While determining how to rank higher in local search engine results, it’s important to put yourself in the search engines’ shoes. Their priority is to present the searcher with relevant and trustworthy answers to their queries.
When you throw local searches into the mix, search engines like Google need to be sure local businesses are actually, well, local. As you might imagine, there are spam websites out there that attempt to rank in every local search by lying about their location.
So how do you prove your business is everything you claim it is? The following will help you do just that and of course, rank higher locally!
Sign your business up with Google My Business.
If you haven’t done this yet.. Do it! Right now!
It’s completely free and the first step your business should take to rank higher in local search engine results. When people are wondering which local businesses are nearby, it’s likely they’ll ask Google.
If your local business has already signed up with Google My Business, you have an opportunity to rank above all the other organic search results in the local box at the top!
Visit the Google My Business page to get started.
Get inspiration from your local competitors.
Who’s ranking above you? How in the world are they achieving that?
Well, that’s not usually too hard to figure out. Since backlinks (links from other domains to your website) are a significant ranking factor, it’s safe to guess that your competitors have acquired some valuable backlinks.
There are various resources that will actually tell you who’s linking to your competitors. We suggest trying Monitor Backlink (the free version gives you some data but for the full list you must register).
Get involved with the community.
Not only is interacting with the community a great way to increase your word of mouth referrals and brand exposure, it can actually help you rank higher locally.
When you donate money, sponsor something, organize events, or simply get involved in some way, typically this will happen:
- The recipients will mention or thank your business online and over social media.
- If they don’t, your business can post about it and link to them.
- Your posts will be shared with people who were involved.
- Search engines will identify a connection between your business and others around you.
Be sure to target local keywords.
If you aren’t using your city or state name throughout your website content, it will be difficult for search engine spiders to index you correctly.
Try using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool and Google Suggest to compile a list of local keywords your potential customers are searching for. Enter each keyword into search engines and evaluate the competition.
Target these keywords in meta descriptions, title tags, body content, alt tags, header tags, and even on social media.
Update online local listings.
Do you have pages set up for the following websites?
- Facebook Pages
- Google (Google Maps, Search, and more)
- Yellow Pages
It’s not unusual for businesses to get a new phone number, change addresses, and add services, but this is something that can hurt your local rank if listed differently on each website.
If you’re unsure or doubt their consistency, it may be worth it to give it a quick check at Moz Local. Like the backlink resource we listed above, Moz Local has a free version and a paid version. Luckily, the free version gives you all the information you need to know and it’s up to you to manually add and update listings or elect to have them do it.
Each of the above are great tools and techniques to add to your strategy, but it’s important not to let them hinder your “classic” SEO. Continue producing high-quality content and answering your target audience’s questions.
Ranking higher in local search engine results connects your business with more qualified leads. More qualified leads translate to more conversions and sales. The sky’s the limit with local SEO!