SEO Ranking high in local search is not a waste. No one (at least outside of Google) has complete control over local listings. But you can use local search engine optimization (SEO) to get higher rankings.
It’s complicated? Have you had a bad experience with local SEO before? New to SEO?
We can help! This article will cover local search optimization and 10 local SEO ranking factors to look out for.
Let’s get started!
What are local search results?
Local search results are slightly different from your standard Google search. Local search results have three sections:
- map results
- regional package results
- organic search results
Let’s break this down by searching for “Thai restaurants near Dallas”, since we are in Dallas, TX.
As you can imagine, the resulting map is what we see on the Dallas map. Users are often interested in this area of local search results when looking for hotel listings in a particular area. If you click on a listing, it will open the Google My Business page for that business.
Pay attention to the “Directions” feature – this is one of the most popular map features.
Regional package results
The area package results are short listings for the Google My Business listings that Google displays below or next to the map. For “Thai restaurants near Dallas,” local listings include Bangkok Dee Thai, Bangkok City Restaurant, and Banana Leaf Thai.
Organic search results
Organic search results are a list of websites related to the search. In the “Thai restaurants near Dallas” example, the top ranking is the TripAdvisor page “10 best Thai restaurants in Dallas”.
Important factors for local SEO
#1. Google My Business
Any local business with a web presence is eligible for a Google My Business listing. These are the listings you see on the map and search results. For example, this is a Thai dish.
Google uses Google My Business listings effectively to support businesses because it knows they help consumers get the right information about relevant businesses.
#2. A Google My Business Group
This quality thing is the same thing as “#1. Google My Business,” but we decided to include it as our thing because it is important.
When you update your Google My Business listing, Google asks you how to organize your listing. You can choose one main category and up to nine subcategories.
According to Google, your main article “describes your entire business.” So, if you are a grocery store in addition to a cafe, choose “grocery store”.
Your second category helps “customers learn more about a particular domain or service”. For example, a grocery store that has a coffee shop and a drug store would add “coffee shop” and “drug store” as the second category.
#3. Online citations
Any website that lists your website description counts as an “online referral”. Examples include TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Trivago, and other review sites. The most popular online referral sites (besides Google) are Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, and Siri.
These sites usually provide small business startups with phone numbers, addresses, hours of operation, menus, and more. If resume information is incorrect, it can hurt local search rankings and marketing – 63% of buyers avoid businesses with incorrect listing information!
Posting on review sites is easy: find the wrong listings, update them, BAM, and your problem is solved.
#4. Your address is close to the search area
The key to local SEO ranking is simple: How close is your business to where the searcher is now?
If your business is close (for example, under 10 miles), you will get a higher rating. If your business is located at the other end of the state, you can prepare well if you don’t have competition (especially in niche businesses).
Unfortunately, you have little control over this level of notice other than making sure your address and location details are correct. Still, we mention it because we think you should know about it.
Customers aren’t the only ones who can focus on research. Search engines also use research to identify reputable, legitimate, and responsible businesses, as well as companies that violate consumer trust. As TrustPilot’s Kyra Sammis puts it, “Social media shows you can safely do business.”
Now, you don’t need to create fake reviews to improve your SEO ranking (it won’t work anyway). So how do you get this level out? Start analyzing marketing campaigns.
Start by asking customers to leave in-store reviews through email marketing and branded items such as menus and packaging. Encourage them to leave reviews like 10% off, gifts, swag, etc.