Local SEO Guide: How to Rank Locally

 In Blogging, Core Local®, Digital Marketing, Smart Web

Getting your business ranking well for local searches like those on smartphones and tablets is imperative to drive local traffic through your door or to your website.

Local search engine optimization (local seo) is the culmination of various activities that will help a business’s local presence rank well. Typically, in most search engines, local profiles appear as results for searches done on smartphones and tablets. These local searches have a staggering click-through rate and return on investment rate.

Because of this, more and more businesses are incorporating local seo into their mobile marketing strategies. There are several factors that go into how your local profiles will get ranked in local listing searches. The goal of this guide is to show you the various activities involved in local seo and how use them in your local seo efforts.

The Local SEO Ranking Breakdown

Local SEO Guide: How to Rank Locally

My Business Signals for Local SEO – 14.7%

Business signals are the first step in your local SEO activities. The majority of these factors are things that are already in place or cannot be catered to.

  1. Keyword in Business Title
  2. Proximity to Searcher
  3. Category of Business

These three items make up the business signal for local SEO ranking purposes. These are things that are attributed to your business without any action taken from you. This category accounts for roughly 14.7% of how your business gets rank in local SEO searches.

External Location Signals for Local SEO – 15.5%

External locations signals are mainly compromised of the typical “local business listings” the majority of us are familiar with today. These results can typically be seen when doing desktop searches but are seen more often in tablet and smartphone searches as a map with balloons on it, depicting locations of results that align with the given search.

The two main factors in this sections for local SEO ranking are:

  1. Aggregator Name, Address, & Phone (NAP) Consistency
  2. Number of Business Listings Online

This section that accounts for around 16% of how you rank in local SEO can be defined by the accuracy of and the number of local business listings that you have on the internet. In this case, both quality and quantity affect how your local seo.

On-Page Signals for Local SEO – 21%

On-Page signals for local SEO are really the same factors that are going to affect a website’s organic SEO. The only difference is that there is a local emphasis put in. For example, if the title, url, and headings of a page are dedicated to “muffins,” one would try to gear them towards “St. Louis muffins” or “[insert city or area] muffins.”

On page seo is so crucial for a website that the factors here contribute largely to organic and local seo. Those factors are:

  1. Page Title
  2. Page URL
  3. Heading 1 Tags
  4. Heading 2 Tags
  5. Image URL
  6. Image Title
  7. Image Alt Text
  8. Keyword Density
  9. Inbound Links & Anchor Text
  10. Schema Markup
  11. Google Webmaster Submission
  12. Bing Webmaster Submission

Each of these factors will contribute largely to the local seo value of any given page of your website. However, optimizing ALL of these factors will ensure a solid ranking for this page and for the overall website as long as they are standard practice on existing pages and new pages.

Link Signals for Local SEO – 18.3%

Link signals are another huge factor for both organic and local SEO. Inbound links are the meter on which Google gauges the worth, credibility, and trust it has in a website. Naturally, these signals are very helpful in aiding your local seo ranking.

The main parts of inbound linking are:

  1. The Quality of the Inbound Links
  2. The Quantity of the Inbound Links
  3. The Anchor Text Associated with the Links

Quality will always beat out quantity when it comes to inbound “link juice.” Getting inbound links from relevant (same industry) websites and high ranking websites like Microsoft, Adobe, Facebook, etc are imperative. Anchor text is the verbiage associated with a link, it is the actual written words that you click on. Make sure you avoid anchor text like “Click Here” and use more descriptive anchor text like “St. Louis Website Design.”

Review Signals for Local SEO – 9.8%

Reviews are highly revered by search engines as they count for behavioral signals. social signals & inbound links. They also let Google and the other search engines know that your business is still, in fact, open and operating.

Reviews are also helpful because they give insight, other than your own, into your business and its products and services. This non-biased opinion is great for other consumers and therefore highly weighed by search engines for local SEO rankings.

Social Signals for Local SEO – 5.8%

Social Signals are important local SEO ranking factors for the same reasons reviews are; they offer search engines non-biased recommendations of content and properties via likes, +1’s, follows, re-tweets, mentions, etc.

Getting more people to like, add, mention, and share the content from your social media platforms will ultimately increase the value of your local rankings.

Behavioral Signals for Local SEO – 6.9%

Behavioral signals for local SEO is another factor that is, more or less, based off of your organic website. These signals include the following:

  1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  2. Bounce Rate
  3. Page Views per Vist
  4. Mobile Click-to-Calls
  5. Average Length on Website

These factors revolve around your website, how user-friendly it is and the quality of the content. If you have great content and truly add value to the online world, visitors to your website will stay longer, bounce less, click through more pages & eventually visit or contact your business. Search engines take these factors and assess them for their value in the overall ranking of local SEO.

Personalization for Local SEO – 8.4%

Every person that searches the internet is different; thus, cookies and smart internet browsers cater a search to the tenancies of the searcher. For example, if a smartphone user tends to always look up Yelp listings on her local searches, her browser will instinctively show Yelp results higher than others.

This type of “personalization” in local SEO is completely out of the hands of the business or website; it is simply a reflection on the preference of the person who is making the search inquiry.

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