Nowadays, businesses rely significantly on local SEO as their critical strategy to stand out of the crowd and face their competitors. Local SEO is considerably effective both for personal businesses and client-orientated agency, and it is often decisive for obtaining a higher SERP position.
Shifting results locally meant the world to many small, locally-ran businesses, because users were for the first time able to distinguish organic from local, and websites started ranking accordingly. Searcher proximity and physical addresses became strong ranking factors, and every business got the chance to attract clients instead of being ‘smashed’ by bigger and established competitors.
This is how a good local SEO campaign should look like:
1. To have completed its total local SEO analysis
2. To have brainstormed and analyzed the most appropriate attack strategy
3. To have implemented the chosen strategy
4. To have predicted results for the upcoming few months
5. To be enabled to switch plans if something is not going well.
Today’s local SEO audits start at Google My Business, what previously used to be Google Places. Google My Business has a comprehensive business dashboard which contains a bundle of useful information for starters and confirms that their business data is accurate and well-adjusted to the guidelines prescribed by Google (which are by the way difficult to follow, as they change very often).
Predetermined site structure
Instead of coming up with a structure in the final stage of your website’s development, try to draft it in advance, so that everything else you plan will be suitable for it. Did you think of specific goals and targets? Did you think how to keep your audience engaged, preventing bounce rating? If not, that’s the moment to do it, otherwise, you will be letting the big factors decide on your behalf. These are the other important aspects to consider before you move ahead:
– Is your business run from a single or more locations?
– Does the business multiple services, and do they have their separate pages?
– Does the same suite of keywords target multiple cities, including those where the business is not physically present?
The content on your landing page has to be unique
What genuinely changed the Local SEO game is the content requirement, as nothing less than insightful, unique, and relevant content is accepted anymore. You’re no longer looking for the most appropriate keywords for your content, but starting with them and letting content roll around them to inspire users to perform the desired action.
An important part of the task is to familiarize with the leading local competitors and coming up with your own variations from the main keyword set you need.
Next, try to get hands around your competitors’ backlinks, since that’s where the core of Google’s ranking algorithm is focused. Spammy backlinks are no longer acceptable, and in order for Google to rate you well, you need to choose only relevant and clearly connected links. As a matter of fact, it is those links that will show your readers what your content and cause is about before they’ve read it.
The importance of direct data in local SEO
Ever since SERPs (search engine result pages) started requiring direct data, companies are obliged to share more of their information in order to rank higher on the search engines. Direct data usually refers to granular information portions you’d see listed next to a particular business among the search engine results.
There is no better way to improve customer experience than good local SEO
Believe it or not, the customer’s will to purchase your product is not a result of the product itself, but the entire experience you’ve provided from the landing page to the checkout moment. Obviously, you can’t always control what sales agents are doing or choose their wording, but the online shopping experience is definitely a ball in your court.
As a matter of fact, business is about to depend completely on customer experience, and there will be no need of human interaction when managing whatever type of customer-company interaction. Despite being invisible, your online marketing role has to try and make the most to capitalize on such trend, which obviously requires your presence on the market to be consistent and concise.
The way how a business’s GMB page will rank on a search engine depends mostly on common SEO ranking signals, such as the amount of words the pages contain, and keywords in particular. As expected, a high ranking organic website will have an equally high ranking GMB page.
When it comes to the most important GMB ranking factors, we should take a look at the GMB page signals first. By signals, we refer to imagery, reviews, comments, and the presence of an obvious association with an Owner verified profile. Including keywords on the GMB page (in the business’s name in particular) is definitely the most popular GMB signal, which according to some research can make the page rate approximately 1.5 spots higher.
Still, local SEO in 2016 will require you to abandon the traditional SEO comfort zone, and invest in backlinks and SEO optimization strategies rather than focusing on Google My Business.
2016 rankings and what to do next
In order to understand local SEO ranking opportunities for 2016, we should take a look at the work of Marcus Miller, a popular columnist who distinguishes important from negative search engine ranking factors, revealing trends and opportunities for pushing your way ahead of the competitors.
Before reading whatever else, you should be aware of the fact that local SEO is much more difficult nowadays than it used to be before. Google’s local pack tightened form 7 to 3 listings and became almost unreachable with all that fierce ads competition going on ever since the beginning of the year. As you can guess, local SEO is accepted nowhere below ‘100% to the point’, as the local pack is so small, and only a few best businesses are displayed in the SERPs (assuming the user has no intention to check expanded results too).
What 2016 brought on the scene is a harsh battleground and fight for survival, where each business is doing the impossible to appear on paid and organic listings (check here How to Increase Your Blog Traffic Fast), and to preserve those results for as long as possible. It is not a surprise at all that only the best businesses manage to do it, unluckily for sites that don’t really pay that much attention to polishing details.
The current indicators reveal an important clue: Local SEO will only grow and gain importance in the upcoming years. Marketers must stop looking at Google as the ‘punishing machine’ and start making use of its clear position indicators, trends, and opportunities to improve their SERP rankings. Google and other search engines do an incredibly good job helping businesses target the most relevant audience and increase it.
The most recent Google update is ‘Pigeon’, thanks to which local SEO became the most prominent force motivating marketers and businesses to concentrate on local tangents instead. Therefore, make sure you have the right location-specific keyword suite and a content which is personalized enough to excite your audience and help you keep the pace with future developments. Reading some stats and adopting ranking best practices is also a recommendable course of action for every business.
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