Local Search Ranking

A successful business relies on customer traffic either it is the brick or mortar retail store or online storefront. Attracting more customers to your business depends on various important factors. There is no cut and dry answer to ensure more customers in your shop but there are ways to improve your chances.

For instance, you own a restaurant. Comfortable seating arrangements, a hygienic environment, and helping staff can improve your customer traffic. When it comes to the digital realm, getting “found” by your customers is not an easy task.

There is an ever-growing competition and you must understand the search ranking signals to ace this game. If you are new to this term, here is a brief introduction.

Search Ranking Signals

Ranking signals or factors are the characteristics of a website that determine its position in search engine results pages (SERPs). All the search engine have their unique ways to crawl, index, and find the most useful business websites. All ranking signals combined form the algorithms of search engines such as Google. The impact of each signal differs and is a well-protected secret.

The Basic Challenges

Understanding the ranking signals is not enough for making up to the mark. Getting good business rankings online has never been more difficult. The basic challenges are

  • Increases awareness of the benefits of local SEO among small businesses. The competition is ever-growing.
  • The majority of people are searching through mobile devices. They are more likely to rely on the Google Local Pack feature rather than searching for the tops results of organic search. “The Local 3-Pack refers to the SERP feature that’s shaped like a map and displays places related to your query, as well as a 3-point list of businesses with their NAP data (name, address, phone, etc.).”

You have to get ahead of your competitors and make it to the Local 3 pack to be at the top.

Top 25 Local Search Ranking Signals  

Here are the top 25 local search ranking signals that can help you achieve your goals.

1. Google My Business Listing

Google is the world’s most popular search engine. You cannot imagine doing well without being associated with it. The first step is to claim your presence on Google My Business. It takes only a few minutes to add your business details. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to pay a dime to add your business.

2. Photos On Google My Business

Your Google My Business page provides more than one ranking signal. Post good quality images of the location. shop, products, employees, and customers with their permission. These pictures serve as search ranking signals by making your business more credible.

3. Choice Of The Right Business Category

As you are adding your business to listing sites, it is very important to choose the right business categories. SEO experts have confirmed that two main factors should be considered before choosing the business listing sites. First is the general credibility and second is the relevance with your business. If your business listing is added in the unrelated category it is of no use.

4.Business Listing On Bing Places

Google reigns the supreme but it does not do to ignore all other search engines. Bing places still hold a decent place in search engines. Make your business account on Bing Places to be found by the local customers searching for businesses like yours.

5. Online Citations

There are dozens of reliable online directories. Most of these are free of cost and all you need is a working computer and internet connection to add your business.

The online citations on reliable directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, Citylocal 101 and Apple Maps are strong ranking signals. The citations should include the necessary details like name, address, and phone numbers.

6. Business Listing On Reliable Review Sites

Other than the citations, review sites are very important. When we are discussing the rankings, your website credibility is the most important aspect. Review sites are known to generate traffic and build trust in local customers. They can read the experiences of previous customers.

More than 80% of customers consider reviews equal to personal recommendations. It is a major driving force for your website traffic and local SEO.

7. Positive Customer Reviews

Several people talking about your business matters a lot. What these customers are saying matters more. The more number of positive customer reviews is a positive ranking signal for any business. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on the popular review sites so enjoy better brand awareness with an SEO boost.

8. Content Of Reviews

The content of customer reviews is another important ranking signal. The reviews with keywords and city or area names are considered high-quality reviews. When a reviewer uses these essential pieces of information, it sends signals to search engines that your business among locals. You can always encourage your customers to review your business with the keywords.

9. Number Of Review Responses

Reviews are included in ranking signals for so many reasons. It is no secret that online reviews are considered so important for marketing strategies. Customers not only post the reviews but expect responses from concerned authorities. The more reviews you respond to, the better are your chances to appear in top search results pages.

10. Number Of Negative Reviews

Review sites are a necessary evil as the negative ones can truly affect your business ranking. About 86% of the customers avoid hiring a service or purchasing a product with negative reviews. One negative review generally costs you about 30 customers. This leaves a narrow range for mistakes. Make sure you are properly responding to negative reviews to minimize their effect on ranking.

11. Facebook Business Page

Facebook had about 2.6 billion active users in the first quarter of 2020. The numbers are overwhelming. The good thing about these figures is that you can be a part of this huge community and improve your business reach. All you need to do is to sign up for Facebook, make a business page, and start promoting it. It is a great platform for engaging your existing customers and attracting new ones.

12.Business Listings On Social Sites

LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram and some of the most popular social media sites. The business listings on these sites are important ranking signals for search engines.

13. Consistent NAPW

When you have to post business details at different directories, review sites and social sites keep track of consistency in citations. More than 72% of customers avoid hiring a business with inconsistent business details across different platforms. Make sure the essential details such as Name, address, phone number, and websites (NAWP) are accurate.

14. Mobile Friendliness

Google now ranks websites according to their mobile responsiveness. The simple reason is the increase in mobile users. A website that quickly loads on mobiles and is user friendly is more like to rank in top search results.

15. Include Structured Data Markup

Google highly recommends using structured data markups to improve your rankings. Details such as multiple departments, hours, menu, address, website, and phone numbers are essential markups for local SEO. You can use tools like Schema to check the structured data markup of your business website.

16. Locally Engaging Content

Small businesses should always focus on publishing relevant content. Local users connect well to relevant stories and news. Publish content where you can organically add the location and keywords. It is the major driving force for improving local rankings. Write about your local collaborations, community events, and everything that makes sense about your brand values.

17. Bounce Rates From Search Results

The number of people bouncing back from the pages within the first few seconds matters a lot. Improve the loading speed of your website. It is good to focus on local customers and local SEO but if you pay attention to general SEO, you can enjoy the benefits of both. If you are not aware of the differences between them, it is the right time to learn them.

18. Keyword Optimization

Keywords were the most important factors in SEO in the past. This is not the case for today but still building your websites around relevant keywords is essential.

19. Meta Title

The title or meta tag of your website is one of the most important ranking signals. Make sure it is precise and relevant.

20. Meta Description

The meta description of your websites and the related content acts as the hook. If the customers are attracted to it, they are more likely to visit your websites and purchase. 21. Diverse Inbound Links

The inbound links of your website should be from different authentic websites.

22. Quality Of Inbound Links

The quality of inbound links is very essential. They are considered to have a great influence as a ranking signal. The best ones include related keywords and area names.

23. Proximity To Searchers

Although you cannot control the factor, your proximity to the searcher is ranking signal. The closer you are to a searcher, the better are your chances of high rankings. It is good to remember that search engines are designed to help the customer as a user.

24. Links From Relevant Sites

Affiliations with relevant sites are important ranking signals for top search engines. It can benefit your business in various ways.

25. Domain Authority Score

If you have been living under a rock for the last few years, it is time to learn about Domain Authority. It is a score calculated by Moz that predicts how relevant a page is to the specific industry. The relevance has a direct impact on search rankings. Test your website and make the required changes.