You Need To Know These 25 Local Search Ranking Signals!

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By optimising for 25 local search ranking signals, you’ll improve your chances of being included in Google’s Local Pack.

Getting a local business to rank is challenging for three reasons:

  1. Mobile devices have increased because more people are using their phones to find local businesses.
  2. A surge in businesses that recognise the value of local SEO has made the results more competitive.
  3. Google Local Pack, which was once the top seven, is now just the top three.

So what does it take to appear at the top of these competitive local results? What do you need to do to get in front of the right people when they’re searching for your products and services?

In this blog, you’ll learn about 25 specific local ranking signals you need to understand and optimise to perform as well as possible in local search.

First, let’s look at how these changes with Google’s Map Pack/Local Pack are a game-changer for businesses.

The latest map pack changes you need to know

When a searcher types in a query that has a local intent, Google’s three most relevant results appear above the organic listings.

The importance of the Local Pack tool is demonstrated by the fact that Google is constantly modifying the Local Pack to make it more helpful to searchers.

For example, Google recently announced rolling out a new search feature to desktop users. When people search for places or businesses nearby, such as “restaurants near me”, they will see local results on the left and a map of the area on the right.

Here’s an example of how that search works:

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Screenshot from search for [restaurants near me], Google, March 2022

Why is Google’s Local Pack so important?

It allows searchers to quickly find nearby stores and see business hours, phone numbers, reviews and more without clicking on a website. Local SEO is a crucial component of your SEO strategy if you want to increase your chances of appearing in Google’s Local Pack.

As with everything related to Google, there is no exact formula for getting to the top. Meanwhile, the competition is as fierce as ever.

However, this article will outline essential steps to build your local online presence and increase your chances of ranking well with local businesses.

What Are the Most Important Local SEO Ranking Signals?

We have organised the list of critical SEO Ranking Signals into two broad categories:

  • The Basic: This covers the most basic ranking signals. To rank for SEO, you must address these low-hanging fruits and fundamental factors.
  • The Nitty-Gritty Local Ranking Signals: This outlines the more advanced local ranking signals you’ll need to move to the top and outrank a competitor.

Let’s look at the Basics first.

1. Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile used to be known as Google My Business. It is easy and free to claim your Google Business Profile.

This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your local SEO.

There are the two methods:

First, enter the name and address of the store and select from the search results.

Or, using the second method, you can find your business on Google Search or Google Maps and click “Claim this business.”

2. Google Business Profile Categories

Categories describe your business and help you connect with customers looking for you. Select the key categories that define and be specific to your entire business. For example, if you are a meat restaurant, select “meat restaurant” rather than just “restaurant.”

3. Photos on Google Business Profile

You can add photos and videos to your Google My Business Page, including pictures of your location, products, staff and even your customers (with permission, of course). This one is important because photos can add interest and credibility to your listing and also serve as a local ranking signal.

4. Bing Places For Business

Google is the most popular search engine but Bing still holds a small market share (about 7% of the world market). Setting up your Bing Places for Business will cover all the bases.

5. Online Directories/Citations

Claim your business in other popular local business platforms like these:

  • Top4.
  • Apple Maps.
  • Yellowpages.
  • Foursquare.
  • Yahoo’s Localworks

6. Listings On Review Sites

A study by Harvard Business Review shows the power of listings on review sites. Their study found that a business’s one-star improvement on Yelp leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
To get reviews, start by getting listed on these sites::

  • Yelp.
  • Glassdoor.
  • Angie’s List.

The reviews on Google are most important, but listings on other sites are still very valuable.

7. Number Of Positive Reviews

It is important to receive positive reviews and respond to your customers’ feedback.

According to Google, high-quality reviews help the customer by improving your business’s visibility and increasing the likelihood that a customer will visit your location.

Google Business Profile Management - Top4 Digital Marketing

8. Reviews with Keywords and Locations

All reviews are not created equal!

When reviewers use the city or keywords, it sends signals to Google that you are a reliable local business. If you have many products or services, it is advisable to have your customers send them individually based on the specific product or service they have.

9. Reviews with Responses

The business owner’s response to Google indicates that the page is actively managed and that you are interacting with them. Google has also indicated that your replies are important because reviews build trust.

10. Percentage Of Negative Reviews Not Responded To

While the number of reviews with responses counts but the number of negative unanswered reviews does too! You need to have a plan in place for responding to all reviews and particularly negative ones.

Google has created a system if you think there was an inappropriate or negative review on Google and you want to remove it.

11. Create A Facebook Business Page

Facebook is a popular search engine that many people are comfortable using. Make sure you at least create a business page and update it with your website, hours and a description.

Social signals may have a limited impact but they do have an impact on social SEO.

Digital Marketing for Local Businesses - Top4 Digital Marketing

12. Social Listings

Whether or not you plan to be active on social media platforms, you should at least register your business on all popular social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Pin a tweet or post inviting users to call/visit your website/follow you on whatever social platform you are most active on. In a survey of 3,200 customers, the average customer expectation of response time was four hours!

With the expectation of a quick response from businesses on short social responses, your business needs to respond with lightning speed to meet that expectation.

13. Consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)

Make sure your business name, address and phone number are consistent across all mediums to help Google provide accurate information. A name, address and phone number that is consistent across all marketing materials make it easy for your customers to connect with your business.

14. Mobile Responsiveness

Google looks at your mobile site first, not your desktop site. This feature can help you get started on achieving mobile responsiveness.

Now that we’ve covered the Basics, let’s move on to the Nitty-Gritty ones.

15. Structured Data Encoding

You can use structured data markup for local SEO in a number of ways, including:

  • Multiple departments.
  • Hours.
  • Address.
  • Menu.
  • Website.
  • Phone number.

These are highly recommended by Google. You can add markup using Google Directory or using a tool like Scheme. It’s also worth noting that there is some lack of clarity about whether or not including GPS coordinates in the structured data is helpful.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s considerable debate over whether or not incorporating GPS locations in structured data is beneficial.

16. Search-Results Click-Through Rates

If you’re good at SEO in general, you’ll be good at local SEO. Isn’t that correct?

Make sure your meta titles and descriptions make sense so that people can locate what they’re looking for when they visit your site.

17. Localised content

The importance of consistent content publishing cannot be overstated. Set a target for continuing content and track your progress to assure outcomes.

Make sure you can include your crucial keyword and place it logically.

Write about local events, discuss attempts to generate cash for a local charity, give information about relevant subjects in the community and so on. Consider what makes sense for your company.

18. Keyword Optimisation + On-Page Location

Don’t just optimise for “furnace repair,” for example. Improve your search engine optimisation for “furnace repair Victoria.”

19. Title + Meta Description

Use relevant phrases and locations in your title and meta descriptions when possible. This works in tandem with on-page and keyword optimisation but it’s crucial enough that we feel the need to mention them individually.

20. High-Quality Inbound Links

SEO benefits from links from sites that Google trusts. The issue of inbound links is essential and broad, and it is beyond the scope of this article to go into detail about it.

21. Inbound Link Diversity

You desire a variety of relevant, authoritative, and naturally acquired inbound links.

An excellent investing portfolio analogy. Diversification of different sorts of assets and risk levels would be desirable. Your link-building plan should be as diverse.

You want as many links from as many different websites as possible, with the caveat that they all have to be of excellent quality.

22. Local Relevant Sites’ Inbound Links

Local news sites, community blogs, and other sources of links demonstrate that your site is well-liked by your neighbourhood.

A press release to local news stations may be beneficial for some businesses. Others may find it helpful to participate in local social media discussions.

23. Local + Keyword Anchor Text in Inbound

Are you ready to create a challenging goal for yourself?

The “holy grail” of links is an inbound link from a high authority site that uses your city or neighbourhood as the primary keyword.

24. The Searcher’s Proximity

Your proximity to the searcher is what it is, and there is no way to improve it.

It is, nevertheless, a significant ranking indication, which is why it is critical to claim your Google Business Profile and have a consistent name, location, and profile.

25. Your Website’s Domain Authority

Domain authority is a Moz-developed search ranking authority that forecasts how likely a website will rank.

Increasing your domain authority isn’t a quick or straightforward procedure. But it will pay off handsomely in the long run.

Conclusion

What are the implications of these local SEO characteristics for your local SEO strategies?

The following are the two most important takeaways:

  • Your Google Business Profile is the first and most crucial location to optimise your local SEO ranking. Claim it. Make sure it’s correct and thorough. Select the appropriate category. Obtain feedback. Respond to customer feedback.
  • Focusing on a big-picture, comprehensive SEO approach is the second most essential thing you can do for local SEO. Create meaningful, well-researched content that includes local and important phrases,. Don’t forget to optimise your meta descriptions.

Although local SEO is a competitive market, there is still space for development and improvement for most businesses.

How we can help

This list can help you improve your chances of getting listed in Google’s Local Pack. But more importantly, it will help you connect with and be found by local customers.

But all of these ranking signals might be too overwhelming for you, as you’re a full-time local business owner with barely enough spare time optimising your online presence. So why not reach out to our web geeks?

Top4 Marketing is a leading SEO services agency based in Sydney, Australia and now — to serve the growing APAC market, Surabaya, Indonesia. We know the ins and outs of search engine optimisation since we’ve been doing it for over two decades. We provide a full suite of digital marketing services, from the best responsive high performing website design and development, website marketing, website SEO, Google Marketing SEM + SEO + SMM and more.

Check out the complete list of deliverables and pricing for our SEO services today! Or you can get in touch with an SEO specialist at Top4 Marketing to get a free SEO strategy session for your business and find out exactly how much SEO will cost for your unique needs. Better yet, you can actually get a free snapshot of how your business is performing online now and our SEO strategists will be in touch to discuss how you can start optimising your site for organic search.


To find out how we can help you with your Website + Marketing, using our unique location marketing platform called Top4, get in touch today at www.top4marketing.com

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