With the recent release of the 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors survey from Moz, an SEO consulting company, we can begin to gather information that will help clients rank better within the local Google search results moving forward. As search continues to deviate from the traditional ways that once helped businesses appear at the top of the search results pages, it is important that we continually look at and learn from these surveys so that we don’t get left in a cloud of dust within the search results pages. Below are a few ways to help businesses appear within local searches.
SEO Still a Factor
Within the results of the survey, the answer that SEO still plays a big factor when ranking is evident. Proper category associations, keywords, unified directory listing information and city, state and places in landing page all still play an important part of a business being found when a potential customer searches for their services. It should also be noted to avoid keyword stuffing, as this will only cause the business to be penalized by Google, resulting in a lower search ranking.
Localized, Unified Directory Management Is Important
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, ensuring that a business has verified and edited their directory listings pages (Google Places, Google+, Bing Business Listing, etc.) with local and keyword rich content is extremely important when trying to appear within local searches. Pair these with review sites and the reviews from customers and chances a business appears within search results pages only increases. Another important note when discussing directory listings is the importance of removing duplicate listings on the same directory. For example, if there is one listing for “Whatsamatta U” and “Whatsamatta University”, it is important to claim each of these and then de-activate the one that does not align with your goals and business.
Landing Pages Mirror Directory Listings
How well aligned is the contact information on the directory listing and website? It is important to ensure that both of these are correct in order to ensure that the customer is not confused by the website or by the directory listing. Failure to ensure this could lead to a poor customer experience with both and hurt search rankings.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Gone are the days where reviews were just left on cards and given to management. With the various review sites and even directory listings allowing for reviews, it is important that local businesses utilize their customers’ reviews for better chances at improving their search ranking with the results pages. The more trusted the viewer is within these review sites such as Yelp, the better for your business.
As mentioned before, these are just a few of the ways to help improve a local businesses chances of appearing more often in the top of the search rankings, but there are also other options that can help improve chances of appearing, such as localized mobile PPC campaigns, quality and authority of inbound links to your site, and many more. You can read the entire Local Search Ranking Factors Report here.