How To Rank High In Local SEO

Categories
Search Engine Optimization

To get local attention, businesses should be focusing on improving their SEO local rankings. 

Quality local SEO will allow your business to pop up in local SERPs when users search for your vertical within your geographic area. 

Unfortunately, just being in the same vicinity as a user does not guarantee that you will appear in the SERPs. Here we go over some local SEO ranking factors that can help you improve your standing and even help you rank for “near me” searches.

Table of Contents

Start with your Google Business Profile [GBP]

When you sign up for a Google Business Profile (GBP), previously known as Google My Business, you can find your listing and claim it as your own. 

During this process, it’s crucial that you make sure that your name, address, phone number, hours, and website URL are all accurate. 

Additionally, adding photos and a logo will make your listing look even more legit and professional. 

Once your account is up and running, make regular, consistent Google posts that highlight your services, products, events, sales, blogs, etc.

How Does Local SEO Work with GBP?

Proximity is a huge factor in whether your GBP will show up for users. If the user is in the area of your business, it’s more likely that you show up in the search results.

It might be thought that using “near me” keywords could circumvent this, but Google consistently tracks locations, rendering such attempts ineffective. 

Keep reading to learn how you can start ranking for “near me” searches.

Emphasize Online Reviews

Fresh online reviews are important for businesses to stay relevant in important search directories, otherwise, it looks like people aren’t visiting your business. 

These reviews can be seen on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or Houzz, etc. depending on your vertical. 

Make sure that reviews are regular and not entered all at once—getting a handful of reviews all at one time comes across unnatural. 

Besides, Google also looks at the actual text of your reviews to get a better feel for your business, so it’s more than just the number that counts. 

The Higher the Rating, the Better

Maintaining high ratings is crucial. 

For example, Brightlocal states that “businesses without 5 stars risk losing 12% of their customers… Only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars… Consumers aged 55+ are least likely to forgive a low-star rating.” 

But not having 5 stars isn’t the end of the world, it’s actually what more people expect and sometimes prefer. A perfect 5-star rating can actually seem fishy. 

It’s really when you drop below 3 stars, that you start to see significant losses.

When you get negative reviews, it’s important to respond in a timely manner with a level head—try to listen to feedback while presenting your side of things. 

New customers are reading how you respond to the bad reviews, so make your business look good and professional.

Don’t Sleep on NAP Consistency

Separate from your GBP, ensure that your business’ information is 100% accurate on all other major data aggregators. 

One tiny mistake in your online business data will be crawled by data aggregators and spread like crazy.

Ok, so how do you keep track of all the information out there on your business? 

There are monitoring services out there that will push your correct information, for example, Moz Local will help you stay on top of your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) accuracy.

Pour That Link Juice

Link building is valuable in all SEO applications, especially in a local SEO strategy. Google analyzes links to your website from external sources. 

The goal with link building is to encourage relevant, higher Domain Authority (DA) sites to link to you. 

While you should always try to target higher DA sites, sometimes it’s more attainable for small local businesses to be linked by local websites—community sites, local news organizations, local bloggers, event pages, and other local business partnerships. 

Being linked by other local organizations shows Google that your business is embedded within that community and that you speak to your nearby audience. 

Even a link from a local business with a lower DA will help your rank because they might have a higher DA than you.

NOTE: Don’t forget to also link between your own pages! This distributes page authority and passes along “link juice” to help users and bots navigate relevant anchor text related to pages on your site. 

Improve Your On-Page SEO

Make sure that your on-site SEO is solid. This involves strategically placing keywords in your headings, titles, internal anchor text, and accessible contact info that also matches your consistent NAP. 

Here are some on-page SEO tricks to help you rank high in local SEO:

  • Talking about local events related to your industry
  • Hosting or partnering with local organizations
  • Creating resources for your area, like blogs
  • Writing a city or neighborhood guide
  • Building landing pages for specials or sale events
  • Answering local questions about state laws that might affect your potential customers
  • Compiling a resource list of businesses and putting yourself on it

When building local pages, make sure that you stay away from spammy and thin copy—long content and high-effort will always prevail so don’t just inflate your site structure without a plan.

Add Location Pages

If you have multiple physical locations, each one should have its own page with unique NAP info and a map. 

Adding a review widget will really give your business listing some traction—don’t forget to also add hours and any other relevant information. Make sure your listing is totally solid before you call it a day.

Every Word Counts

Keyword research is the backbone of SEO and when it comes to local SEO, it becomes even more significant. 

Adding geolocation modifiers to your keywords will result in more dramatically localized engagements, making it easier for locals to find your business. 

For example, instead of just ranking for “brewery,” try aiming for “brewery in Portland” or “Portland brewery.” 

Make sure to put those location modifiers in your page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and content so that Google can find and crawl you easier.

Cater to the Local Masses

Making content relevant to your geographic vicinity can also help you rank higher for local SEO. If you have a blog, work some local-targeted content clusters into your content calendar. 

Catering some content to local communities is a great way to get recognized and rank within and around them. 

Implement Schema Markup

Implementing schema markup is a game-changer for local SEO. It’s a form of microdata added to your website to help search engines better understand your content and provide more informative results for users. 

For local businesses, schema can highlight crucial information such as your business’s location, hours of operation, reviews, and more directly in search results. 

This visibility can significantly enhance your local search presence and drive more foot traffic to your door. 

Start with the most relevant schema types for your business, such as LocalBusiness, Product, and Event schema, to make your services stand out in SERPs.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Social media is a huge part of local SEO now, and each channel can attract all sorts of attention from different sources. 

Using social signals will help you track how local users are interacting with your GMB, Facebook, Yelp, etc. 

Stay active on your social platforms to promote your content, events, sales, etc. 

Local users interested in your brand—and thus social presence—will show Google that they may also be interested in visiting your site, which will give you a ranking boost.

Web Design 

It’s not just about aesthetics; your site must be intuitive and user-friendly to ensure visitors can easily find the information they’re looking for. 

This includes clear navigation, a responsive design that adapts to different devices, and fast loading times. 

A well-structured website with a clear hierarchy also helps search engines understand and rank your content, making it easier for local customers to discover your local business online.

Mobile-First Design

With the majority of searches now happening on mobile devices, adopting a mobile-first design is crucial for local SEO success. 

This means designing your website for mobile before scaling up to desktop versions or developing a responsive website, ensuring an optimal user experience across all devices. 

Mobile-first design is not just a preference but a ranking factor for search engines, emphasizing the importance of quick load times, accessible menus, and easily clickable elements to keep your local audience engaged.

Make it Worth it

On-page optimization, user experience, and site design improvements will all contribute to how people interact with your site, so make them memorable! 

Google pays attention to click-through rates in search results, so double-check that your titles and metas are compelling. 

You can use tools that monitor user activity to help inform your updates and improvements—consider looking into heatmaps, CRO (conversion rate optimization), and A/B testing. 

If your website and its content does not match the user’s expectations as set by the SERP they clicked on, they may bounce.

Fix Your UX, Bro

Every element on your site should aim to provide value and ease for your visitors, from the color scheme and layout to the speed at which pages load. 

Remember, a positive UX leads to higher engagement, more time spent on your site, and ultimately, a better conversion rate. 

Google pays attention to your website’s bounce rate. And, visitors may bounce for all sorts of reasons:

  • Site content does not match user expectations
  • Site navigation is challenging
  • Website takes an eternity to load
  • Abrasive colors and branding
  • Outdated design
  • Confusing service pages and poor writing
  • Pop-ups
  • Broken links and buttons
  • Bad mobile experience

Ensure your website is a place where users can easily find what they need, enjoy their visit, and leave with a great impression of your local business.

Accessibility

Making your website accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, is not just a legal obligation in many regions but also a significant component of local SEO. 

Accessible websites cater to a wider audience, ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, can interact with your content. 

This inclusivity can lead to increased site traffic and engagement, positively affecting your local SEO search rankings. 

How to Rank for Near Me Searches

Understand Local Intent

To rank for ‘Near Me’ searches, it’s crucial to understand the local intent behind search queries. Optimize your content to answer local questions and include location-specific keywords throughout your site.

Optimize for Mobile

Since ‘Near Me’ searches are predominantly made on mobile devices, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is essential. This includes fast loading times, responsive design, and easy navigation.

Utilize Local Schema Markup

Schema markup helps search engines understand the local relevance of your website, making it more likely to appear in ‘Near Me’ search results. Use LocalBusiness schema to highlight your location details.

Build Local Links

Strengthen your local SEO by obtaining links from other local businesses, newspapers, and directories. These backlinks reinforce your local authority to search engines.

Manage Your Google Business Profile

Ensure your Google Business Profile is comprehensive and up-to-date. Regularly update your business hours, address, and post about local events or promotions to increase visibility in ‘Near Me’ searches.

By focusing on these areas, you can enhance your local SEO strategy and improve your visibility in ‘Near Me’ search results, attracting more customers to your business.

Local SEO Made Easy

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all of your local SEO digital marketing and data tracking, and local SEO can be an even trickier beast because of its reliance on specific local content and keywords. 

So why not hire local SEO experts to maintain all of it? 

Researching local keywords, claiming GMBs, monitoring user experience, link building, etc, is part of our specialty here at Intuitive Digital. 

Call us to learn more about our local SEO solutions and how they can help you increase your organic traffic exponentially!

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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