How to improve local search rankings

Everyone, from small local shops to large food chains, searches for ways to find more customers. And today, one of the most effective ways to advertise your service is to rank high in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). But, the marketplace is a highly competitive place. Because of that, smaller businesses need to focus on local SEO. This strategy gives them a solid opportunity to promote their brand, service, and products in a specific area. Knowing how to improve local search rankings will allow them to remain competitive even with larger competitors.

Effective ways to improve local search rankings

Local SEO should be a crucial part of every SEO strategy, especially for local businesses. Running your business store with a physical location just doesn’t have the same promotional effect anymore. These days, you need to optimize your online appearance and improve your website traffic. All in an effort to get more potential clients and increase conversions. If you do it with the local area in mind, everyone nearby will be able to easily find you over the internet.

A design idea for a simple website.
Every local business should have an appealing and easy to navigate website.

Before we begin, let’s take a look at what local SEO is. In simple words, it’s optimizing your website for better local search rankings. Search engines use various signals like content, links, citations, and other factors, to determine which website is most relevant to local searches. Google and other major search engines are primarily focusing on the value their results are providing to users. With this in mind, you will need a professional SEO team such as AZ Citation Services to constantly work on your SEO, in case of changes.

To get the best results, and significantly improve your online presence, it’s important to keep up with proven strategies to improve local search position:

  • Analyze your competitors
  • Optimize your citations
  • Focus on Google My Business
  • Optimize for mobile devices
  • Improve local search rankings with link building
  • Don’t neglect your internal linking structure
  • Actively manage reviews

Analyze your competitors

Probably the first step to do is to see what your competitors are doing. Even if you are an experienced SEO professional, this kind of analytics is a good way to start. Check other businesses in your area and see what strategies they are using. Mostly because this is a fast way to discover what is working and what is not. From an SEO standpoint, this is also a good way to learn about their weaknesses.

Businesswoman analyzing the online market situation.
Good analytics is fundamental for creating a proper SEO strategy.

Optimize your citations to improve local search rankings

To acquire better visibility, you will need to submit citations to important local directories and review websites. By creating a quality business listing profile, you will undoubtedly expand the awareness of your brand. This, of course, doesn’t mean you should spam your business information across the internet. Although numbers are important, a huge significance is placed on quality. That’s why you should focus on popular and authoritative websites. For instance, these are some important places you should submit your business information:

  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Whitepages
  • CitySearch
  • Foursquare
  • and many more

By submitting your business information like name, address, phone number, and website URL, you are improving your local SEO. There are also large data aggregators to consider, mostly because they are providing and spreading information further. And the government, education, and the chamber of commerce websites in your area. In addition, the key point is to pay attention to the consistency of your citations. And to regularly update them if they change.

Focus on Google My Business

Today, Google My Business (GMB) is definitely the most crucial element of every local SEO strategy. It’s one of the most comprehensive business listings you can have for your business. And, being one of Google’s creations, it’s a highly relevant factor for local rankings. However, optimizing your GMB profile is no small task, especially if your business has multiple locations. Mostly because, like with other listings, you need to regularly audit and cleanup your listings and keep the information up to date. But, it will ensure the relevance, accuracy of the information, and eventually higher ranking position in local results.

Optimize for mobile devices

In most cases (about 80%), people use smartphones when conducting quick searches over the internet. They want to know who can help, where to find, and what others have to say about a particular business. They need precise information, and they need it now. And notably, an important element of those search queries is that they are local searches. That’s why one of the ways to optimize your local SEO should be mobile-friendly optimization. There are various methods, but the most common are the mobile-first concept, responsive design, and user-friendly approach.

People holding their smartphones and searching.
Today, smartphones are the main tools for quick access to information.

Improve local search rankings with link building

Just like with formal SEO, you will need a proper link building strategy for your local SEO. Of course, the more quality links you have the better. But, you should also place more effort on acquiring quality links with localization in mind. Find websites that are relevant to your location. Those with high authority, and at the same time from your region, can be the most valuable links you can get. Chambers of commerce, education, and different government websites can give a high value links to your website. Also, there are blogs from experts in the industry, diverse influences on social media and other networks, and so on.

Don’t neglect your internal linking structure

Another thing that can help you improve local search rankings is your websites internal link structure. First of all, it will improve your website navigation. Which, again, leads to a better user experience. Besides that, better hierarchy and architecture will allow easier crawling and indexing by search engines. In addition to the more efficient distribution of page authority and link juice among pages. All things considered, both inbound and outbound links are important for your local SEO campaign.

Actively manage reviews

Active engagement with customers through online reviews can improve local search rankings. Just like with regular customer service, you should answer the questions and show appreciation when someone leaves a review. Even if it’s a bad review, you should answer and try to solve the issue. This way you show that you value your customers and that you are willing to fix any problems. The relationship you maintain with customers and the trust you earn can affect and improve local search rankings.

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