Everything keeps on changing and so as local search results every year!
After the rolling out of Pigeon algorithm update, not much algorithm changes have been noticed. The Snack Pack changes rolled out in August 2015, where it talked about ‘7 pack’ of local map results reducing to ‘3 pack’ results which indeed has been of a great impact to businesses listed below top three, and has been of a great value to those that rank in top 3. Google has now made the competition harder by reducing the conversion window to half.
Local search ranking factors have also changed drastically over the past few years, making it much more difficult to rank for local search keywords. If you work with local businesses, understanding this changing local SEO environment is crucial.
In the above image, what you see is only three listings of the marketing company in Nainital of Google SERP(search engine result page) as well as in Bing SERP. Before the snack pack rolled out, there were seven listings which were shown to you earlier.
Well, coming back to the point of Local Ranking factors. Recently, Moz did a study where it showed the stats for the ranking factors. The study was carried out by David Mihm. The study talks majorly about two factors, i.e On page signals and Link Signals which affected the most local rankings. The rest are as follows:
There are specific search strategies you can take to help your business (or your client’s business) rank on local search results. Here are some important factors that influence local search visibility that you can start using today to rank higher
If you have a local business and serve mostly local customers, at least add your address and contact no in the right way also, be sure to fill out as much information as you can — including your logo, photos, products, list your office hours, etc. Many businesses don’t realize that Google and Bing give you a FREE page on their search engine. By claiming your business address on Google My Business and Bing Places for Business you will increase the likelihood of showing up in search results when people search for your local business. Your business will show up on any type device and you’ll get exposure on Google Maps, too. Claiming your Google My Business and Bing Places for Business pages requires a few steps. Google provides you some great tips on how to claim and optimize your Google My Business listing. Bing also makes it super simple to claim your listing. The owner of the business must claim the listing however, Bing has set up an agency option for managing clients’ Bing Places for Business listings.
What goes for Google My Business, goes to Facebook as well. Add your company as a page for a local business to Facebook here. People search a lot on Facebook as well, so you’d better make sure your listing on Facebook is in order.
Facebook also allows for reviews, like here for the Apple Store on Fifth Av. Note that this really is a local review, as the Fifth Avenue store scores a 4.6 average rating and the Amsterdam store just scores a 2.9 at the moment.
Online reviews are an important SEO component to ranking higher in search engines. Not only do online reviews correlate with higher local rankings, but positive reviews can also help you get customers. In a recent study by BrightLocal, it was found that 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
Getting reviews on your Google My Business listing is also a HUGE ranking factor – so try and get a solid number of 5-star reviews on Google My Business first. (Google can also show third-party reviews from other review sites in your Google listing, so it’s a good idea to get your customers to leave reviews on a variety of review sites
Google won’t rank your site for a keyword if that keyword isn’t on your website. It’s as simple as that. If your business is in city X, you probably have a reason why you are located there. Write about that reason. And note that these may vary:
These are just random reasons to help you write about your business in relation to your location. They differ (a lot) per company. Make sure your location/city/area is clearly mentioned on your website and not just in your footer at your address details!
Following how directories help your local ranking, it also pays off to exchange a link with related local businesses. If you work together in the same supply chain or sell related products, feel free to exchange links. Don’t just exchange links with any business you know, as these, in most cases, will be low-quality links for your website (because they’re usually unrelated).
Getting backlinks to your site can be a difficult task – but getting links back to your site is crucial to adding validity to your site in the eyes of the search engines. Talk to your local Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau or other complementary local businesses and see if they will link back to your site if you link to theirs.
A citation is any mention of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on other sites. Even if there’s no link pointing to your site, citations are still very valuable as search engines pay attention to mentions of your brand on authority directories like Yelp or Internet Yellow Pages (IYP).
According to Moz Local, “Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.”
Building citations or mentions of your business is also very important for local visibility. When it comes to your business, Google focuses on three components:
Directory citations are a vital part of local SEO, and if you’re struggling to find the time needed to submit your business to relevant sites, and then keep the information updated, we recommend using Local Listing. It lets you track all your directory submissions from one simple dashboard.
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