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Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search. For example, our algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.
When someone searches for a business or place near their location, they’ll find local results across Google in places like Maps and Search. For example, you can probably find local results if you search for “Italian restaurant” from your mobile device. We try to show you the kind of nearby restaurant that you’d like to visit.
Important: Make sure you keep your information up to date as your business changes.
Tip: To edit business information for 10 or more locations at once, you can create a bulk upload spreadsheet.
Prominence refers to how well known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
Update your business info for better visibility.
You may find that your business doesn’t show up for relevant searches in your area. To maximize how often users find your business in local search results, ensure that your business information in Business Profile is accurate, complete, and engaging.
To improve your business’s local ranking, use Google Business Profile to claim and update your business information. Learn more about how Google sources business information for search results.
Local results favor the most relevant results for each search. Businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.
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 review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.
Make sure you’ve entered complete business information in Business Profile so users know what you do, where you are, and when they can visit. Provide information like, but not limited to, your:
Tip: There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the search algorithm details confidential, to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.
How Google determines local ranking.
It’s also important you avoid duplicating content across multiple location pages. For single location businesses, create a locally descriptive About Us page. You’ll get big time bonus points if you add a Google Map to your website on your respective location page(s).
When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Ahrefs also offers competitor analysis, keyword research, and insight into the anchor text other websites use when backlinking to your site.
9. Create local content.
Now that you’ve carved out a beautiful Google My Business page, share the page on social media, further aligning social and search.
Consistency is key: verify that your citations are consistent and complete across these four data aggregators.
Although external links pointing to your site are ideal (which I’ll discuss soon), adjusting your internal linking structure will also boost your SEO rankings.
Once you have the fundamentals down, it may be tempting to put your foot on the brake. However, SEO is an ongoing and intuitive process. Instead of stopping there or simply making changes and seeing what sticks, it helps to perform a comprehensive audit to see where your website stands and what you need to work on to achieve your goals. A local SEO audit may include the following:
Why does internal linking matter? It does the following:
Make it easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.
To learn more about using Google My Business, check out our full post here.
7. Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content.
Don’t just do this for the SEO, either. By having reviews and keeping your contact information and operating hours up-to-date, you’re improving the experience for potential customers to find you. Finding current information is important to consumers, now more than ever, due to 2020’s disruption in consumer shopping behavior and business operation.
Consider sponsoring a webinar or meet-up, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, and building relationships with prominent people and influencers. Additionally, learn to feel comfortable reaching out to partners to see if they can feature you on their partner directory.
If you want to improve your internal linking structure but aren’t sure where to start, check out Kissmetrics’ The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top-Notch SEO.
If you have more than one brick and mortar location, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your name, address, phone number, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, and testimonials from happy customers.
Start with your own personal network, which may include the Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, licensing bureaus, trade associations, resellers, vendors, and/or manufacturers and other affiliates.
Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment is to look up reviews, find directions to your location, and search for contact information. In fact, “near me” searches on mobile have increased 250% since 2017 (Think With Google).
For example, given that .edu links are the bee’s knees for domain authority, why not earn some links by featuring a scholarship in your geographic region? It should be relevant to your industry, send the right signals to your domain (given the backlinks from schools) … and make you feel good, too! Moz built up a solid guide on the steps to success for effective scholarship outreach.
Google continues to get smarter, which means content creators are now able to truly write for users, not search engines. But while writing about general topics will attract a wide crowd, sometimes it’s more important to hone your focus and write about local or industry news to attract a local audience.
This desktop program crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective. Curious if you have any 404’s? Wondering about missing meta descriptions or H1’s? Screaming Frog will analyze up to 500 URLs for free and offers an unlimited paid version for $200/year.
To ensure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want to:
Now that we’ve covered how to optimize your business for local SEO, let’s explore some useful tools you can leverage to improve your ranking in the areas where it matters most.