How Google determines local ranking
Local search results are primarily based on three factors – Proximity, Relevance, and Prominence. Understanding these 3 things will help you rank your local business higher on Google.
Proximity is the number one factor that Google takes into account when serving up local search results. In simple words, proximity is how close is your business is to the person carrying out the search. If a user fails to specify a location in their search, Google will calculate their distance based on what’s known about their current location.
Relevance alludes to how well a local listing matches what somebody is searching for. Detailed information of a business can help Google better comprehend your business and match your listing to relevant searches. Having a completely set up Google My Business (GMB) account and citations can help increase relevance.
Prominence refers to how popular a business is. A few businesses are increasingly noticeable in the offline world, and search results try to mirror this in local ranking. For instance, famous salons or hotels that people are familiar to in the offline world are likely to be famous in local search results. The factor of prominence is also based on information from links, articles, and directories that Google has collected about a business from across the web. Google review’s are also a vital piece of information for Google and play a major role is improving a business’ local ranking.
How to improve your local ranking on Google
Now that you know the factors that Google considers when determining your business’ local ranking, let us teach you a few tricks that will help your local business rank higher on Google. You just need to follow these steps, and you will be good to go.
- Optimise Google My Business listing
- Get more customer reviews
- On-site optimisation
- Local link building
1) Optimise Your Google My Business listing
Google My Business is very favourable for local SEO, and the best part is that the service comes free of cost.
To increase your chances of showing up in local search results, claim and verify your GMB listing. Take a few minutes every day to optimising your listing. This will help your business appear more frequently within search results and on Google Maps.
Step 1. Enter complete business information
Businesses with accurate and comprehensive information are most likely to rank higher in Google searches. Therefore, ensure you fill out all of your business information in Google My Business. Helping customers find out about what services you offer, opening times, and where they can find you. Providing information like your name, phone number, address is vital, ensure it’s kept updated as your business changes.
Step 2. Verify your business location(s)
Creating and verifying location information gives your business an excellent opportunity to appear for users across Google maps and searches when local searches occur on Google.
Step 3. Keep your hours of operation accurate
Adding and updating your hours of operation, including special hours for holidays and special events in your GMB listing is significant for your business’ presence. You should keep your business hours as accurate as possible as it lets potential customers know when you’re accessible, giving them confidence that when they visit your location, it will be open.
Step 4. Include keywords in your description
Whenever possible, use the most relevant keywords in your Google My Business description. However, use them naturally, don’t force them in as you would not want your Google My Business account to get permanently suspended due to this penalty-inducing offense.
Step 5. Manage customer reviews and respond to them
Responding to online customer reviews is a great way to show that your business values its customers and their opinion/feedback. Positive reviews by customers will enable potential customers to form an optimistic perception of your business, increasing the changes of them interacting further with you. Positive or helpful reviews can also increase the visibility of your business in the organic and paid search results.
Replying to all reviews is a must, showing gratitude for positive review and compassion for anything negative. Replying politely to all reviews will help leave a positive impression all round.
Step 6. Upload photos
No GMB listing is complete without pictures! According to Google, businesses with photos on their listings received 42% more direction requests and 35% received more website visitors. That said, ensure adding accurate, appealing, and high-quality photos of your office, employees, and products to your listings. Doing this will not only allow your customers to take a 360-view virtual tour of your business but will also let you tell the story of your business!
Keep in Mind: The more the users envision your business online, the more will they be interested in it.
2) Ask Your Customer For Reviews
It is essential to have reviews on your Yelp or Google My Business Page. To achieve this, you need ask customer for leave a review. This can be done by adding the “share review form” link on an email to customer who have used or purchased products or services from you. This link can be found half way down your “home” dashboard within your GMB Account.
3) On-site optimisation
- Target the right keywords: Just like you incorporate keywords in your Google My Business description, you need be including the right keywords on your website as well — your audience reaches you through these keywords. To research relevant keywords, you can use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner and Semrush. Then, come up with list of keywords which have a high search volume and low competition.Note: You want to identify keywords for your local SEO that pertain to your geographic location. Consider the various locations and areas you service and where your customers are from.For instance, a plumber working in Birmingham may target keywords like:
- Birmingham Plumber
- Local Plumber Birmingham
- Meta title and description: The first information that your customers view on search results is your Meta Title and Description. Ensure these elements are well optimised and include your target keyword within 65-70 characters of meta title and 155-160 characters of the meta description.
- Heading tags: To get an idea about the content of the page, Google bots look for keywords within the header (H1,H2) tags. Incorporate the most important keywords in H1, then H2 and so on. For instance:
- h1-Rosies Diner Cafe
- h2-Book a table right now
- h3-Special offers
- Content: Keep in mind, on-site SEO is less about keyword repetition or placement and more about understanding who your customers are, what they’re searching for and what information they require. Answering searcher problems will increase your chances of conversions also helping improve your SEO performance through better engagement factors like time of site and lower bounce rate.
- If you are a chain of business, make sure you have unique and relevant content for each of your business location.
- Include high-quality photos of your office, employees, and products. For instances, if you’re a salon, you can add pictures of some of your outstanding services.
- Embed a Google Map on your website, so that it is easier for your customers to locate you.
- Ensure you include complete NAP + other details (like working hours, email-id, discount offers, promotions, customer testimonials, and so on) across your website.Note: Every information you share about your business is consistently shared on your website, social media, Google My Business, or anywhere online. Listing accuracy is Google’s method for deciding whether or not it can trust a local business search result, and if you are not taking it seriously, it is the biggest mistake that you are committing.
4) Local link building
Just like link building in general, local link building is also considered as the building blocks for good SEO. Unlike link building in general, local link building is not about obtaining links from high authority websites but acquiring links from local websites doing something similar to you.
Getting listed in local directories is the best way to get started with local SEO.
Here are some other ideas:
- Local meetups are an untapped goldmine. Find local groups looking for a location for their meeting, offer up your place of business, and BOOM! You’ve got a secure local link
- Hosting an event open to the community is a simple way to get links and social mentions
- Find local bloggers and start to network, it won’t be hard to get them to write about your business and include a link
- Get yourself nominated for local awards. The winners typically get links as the results are nearly always published online
- Arrange for interviews with quality online publications