Local Search Rankings

Google organic search is quite different from local search rankings. Local search listings means your business is showing to people within your location. For instance, if you run a restaurant in Los Angeles, local listing means you are visible to the people in your immediate environment. If your website or blog is not ranked on the first page of Google, you’re probably wondering what’s wrong.

So, where is your site listed? Are you able to find it? Is it is the top 100?  Well, in this article, I’ll  attempt to discuss some of the basic reasons why your website is not ranking in local searches.

1. You don’t have local business citations

Local business citations are any online mention of the name, address, and phone number (NAP) for a local business. Business citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms.  The reason it’s important to get your business listing on as many quality citation sites as possible is because Google loves these directories!

When determining how you rank in local results, Google scans the web for mentions of your business name, address, phone number, website URL, and several other data points. It then compares that information to other data sources, including the major data providers and possibly even post office records, state business filings, and telephone records.

Your local search rankings are heavily influenced by whether or not Google finds your business information on the web and from their data suppliers, and whether that information is consistent and matches that provided on your Google+ page and website.

local business citations

2.  Your website is not optimized for local search

Simply having a website for your business is not enough for high local search rankings. It’s important to make sure it is optimized. Optimization involves many factors and they all add up to achieve your ranking.  Your homepage should very clearly state who you are, where you’re located and what you do.  Include your city location in your keywords on at least one page.  For example instead of using the title menu for a web page you could use Dallas Menu instead.

Make it easy on Google to understand these elements of your business. Your page title tag, header tag and meta description should clearly state this information.

3.  You don’t add photos and videos to your local citations

Local search rankings are not all about information. It also involve adding relevant, attractive, essential details to your Google My Business listing and business citations, such as photos, videos, hours, coupons etc.  By including a lot of photos on your listings, people will naturally spend more time on your listing to swipe through all of the photos.  Every time someone swipes to view a new photo, this creates more “time on site” that people are spending on your listing.  The more time on site, the more value and authority gets attributed to your listing.  The more authority, the higher your rankings in Google local search.

Provide photos of your  office, shop or location. If there’s a particularly beautiful or interesting view looking out from your business, you might consider adding that as well.   Create videos with your staff interacting with clients. Or, if you’re a service-based business, provide photos of smiling employees providing that service.  Make sure your images are optimized for local search.

customer reviews

4.  You don’t have enough customer reviews

Local SEO Guide conducted a study of local SEO ranking factors and found that customer reviews were critical.  The quality, quantity and recency of reviews are all contributing factors.  The Google search engine takes a look at what reviewers are saying before making a judgment on rank. Google gives special attention to reviewers who mention any of the keywords or name of the city where the business is located.

Ask the customers you’ve served to leave a review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or wherever service they prefer.  Make it easy for your customers. If, for example, they don’t have a Google account to leave a Google+ review, or they don’t want to use their Facebook profile for Yelp, they may abandon the whole idea. But if you give them several options, you’ll get more results.

5.  You did not choose the right category

Google My Business categories are perhaps one of the most important parts of getting higher local search rankings for your chosen keywords. Get this wrong and you will often find yourself stuck no matter what other tricks and tactics you use.  Fortunately, it’s not difficult to change your categories later if you didn’t get them quite right at first.

Make sure the first 3 categories you pick are the most dead-on relevant and representative of your specialties.  These are the categories that most customers will see on your listings. You don’t want people leaving your page because they didn’t realize that you actually offer the service they’re looking for.

Bottom line

Local SEO is a critical to increasing web traffic (and foot traffic).  It goes without saying local businesses need to prioritize on optimizing their websites and My Business pages for local SEO. Make use of the tips, and techniques covered in this post to boost your local search rankings.

What are your favorite local search marketing tactics? Have you seen improvements in your rankings after implementing some of these strategies? Do you have questions about local SEO? I’d love to hear from you!

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