Local SEO A-Z #1: Ranking Factors
With Google giving Local more and more attention, we’re running through all aspects of Local Search, from its ranking factors, to how it ties in with mobile. More and more searchers are looking for businesses nearby to them, so it has become more important than ever to optimise your website for Local, so that you can appear in the Google carousel.
Local can be tricky. Not only is it affected by traditional SEO ranking factors, but also specific elements such as citation building, user reviews and of course, Google My Business.
In this post we’ll be starting with the basics, by running through what should be a pretty comprehensive road map for the Local SEO ranking factors in 2017.
Traditional SEO ranking factors undoubtedly have a huge effect on whether you appear in Google’s Local features, so it’s crucial not to forget about them when trying to optimise for Local.
Backlinks continue to be very important to Google, so it should be no surprise to learn that this applies to Local Search as well. High quality links to your website are fundamental to ranking in the top three in the carousel. Links can be a tricky business though, and Google’s spam team is continually looking to stamp down on unnatural link building. So make sure those links are relevant and high quality.
Much talk in the industry in recent times has been about how Google’s algorithm is moving away from onsite content as much as it is other factors. However, surveys have proven that this isn’t necessarily the case, especially with Local. It’s still essential SEO practice to use the right keywords in the content on your webpages and use the correct amount of content. Think about it, if you wanted to rank for ‘Go Karting in South London’, it would be a missed opportunity not to include this keyword on your website.
It goes without saying that you need to make sure your website is technically sound if you want to stand a chance of ranking anywhere for anything. However, if you want to make sure that specific pages on your website have a chance of making it into Google features, then it’s worth implementing certain technical elements that are specific to Local. This includes locally optimised page titles, header hierarchy and schema coding.
On top of the ‘old school’ elements that are important to rank for Local, there are a number of other vital ranking factors that are more specific to Local search.
Google My Business
You might not have to sign up to Google My Business in order to show up in the Local Packs, but you’d be foolish not to as it’s quick, simple and you can tell Google exactly what you want to appear. You can then add your own photos and respond to reviews. There’s a strong correlation between activity on Google My Business and good rankings for Local search.
Although citations don’t necessarily have a huge effect on whether you will make it into Local Packs, it’s important that you stick with them and keep consistency. It’s beneficial to fix any issues your citations might have – such as duplicity – but there’s more ranking value in some of the other SEO elements.
Ranking factors for Local Search continue to regularly change, so if you are looking for some help with navigating yourself around, then why not talk to one of our SEO experts here at Tamar? If you’re a business with a focus on local enquiries, then we can make sure that you give yourself the best chance of appearing in the Local Packs.