Marketing Micro-Community Vol.3
Users are searching for businesses near them and purchasing at incredible rates. A study done by BrightLocal found that 76% of users who search for something nearby on their phone visit a business within a day. 28% of those searches result in a purchase, with 30% of all mobile searches having some local intent behind them. Searches for “near me” are seeing rises of 2.4x year over year.
So, what all does it take to start ranking higher and start reaching new customers with Google? While there are 200+ indicators, Search Engine Land summed it up very well with the chart below and we’ll go over each one to give you an idea of what you need to do.
1. My Business Signals
Setting up a Google My Business profiles is one of the easiest things you can do to see a boost in the local rankings. Make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP info) are consistent across the board with both your site and to other directories you submit information.
2. External Location Signals
Use a tool like BrightLocal (their citation burst is the plan you want, it’s incredibly affordable and much better than YEXT and other tools in my experience) to submit your site to directories. Make sure you’re added to the “Big 4” aggregators (Axciom, InfoGroup, Factual, Neustar Localeze) and as many other relevant directories as possible. You may want to keep track of where you submit everything in a spreadsheet, and to make sure that everything is consistent.
If your name in Google My Business is “James & Sons Plumbing Co.”, don’t submit with variations such as “James and Sons Plumbing Co.”, “James & Sons Plumbing Co. LLC”, or “James & Sons Plumbing Company”. Any variations can get you penalized. The same applies to your address and phone number.
3. On-Page Signals
Having your NAP information, an SSL, alt tagged images, schema data, and loads of relevant content on a fast and responsive site is the perfect on-page recipe to shoot up in the rankings. Also, add relevant meta titles & descriptions to all of your pages.
- Free SSL’s: Let’s Encrypt, Cloudflare (Recommended)
- Optimizing Speed: Colorlib Guide, Pingdom Speed Test, Google Developer Insights
- Adding Meta Titles & Descriptions: Yoast
- Responsive Checker: Google Mobile-Friendly Test
- Submitting Sitemaps: Google Search Console
4. Link Signals
Quality signals from links make up about 18% of your ranking. There are 3 different factors to consider when link building for your site. The number of links your site has, the quality of the links, and the relevance of the content linking to you all play a role.
To check who’s linking to you, use Google Search Console. If you see anything spammy, disavow it with their tool to avoid a penalty.
5. Review Signals
Reviews are growing as a ranking factor every year, with ~10% of the ranking signals. The quality of the reviews you have (your star rating), the quantity, and the velocity of the reviews you have are all important. Your Google My Business profile is still the most important place for customers to leave reviews for SEO.
- 84% of people put the same trust in online reviews as they do personal recommendations (Bright Local)
- 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked
- 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
6. Social Signals
The strength of your company on social continues to play a small role in 2017, though it may be a secondary factor (Google doesn’t disclose their actual algorithm, so when studies are done it’s hard to tell whether Google directly measures these or if they correlate to other factors like links).
7. Behavioral Signals
As is with national SEO, Google looks at the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and dwell time on your site. Additionally, mobile click-to-call and driving direction clicks help influence the algorithm. Making sure that the things you’re trying to rank for are relevant and provide valuable information to the user will help with all of these.
If a visitor has viewed a site before, that site is more likely to come up higher for relevant keywords. There’s really nothing you can do to influence this, but it’s 8.4% of the algorithm so it’s worth mentioning.
Google changes nearly every week, so it’s important to note the date this article was published when making decisions about your SEO strategy and look at outside sources to help get an idea of other things you can do to. I’ve included a list of good resources to get you started below.
About the Author:
Find him on twitter: @AlexDRiddle
WOW! Now you know all about local search & SEO, it is time to get to work. Let us know what helped you get your business found on local!
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