With the rapid increase in competition, it is becoming more difficult for businesses to stand out and improve their local rankings. The recent move by Google go from 7 to 3 listings in the local pack, and the increased number of ads in the local space have led to a fiercely competitive environment.
This means that your SEO has to be on point at all times if you hope to rank among the top three. By examining local SEO ranking factors (Lokale SEO rangering faktorer), taking a look at the major competitive difference makers and studying negative ranking factors, you can ensure that you have a strong strategic local SEO plan in place.
Local SEO: The Current Scenario
Local results play a significant role in the survival of small businesses, due to the cut throat competition when it comes to organic searches. They serve as an easy way to for users looking for a particular service to differentiate between local and organic search results. They give every local business a shot at attracting customers from search engines and the rankings are relatively straightforward. In such cases, having a physical address in close proximity to the user serves as a ranking factor. This levels the playing field and gives every business an equal chance of success.
Google’s recent move to reduce the size of the local pack has come as a blow to many businesses. Now only 3 business names appear in the SERPs unless users click to see expanded results. To make things worse, ads are becoming more prevalent in the local results. This increases the chances of AdWords text ads and local listings getting hidden by paid ads.
With the evolution of SEO, the competition in local results has become as fierce as paid and organic listings. The parameters and results change on an almost daily basis, and business owners need to pay attention to the finer details. Here are some useful techniques you can use to improve your local ranking.
1. Make Use of All the Local Listing Pages
Optimized local listing pages are a quick way and effective way to improve your local ranking. Local listing pages such as Yahoo Local and Google My Business link to your websites and improve your visibility at the top of the search engines. In general, all you need to do is claim the pages. It is also a good idea to look for directories on the basis of the industry you operate in.
For instance, when joining Google’s My Business, you will need to verify your details in order to get started. You will be sent a code through your e-mail which you need to use to verify your Google My Business account. Select your industry and ensure that all the details of your business such as address, phone number etc. are entered correctly. You will then be directed to write an engaging and unique description about your business. It is also a good idea to upload a few high-quality photos and include details such as opening and closing hours.
2. Create a Blog and Post Frequently
Posting regularly on your blog is a good way to connect with your community. You can write articles related to your industry or simply post about various events in your neighborhood. This portrays the idea that your business is an integral part of the community. An added bonus is that these articles can get a large number of shares on social media, which in turn will result in more visitors to your website.
3. Maintain Consistency
It is necessary to ensure that there is consistency among your online profiles. This is particularly important when it comes to contact details. These details must be included on the ‘home’ and ‘contact us’ pages. You can also include your contact details in the website footer.
Your business and contact details must also be present on all your social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Maintaining consistency is extremely important as it eliminates doubt from the minds of potential customers and gains trust.
4. Reveal the Location of Your Business through Geotags
Geotags allow search engines to know your position and can help increase your visibility in local search engines. So if your company is based at a particular location, it is a good idea to include Geotags. It is easy to generate these tags through various tools that are available online.
5. Create Individual Location Pages
This is an essential step if your business has several branches. You will need to design different web pages with interesting content specific to each area. As far as possible, try to create unique content instead of using similar templates and changing the location details.
A good way to optimize your local ranking is to offer unique location based services. You can also add positive reviews and testimonials from clients who you have served through each of your branches. Participating in local functions and sponsoring events are excellent ways to generate this type of content. It is also a good idea to consult an expert on how you can create compelling location specific content.
6. Harness the Power of Social Media to Promote Your Business
Social media platforms such as Pinterest, Google Plus, and Twitter are a great way to promote your business. These platforms can be used smartly to spread your message to a large number of people present online. It is essential to add your contact details on these platforms, so potential customers know how to get in touch with you.
7. Get In Touch With Local Publications
Reaching out to local publications to write about your company is a great way to gain free publicity. Most areas have local publications that are looking for stories. So, if your business launches a service or reaches a new milestone, make sure that you share this with the media. You can also reach out to blogs related to your industry that have a large following. Building relationships with the press can help promote your business in indirect ways.
8. Request Your Customers to Write Positive Reviews
Positive reviews play a significant role in improving local SEO rankings on Google. However, these reviews must be genuine and from trusted sources such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business. Too many reviews or inauthentic ones can cause Google to raise a red flag and restrict your activities.
It is important to keep in mind that perfecting your SEO strategy and improving your local ranking requires patience and dedication. It takes some time to start seeing the results of your efforts. So stay on the right track by following the techniques mentioned above, and you will experience positive payoffs.