Welcome to the first of our Local SEO series. Over the next few weeks we will be providing an in depth look at all the factors needed to increase your businesses presence in the local search results.

By following our step by step guides, it will enable you too:

  • Improve ranking visibility in your local search results
  • Gain more traffic and leads to your website
  • Increase footfall to your business

In this first post, we have provided a definitive list of all the factors to take into consideration when improving local presence. We will be going into more depth on these in further posts.

Getting local rankings of a local business to improve in search results can be a challenge. More people are turning to their phones to help locate businesses near them and more businesses are recognising the benefits of local SEO. Mobile users no longer need to click on websites directly anymore and SEO has become a critical tool to help boost rankings on Google, to get your business first on Google.

Google Local Park pushes down website results to showcase its own top three websites related to the specific search. It provides the necessary details without having to click on the actual website. Appearing on Local Park’s search would be an ideal plan to improve your local SEO and rank higher on Google places.

There are many local SEO ranking factors that can help improve your business and get it on Google’s first page. We have broken local SEO factors into two sections with a list of fundamental basics to help you rank along with additional tips that you should take into consideration.

15 Essential Local SEO Factors

1. Google My Business

Start with claiming your business on ‘Google My Business’ this is perhaps one of the easiest and effective ways to start improving your own local SEO.

2. Google My Business Categories

Ensure you have chosen the correct categories in your Google My Business account, using less categories but ensuring accuracy.

3. Google My Business Description

Ensure you have a detailed description of your business within the Google My Business listing

4. Google My Business – Images

Take relevant photos of the location, products, staff and customers (get permission first) to help give credibility to your business and improve your local ranking.

5. Claim a Bing Listing

Don’t just stick with Google, other search engines such Bing Places for Business is another good directory to sign up to, claiming your business account.

6. Ensure Name, Address and Phone Number is on your website

Ensure you are listing the name, address and phone number somewhere on your website. If you have multiple locations, then set-up service pages for each location with relevant information.

7. Start obtaining Citations

Sign up for as many of the reputable online directories as possible and find some local directories sites as well to get listed on here.

8. Start Gaining Reviews

Claim review site listings, reviews directly on Google My Business listings carry the most weight in terms of presence and trusted reviews. However, gaining reviews on reputable listings sites such as yell.com will be a massive advantage. In order to encourage reviews, start adding a notice to your invoices ‘to review your business’ or set up an email campaign to send out a message about reviewing your business after a transaction/service is completed.

9. Monitor Positive Reviews

Keep an eye on how many positive reviews you have. You want to make sure that the majority of your views are positive, however you can’t ask Google for good reviews in exchange for something.

10. Respond to Reviews Positive or Negative

Respond to reviews, it will help contribute to your local SEO because of the engagement you are doing to help build the reputation and visibility of your business. Reply to negative reviews, the number of reviews with responses count as much as the negative reviews without responses. Creating a plan to reply to reviews is important.

11. Facebook Business Listing

Create a Facebook business page, many people use it as a search engine. Remember to write all of the necessary information such as business description, hours and website link. Ensure name, address and phone number matches with your Google My Business listing, Bing listing, website and citations.

12. Create further listings on other Social Media Accounts

Create other social media accounts, regardless of how ‘active’ you will be on them. Encourage people to follow your accounts and invite people too. It’s important for a business to have social media accounts and respond to customers.

13. Consistent Name Address & Phone Number

Consistent NAP – Name, address and phone number are consistent across listings, review sites and social media. Google wants to make sure you are providing accurate information. Consistency in information makes it easier for customers to connect with your business and use it.

14. Mobile User-Friendly Website

Make sure your site is mobile ready. Google looks at your mobile site first due to their mobile-first indexing programme. Test using the Google Mobile friendly tester tool.

15. Proximity to the Location

Your businesses proximity to the local area your targeting is another of the key ranking factors. If your business has a physical location, make sure to get the map pin on the exact location in Google/Bing Maps using the correct geo coordinates.

6 Advanced Local Ranking Factors

1. Structured Mark-Up

Use structured data mark-ups for local SEO, they are highly recommended by Google and you can follow their guide or use a tool known as Schema.

2. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Ensure your meta titles and descriptions make sense so consumers know what to expect when they visit your site. Include location information in both of these to improve relevance and entice clicks from customers searching locally.

3. Consistent content

Be consistent in publishing content, especially where you can organically use key terms, words and location to describe your business.

4. Location Keyword Content Targeting

Use your location when optimizing keywords such as ‘Flower Shop Leeds’ if your targeting one location. If you are a business with several locations, introduce location-based pages and target these with internal linking from the service based pages. E.g. if you were to have a flower shop page, ‘our flower shops are located across Yorkshire in Leeds, Sheffield and Doncaster’.

5. Backlinks & Brand Interest

Generate inbound links and brand interest from local relevant sites. Links are like votes of confidence to Google in how much of an authority your site is – while getting regular brand mentions in reputable news outlets will also benefit Google seeing you as a knowledge expert in your field. Some great ways of generating brand interest and natural local links include getting involved with a charity event, running an event/workshop, asking for links from your client websites if applicable.

6. Optimise your Google My Business Listing Even More

  • Add product listings to your Google My Business listings
  • Start publishing posts on your Google My Business listing
  • Your Next Steps

    There are many things you can to do and abide by to help improve your local SEO ranking but there are four main things to note from this guide as your key starting point if you do nothing else at all.

    1. Claim and optimise your Google My Business account. Adding the relevant information, including pictures and adding a description will help gain strong ranking signals.

    2. Secondly, ensure your businesses location or locations are targeted on your website with the correct names, address and phone numbers

    3. Build your citations over time with a consistent NAP that aligns your business listings and website

    4. Start obtaining reviews from customers on Google My Business and other reputable listing sites such as Yell.

    Local SEO is a highly competitive market, with every business wanting to rank on Google’s first page. There are always areas you can improve on to boost your SEO and identity among consumers.

    If you want like to find out more about local SEO or have a question you would like to ask, talk to our team.