Top 10 Local SEO Ranking Factors
Today we will be discussing the top 10 local (SEO) search engine optimization ranking factors that will make you the king in your market.
Businesses that are located in or around Daytona Beach, Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida, this information will help you get a better score on the organic search result pages and in google maps, called the local 3 pack which will enable you to get more visitors.
1. Google My Business & Bing Places For Business
More searches are performed locally on google than any other place on the internet. But keep in mind there are many people that use Bing also. So we’ll discuss both because your business wants all the traffic it can get so you can have an opportunity to make more money.
Google My Business
Google my business is the starting point for all local business that want to increase traffic both online and offline. It is a free service offered by google and will help you get found in the local organic and map search for your community. More people use google search than all the other search engines combined and your business needs to take advantage of their free services.
Here is where you can let people know your business hours, phone number and have a link to your website. You can post specials, share any news stories you have or any other information that you think would be important to your visitors. In addition, you can make changes and google will update them immediately.
Your business can post pictures or even add video. Lets say you own a steakhouse in Daytona Beach, Florida. You could post a picture of a flaming delicious steak with your special pricing to draw visitors to your location. Google also encourages reviews. Stay on the lookout and engage with your visitors.
Google My Business New Features
One of google’s newest features is that you can build a simple website in under 10 minutes. We highly recommend you build your own website. There is no substitute in having your own control and have the opportunity for better ranking with your own business website. In addition, restaurants can now add a menu on google my business.
One final note is claim your listing and keep it updated. People can comment and even claim your listing. Everything is mobilized. You can update from any type of device. So answer all comments, claim your listing and get it verified.
Bing Places For Business
Bing places for business has a three step process of getting listed. Here you can list your hours of operation, address, and phone number. If your business changes hours during a holiday season ensure you post the changes.
You can also post pictures about your business. Lets say you own a restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. Now, on Friday nights you have a fish fry special. Post a picture with your pricing so people that are searching on Bing in your local area can find out all about your business.
Tell your story about your business so visitors know what you offer. Use plenty of pictures. Even a image of the staff. Don’t forget to include how customers can get a hold of you. Include the services you offer or even a menu url.
Bing may not be the biggest place to list your business. But it is also free to include your business for your community. This is another way to get visitors to your business so you can increase your profits.
One thing you must ensure happens is that you verify your listing so no one can make changes to your account. Bing is also mobilized and you can make changes to your account from any type of device.
2. Mobile (Smartphones)
Mobile is now referred to as smartphones. Making sure your website has speed is one of the big local SEO ranking factors. Not just for the search engines but your customers better have speed or they will bounce off your site in a heartbeat.
Run a website speed test anytime you perform an update. That test will also provide you with performance insights. Pingdom will explain what issues you need to take care of to get a faster speed. In addition, they will list other issues you may need to take care of on your website. Try to get your website speed below 2 seconds or faster. The faster the better it is for visitors.
Hosting of your website is another item that could be affecting the speed of your website. If your using WordPress make sure you get WordPress Hosting for your website. Shared hosting will not give you the speed you need.
We found an interesting article comparing a couple of the best website hosting companies that you may find helpful. We also found a few other great pointers on that website that could help you out if your trying to learn more information about internet marketing.
Responsive Websites Are Preferred By Google
Google now prefers responsive websites that are smartphone ready and have made it official with their Mobile SEO Overview. Responsive design of your website is a big local SEO ranking factor to consider in order for your business to get a higher rank score.
Smartphones have taken over the way we search. It just makes since. That way your visitors and customers have a better viewing experience. Look at your website on a smartphone. It must be simple to navigate. You got to be able to operate everything with your thumbs and fingers. It must be easy to get around your site and is a must for smartphone users.
If you have to stretch the screen to read your content your website needs some work. People hate it when that happens. It is a good way to lose a customer. It’s just good customer service and your business cannot afford to lose money. Get a responsive website design and keep your customers happy with speed.
3. Website Structure
Website structure is not only important for the search engines but your visitors as well. Especially when it comes to using smartphones. As we mentioned in the mobile section, your website must have a responsive design and be simple and easy to navigate.
We will not discuss schema at this point. Schema was founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. Over 10 million sites use schema.org to mark up their web pages. We will provide you a link on how to get started using schema for more information.
Your menu should be easy for anyone to use and again especially with mobile devices. Your keywords should be in your h1 (which should be your headline) and as necessary in your h2 headlines. Then h3 and h4 if needed. Remember each page of your website will have an entire new headline. Each page must be designed with keywords that you are trying to rank for and laid out logically.
One other thing is that your entire website should focus on what your business is about. Each page should be a part of the overall theme. Let me give you an example. If you have a restaurant. The main page should be about your brand and give the information to identify your business. It should give them a picture of what your business represents.
All the information like name of business, address, phone number, hours, social fan pages. It is like the front of your business with your signage. The other pages inside will break everything down into categories like we mentioned above. Keep everything relevant.
Speaking of relevant. Keep your content relevant on each page of your website. It you own a restaurant you do not need a page about your favorite cars. Unless that is your restaurant theme a course. Content consist of images, videos, and writing. Use everything wisely.
Why Site Structure?
Why is website structure important? People that come to your website want to find your products and services. Putting them in a logical and organized matter makes it easy to find your products or information that may interest them.
Just like a menu in a restaurant. You would not put a cake (desserts) with a steak dinner (main menu). That is why a menu is organized with appetizers, then the main menu (that it broken into sub menus), the side dishes, children’s menu, desserts and then beverages.
It works the same way with your website structure. Make easy to find your products. Break them down into categories & sub categories. You want to do this with your website menu. It is just easier for navigation on your site and will cause less confusion.
Look at your website from a desktop and a smartphone to see if you need to make any changes within your design. We have seen many websites look great on a desktop and then from a mobile screen, pictures were in an awkward spot. Charts were unable to read. That is why you have to check this stuff out. Look at it from a customers viewpoint.
Last point. Submit a sitemap to the search engines.
4. Local Citations Are Local SEO Ranking Factors
First off, what are local citations? Citations are places online where your business is mentioned. People find your business online with these citations and that is why they are one of the many local SEO ranking factors that can benefit your business.
They give visitors a way of finding your business, location, phone number on the internet. Every business is different and you must choose the right citations for your business.
We are going to be discussing structured citation listings first. Almost every business can use these type of citations. We are concentrating on the ones that are located in the good ole USA.
These citations are for all local businesses in Daytona Beach, Orlando or Jacksonville, Florida that want to increase your local SEO ranking score. Here are a few that we feel are important to our market.
- Google My Business
- Bing Places For Business
- Apple Maps
- Yahoo Local
- Dunn & Bradstreet (D&B)
- Map Quest
- Yellow Pages
- Merchant Circle
- Angie’s List
- Hot Frog
- Yellow Book
- Brown Book
- B2B Yellow Pages
Those are a few that will get you started. You can check out each citation and you will want to look to see if they have a free listing or a paid listing. Depending on your budget, you can decide the best option for your business. Just apply for a few per month and build up your citation with a little time.
Industry Specific Citations Is Your Next Step
Each type of business should get listed in their industry specific citation groups. Restaurants, lawyers, auto repair, coffee shops, car dealerships, accountants and what ever category your business is in there are specific citations you should get a listing for.
For example a car dealership does not need to be listed in Urban Spoon or Zomato because these are restaurant specific citation sites. Our good friends at Moz will help us today find specific citations by category that would be best suited for your type of business in the USA. Do a little research to find what is best for your business.
5. NAP – Name Address & Phone Number
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Your Nap must be exactly the same where ever it is listed. NAP is what the search engines gather to find your business and to check if you are who you say you are. One dot could give the wrong information about your business and lead to a lower search score.
Where ever you list your business, list the information exactly the same way every single time. Here are a couple of fake examples for illustrative purposes only;
(Name) Big Fat Mack Cat Restaurant (Address) 1234 Daytona Beach St. Daytona Beach, Florida 32117 (Phone Number) 123-345-6789
(Name) Big Fat Mack Cat Restaurant (Address) 1234 Daytona Beach Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32117 (Phone Number) 800-345-6789
Now look at both listings. Can you see what is wrong? 1st they both have the same business name.
2nd the addresses are different. One has Daytona Beach St. and the other one has Daytona Beach Street.
You must have the an exact match on all data you provide. Even a (.) dot has to be the same.
3rd the phone number is 123-345-6789 and the other is 800-345-6789. They must match and you should list your local phone number.
So, do a search online and see what you can find out about your own small business. It is one of the many local seo ranking factors that you want to keep an eye on for a better search score for your small business in Jacksonville or Orlando, Florida. We all want better rankings for our businesses and in order to make that happen we must pay attention to detail.
6. Reviews Are One Of The Local SEO Ranking Factors
Local reviews for your business can give the firepower your site needs to move up in the local search results. Google will tell you right from the beginning of signing up for your google my business account that they (meaning google) encourage reviews. It should be the first place that you need to make it happen. How to get reviews and what you need to know.
Now when we type in steakhouse Jacksonville, Florida. We find 3 listing on the top of the local maps search results. One of the major reasons is the reviews they are receiving. Good local reviews for your business increases the results for local search. Naturally there are other local SEO ranking factors getting them to the top of the 3 map pack.
Some people say just ask for a review face to face. Now Yelp is against it and apparently google is for it. We are going with google folks. It will be up to your business on which way you go.
Ask a few questions first. So was your steak cooked like you wanted it? Great about the service, was your waiter kind and considerate? Was our service quick? Did your waiter check back and make sure you had everything you needed?
Make sure you immediately take care of any concerns the customers have. Then ask, do you you mind posting a positive review about your dining experience this evening? Pull out your tablet or phone and get it done.
You can get more social media engagement by offering your customers rewards and by using your free WiFi. Reward program are simple and easy with digital loyalty punch cards.
Your business may be giving away free WiFi. Let them know as soon as they start using your free WiFi service if they could comment on your service and dining experience. Better yet, use social WiFi marketing so you can already start out with a like on your Facebook fan page.
Keep Customer Happy Then Ask For A Positive Review
First and foremost, make sure the customer is happy. Taking care of the customer should be priority number one. That’s how you earn your money. Once you know they are satisfied and good to go. Make it part of the experience of doing business with you. Ask for the review on google, Facebook, your website or another place you have your reviews.
Get an email if possible and let them know that you need it for follow up, newsletters, specials, or coupons they can receive. Include a review with any follow up. Make sure you thank them and ask, do mind giving us a positive review. Why not if everything went well.
Train your staff to ask for reviews. Like we said earlier, make it part of the presentation and closing. Reviews are a big time part of the local seo ranking factors. People look for reviews most of the time before they go some where or before they buy a product or service.
7. Social Media Is One The Local SEO Ranking Factors
Social Media is great for building your brand. Don’t think your jumping right on and selling your products. Although, this has happened. Take a look and figure out what social media sites that are best for your business. You might want statistical data to help you decide what social media sites to use.
It takes time to build your brand on these social media networks. Pictures and videos are great content to use when posting on your favorite site. Have a little fun. It doesn’t always have to be about business. Show people you are a real person. Share other local businesses post. Start networking with other local businesses in Daytona Beach, Jacksonville or even in Orlando, Florida.
We are all neighbors and we all should support one another. Offer tips about your services. Share funny stories about projects you got going on. Let your employee’s share on your social sites. Sometimes they have the best ideas and can help you build a following.
Social Media Helps Build Your Brand & Your Local SEO Ranking
Building your brand takes time and so does your local seo ranking. They work sort of hand in hand. Your trying to build trust and recognition. We call them little billboards online. The more people see them, the more they will start recognizing your brand. Just don’t waste your whole day on social media sites.
Make it part of your daily routine and just post a few pictures about something interesting that will capture attention from your audience. Have you read the article that Neil Patel wrote? The ultimate guide to social media marketing for local businesses. It will give you more insight on this subject.
Here are a few of the social media sites you might want to consider to build your brand and improve your local SEO ranking.
- You Tube
That should get you started on your social media sites. Building your brand takes time. Trust and recognition is what it will take. Remember social media, are little billboards online and they are free to use. They pay off with time because your local seo score will start increasing.
8. Video Is Great For Marketing Marketing & Local SEO Ranking
Video is probably one of the most important mobile marketing ideas that you should start using. It’s also another one of local SEO ranking factors that can gain your business some traffic because of the influence it has and the value video provides. Smartphones are a very inexpensive way of telling your story. You can always go out and produce a professional video if you got the funds.
Post a video on your google my business page. Here are a few things you should include;
- Introduce Your Company
- Share Your Story About Your Business
- Employee’s (What They Do Behind the Scenes)
- Testimonials (Optional)
- Thank Your Customers
That is a good guide to show the local market what your business is about. You can create other videos to reinforce your message. Maybe events that you participate in. Company holidays you and your employees enjoy. Company picnics or fun meeting you’ve had. Just get a little creative.
Video Marketing for Local Business
Now when it comes to marketing your business video there are a few things you will need to do to get it found online in your local area. You can also use these videos to share on other social media sites.
- Start Business You Tube Account
- Produce The Video
- Choose Keywords For The Video
- Include Location (Ex: Daytona Beach or Jacksonville, Florida)
Location should be in the title, description and any tags. If you post to Twitter use hashtag for location. Example; #Orlando Florida or #Daytona Beach.
- Write Up A Brief Description About The Video
- Add A link To Your Business Website After The Description
Keep it simple, easy and short. Video marketing is easy and can be fun. You can use your smartphone. It is just a preview about your company or something about your company. Just like Hollywood. You’ve seen a movie preview. It gives enough information so you can go and check it out. You can also create “How To Videos” for your products.
9. Engagement Is A Must For Local SEO
How can your business even get engagement from your visitors? You must have some type of good content or an action. Video marketing is leading the way. What you write on your website pages is a good place to start. Maybe, even how your business looks inside and out with photos. You never know who is observing you online or offline.
The more content you produce online, the more engagement opportunities you will have. You want to produce good quality relevant content. Engagement will come from all your good content like; your website, citations, videos, social media or images and from the way you and your employees treat your customers.
In addition, it could of been an action that causes engagement. How a customer was treated, the food you served them, customer service, billing or a number of other opportunities that just pop up. It’s all about how well you handle the situation. Good or bad. Face it head on. It could be a problem and you just need to respond with a solution.
Engagement – Good Or Bad Can Have A Positive Impact On Your Local SEO Ranking
Good or bad, you must engage with that customer or visitor to explain the circumstances. If it’s a bad experience respond quickly and explain how you can make it better and still thank them. Now if it’s a good experience you probably already know what to do.
We all have had the customer that is never going to be satisfied. The best thing you can do is at least come to an understanding. Express your concerns and let them vent theirs. Keep it professional. Do not take it personal. Stay calm.
Engagement can lead to a lot of reviews. So answer quickly, professionally and just tell the truth. By doing so you will see that your local SEO ranking to start to climb. People can tell if your real or not. So just do the right thing.
10. Link Building For Local SEO Ranking
Building good quality links is the best local SEO ranking factors that you can perform. We saved the best for last because once you have initiated all the other search engine optimization ranking factors your on your way to moving all the way up to the top. Naturally you will need more links and the other tasks performed better than your competitor.
The more you work at it, the better your ranking score. You actually already started building a few links or mentions with your citations. Now we are going to pick up some more localized links bringing more power to your local seo ranking.
Lets start with the Chamber of Commerce. Most business that support the local community want to be a member. Check out your local Chamber and find out what it takes to add your listing. It will also allow you to gain some contacts that could further your linking capabilities. Also, it sends a signal to the search engines that you mean business.
Linking That May Require More Work & Relationships
Like we talked about with the Chamber. It is your chance to network and build some relationships to give you more quality links. Don’t forget about your competition. They have already acquired some valuable links and you just need to find out where they are from. You don’t want quantity. Go for the quality links that will give you the power you need.
Associations, suppliers and trade shows that are specific to your business. Here are some examples; the first one search for suppliers for a restaurant in Daytona Beach;
Type in the search box; restaurant + suppliers + Daytona Beach, then click the enter button and they you have it.
Next lets look for associations for auto dealers in Jacksonville, Florida;
Type in the search box; auto dealers + associations + Jacksonville, Florida. Then click the enter button and there they are.
One more. Lets search for trade shows for the medical profession in Orlando, Florida.
Type in the search box; medical + trade shows + Orlando, Florida. Then click the enter button and your in business.
There are many more ways. But when we need the ultimate list of local link building for our business, we link over to nifty marketing. You want local links that will move you up in the search ranking. Remember, you want good quality links.
We have shown you numerous local seo ranking factors that can improve your local search score. It takes a lot of time and smart working habits to ensure it happens. It all pays off in the form of you gaining higher rankings in the local serps and increase traffic busting thru the doors of your small business.
Mobile Biz Buzz gets your Biz Buzzing so you’re getting a little bonus tip and that is choosing the right keywords. That’s next folks.