
Having a strong presence on reputable directories enhances your ranking power. Ensure consistency across listings with accurate business details like name, address, phone number, website, and category. Additionally, explore industry-specific directories for relevant links, as they contribute to better rankings.
Building high-quality local citations requires effort, but it is a significant factor in achieving top local search rankings. Invest in claiming, optimizing, and building citations to gain local visibility and authority over time. A long-term strategy that pays off with increased local visibility and customer trust.
7. Reviews & ratings
Authentic customer reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp are pivotal in building business trust and credibility.
It’s important to acknowledge both positive and negative reviews promptly and professionally to demonstrate a customer-centric approach. It’s also a good idea to encourage customers to share their experiences through incentives or organic methods.
This not only generates valuable feedback but also instils trust among potential customers visiting Google Business Profiles. Embracing customer reviews as a valuable resource for insights and improvements fosters a transparent and customer-focused image, bolstering the business's reputation and attracting more clientele.
High-quality links are pivotal in bolstering local SEO efforts, acting as powerful endorsements of a business's credibility and relevance within its local community. These links essentially act as virtual pathways that guide both search engines and potential customers to your website, enhancing your online presence and local visibility. Here's how these links can make a significant impact:
• Authority Amplification: When authoritative local websites link to your content, search engines perceive your website as a valuable resource, potentially leading to higher search rankings. This is especially true if the linking site has strong local relevance and trustworthiness.
• Local Citations: Links from reputable local business directories or online listings validate your business's location information, bolstering your local credibility and making it easier for potential customers to find accurate details.
• Community Connections: Collaborations with local organizations, event participation, or sponsorship can result in backlinks from community-centric websites. These connections not only improve your local SEO but also foster a positive local image.
• User Experience: Quality links direct users to relevant information, enhancing their experience and encouraging them to spend more time on your site. This can reduce bounce rates and improve engagement metrics, which indirectly contribute to SEO rankings.
• Networking and Partnerships: Building relationships with other local businesses can lead to mutual backlinking, broadening your reach and introducing your brand to new audiences.
In the realm of local SEO, the emphasis on relevant, authoritative, and location-specific links cannot be overstated. These links serve as endorsements from the local online community, signaling to both users and search engines that your business is a valuable asset in the area.
Proximity to local searchers significantly influences your business's rankings in local SEO. To optimize for searcher proximity and enhance your online visibility, consider the following:
• Accurately list your business address, contact information, and service area on your website and Google Business profile. Ensure your service area realistically covers locations you can serve to avoid disappointing users outside your range.
• Have a mobile-friendly website to cater to the growing number of local searches on smartphones.
• Build location-based links and citations on directories like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and YellowPages to establish proximity to searchers.
• Ensure consistent and accurate business information across all listings to avoid negative impacts on rankings.
• Optimize your on-page content by incorporating location references in page titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, and content.
• Use localized keywords and phrases relevant to your target customers' search queries.
By addressing these factors, you can provide an optimal user experience for local searchers, strengthening your business's position in local search results and reaping the benefits of improved visibility and rankings.
Remember, Google prioritizes relevance, and being close to local searchers gives you a competitive edge in attracting potential customers in your immediate vicinity.
Consistency is crucial for your audience, specifically in NAP and opening hours. Think about it — nobody wants to go somewhere that claims they're open online, actually to be closed.
NAP encapsulates the essentials of a business's identity: its Name, Address, and Phone number. This seemingly basic trio wields remarkable power as a digital cornerstone determining a business's discoverability and ranking prowess in local search results.
The NAP data acts as a digital breadcrumb trail guiding potential customers to your physical and virtual doorstep. Imagine each component as a thread interwoven into the digital fabric of your business's online presence.
• Name: Your business name should be uniform across all platforms, free from variations or alterations that might confuse search engines or potential customers.
• Address: The physical location serves as a geographical anchor. Consistency in formatting—abbreviations, suite numbers, and punctuation—is pivotal.
• Phone Number: This direct line of communication should remain constant and functional, underscoring reliability.
11. Reviews and ratings
Reviews and ratings hold significant weight as local SEO ranking factors, offering valuable insights into your business and building trust in your brand. To improve local rankings, prioritize authentic reviews from real customers, asking for feedback on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
Monitor review sites regularly and respond promptly to all reviews, expressing gratitude for positive feedback and addressing negative comments professionally and courteously. Unanswered negative reviews can harm your reputation and rankings. The keywords used in reviews also impact local SEO, signaling relevance to search engines.
Cultivating positive reviews, thoughtful responses, and encouraging reviews with business details are impactful ways to optimize local search rankings. Engaging with customers in this manner fosters loyalty and establishes your business as a trusted local brand.
As you've seen, many things affect how well you appear in local searches this year. If you work on the things discussed in this guide, you can improve your chances of appearing at the top when people search for your business in your area. Remember, local SEO is like a journey that never really ends. You must keep watching and improving to stay in a good position in the search results. If you plan well and do things right, you can be more visible when people search for local businesses. This can bring more people to your store, make more people recognize your brand, and increase how much money you make. It's a smart move to start using these good ideas now. This year could be a big success for your business if you follow these steps. So, get going and make the most of these opportunities! For support with your local marketing, consider booking a Mirador demo today.