Algorithms are Adapting to Local “Near Me” Searches
Obviously Google caught on to the importance of these local “near me” searches, because beginning in 2007–when Google began showing local business information in SERPs–they started ramping up local SEO parameters in the search algorithm. In 2012, Google rolled out the first local SEO update designed to show users results not only relevant to the search term but also in their geographic vicinity.
One of the big parts of this update that still holds today? NAP (name, address, phone number) citations. If your NAP is inconsistent, the search engine will pass over your company for one that has consistent directory listings.
One of the biggest questions we get is “How do I do local SEO?”
Local SEO requires a variety of strategies:
- NAP Citations – Be sure your business’ name, address and phone number is EXACTLY the same across all of your online assets like your website, social profiles, and Google My Business/Bing listings.
- Local directory listings – Claim and verify all listings on local directories including Yelp, Superpages, Foursquare, Yellowpages, etc.
- Reviews – Reviews are key in local SEO. Regularly solicit reviews and engage in review-building tactics on social and search profiles.
- Localized onsight content – The more relevant your on-site content is to the searcher, the more likely it will show up in search results. This means creating unique geo-targeted service pages, specifying service areas, and including maps with your location on it.
- Schema markup – Ask your web developer to implement local business schema on your website. It gives the search engines a clearer supply of local information about your business.
The Most Important Factors in Local SEO Marketing:
So we covered how to rank, but what are the MOST IMPORTANT aspects of local SEO?
- Distance – How far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
- Relevance – This refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information across the web can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
- Prominence – Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.
Insider Tips on Local SEO
If you don’t currently have a local SEO strategy in place, we highly recommend you invest time and energy into it. First, your customers need to be able to find you, and second, you need to OWN all of your online real estate, which includes citations across directories. Most of them are free, and it boosts your visibility.
We approach local SEO the same way we approach SEO, by making data-driven decisions to turn your website, and its ranking, into your strongest marketing asset. By evaluating the status of your current Local SEO and then creating a plan of attack, our content marketing specialists can take your website’s ranking to another level. Our goal for you is always the Local Pack and organic listings and we use the following tools to get there:
- Make sure your NAP citations are consistent across the directories that matter most for your industry
- Claim and verify your Google My Business listing
- Optimize your citations
- Remove duplicate listings on the directories that matter for your client
- Add Local Business and Review schema to your website
- Optimize your on-site content to be geo-targeted
- Implement a strategy to get reviews across multiple directories
- Respond to all directory reviews
- Consistently build local links
If your website is not showing up in local search results, you’re missing a big opportunity to grow your local business. Contact us and we will talk about what we can do for you!
If search engines are finding conflicting information about your NAP, they’re not going to know for certain what your business is or where it’s located. When the search engines find varied details about your company, they lose confidence in your listing—so they are more likely to provide users with another listing that they’re more confident about.