Improving Your Local SEO
Last year, Google updated the page that explains the factors it uses when determining local search rankings. There are three primary factors that Google uses when determining rankings. These factors are Relevance, Distance, and Prominence.
While the page itself contains useful information that can help you to improve your local search rankings, there are other steps you can take as well.
To improve your rankings, you should:
* Update your Google My Business listing to improve your Relevance.
* Make it easy for Google to identify your location show that users a short Distance away from you can find your business.
* Interact with your customers so that you can increase your prominence.
There are many factors associated with Relevance, Distance, and Prominence that can impact where your site appears in local search results. Word-of-mouth and online reviews can both play a significant role.
What Is Relevance?
The term “Relevance” describes how well a listing matches what a user is searching for. When someone local uses search terms that are relevant to your business, will they see your site in the results?
One of the best ways to improve your Relevance is to update your Google My Business Listing. Take the time to:
* Confirm your address, phone number, and location
* Update your business hours
* Take the time to respond to online reviews
* Upload photos
Updating your Google My Business info won’t cost you anything but time, and it can have a significant impact. It’s important to ensure that anyone that finds your business online is seeing accurate information. If you have an incorrect address or the wrong hours listed, you could lose out on a potential customer.
When it comes to reviews, your priority should be engaging with your customers. Make sure your customers know that you care about their feelings and experiences. When someone leaves you positive feedback, say “thank you.” If someone leaves you a negative review, apologize and see if you can make things right.
Visual information is very important to users, which is why you’ll also want to upload photos. It can be helpful to include a photo of your building. That way, if someone is visiting your business for the first time, they’ll know what they should be looking for.
Although some of these steps, like managing reviews, can take up a lot of time, the effort you put in will pay off in a big way. If you work to make your site more relevant, you’ll have a clear advantage over many of your competitors.
Google has mentioned that Relevance is one of the main factors it considers in local search rankings. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that search engines will see your site as relevant to the terms users are searching for. The more valuable information you include in your My Business listing, the more likely it is that your site will be perceived as relevant.
What Is Distance?
In local searches, Distance refers to the distance between the search result and the location a user is searching in.
If someone used a search term like “coffee shops in Orlando,” Google would show them coffee shops that are in Orlando or near the Orlando area. If users don’t specify their location when searching, Google uses the information it has about the user’s location to calculate distance.
While you can’t control what people search for, you can make sure that it’s easy for search engines to determine your location. That way, when local users search for a business like yours, they’ll be directed to your site.
You’ll have more success in this area if you provide more information. It’s essential that your Google My Business listing is completely filled out. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you’ll want to have your address and phone number listed on your site. The more you do to help users and Google determine your location, the better your results will be.
What Is Prominence?
While Relevance and Distance are both essential to local SEO, Prominence is the most vital factor to consider.
The term “Prominence” describes the popularity of a business. Google looks at both online and offline prominence when deciding how to rank a site. Examples of online prominence include linkbacks and directory listings. Examples of offline prominence include branded stores, museums, and more. Google also looks at the number of reviews your business has, its ratings, and its search position.
Even though Google aims to keep the specifics of their search algorithm a secret, there are some things we’re aware they want to see on sites. Ultimately, the best practices for your customers will also be the best practices for SEO.
Prominence is essentially popularity, which is why you’ll want to take steps to improve your business’ reputation. Do what you can to improve awareness of your business. Go above and beyond so that you can earn positive word of mouth. Not only can reviews have a major impact, but you’ll also have higher rankings if other sites link to yours.
Getting authoritative sites to link to yours and encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews can benefit you in many ways. It can improve your Prominence and help potential customers find your business in other ways as well.
What can you do to improve your Prominence? You should try to connect with your customers to encourage them to write a review. You may want to automate this process and send review requests out to users on your mailing list. To sweeten the deal, you could even offer some sort of perk in exchange for leaving a review. For example, you could offer them a discount on a future order or a free beverage during their next visit.
Even a small incentive can give you big results. Plenty of people will be glad to leave you a review. You’ll see an increase in reviews even if you don’t do anything more than ask your customers for feedback.
Improving Your Local Rankings
Google has provided users with valuable information about the factors that it looks for when determining local search rankings. These are actionable suggestions that can help your site to appear in local rankings.
Since this information is publicly available, you can safely assume that your competitors are following these guidelines. You should take the same steps. Make sure that your site is fully optimized for local searches.
Begin with your Google My Business listing. Look your listing over and see if any information is outdated or missing. Provide accurate information and confirm that your listing is fully updated. From there, you can follow the other steps listed above to bring more local traffic to your site.