One of the most significant benefits of how Google creates its search rankings is that it allows local businesses to compete on an even playing field. By that, we do not mean a local cafe can compete with Starbucks on the global stage, but it most certainly can in its local catchment area.
The reason for this is that Google will take into account the location of the person searching for a search term such as “local coffee shop”. Taking that a stage further, if the search includes a local town, district. or area, once again the small, local cafe business has the opportunity to be at the top of the rankings, ahead of the corporate giants, but with the caveat that it must have its SEO for local searches all in place.
This would usually mean approaching a local SEO agency and giving them the task of boosting your website’s rankings, however, you need to know exactly what it is you are asking them to do. So, here are seven of the most important elements of ranking a website for a local business, which you must ensure your SEO agency implements.
Backlinking: Backlinks influence a website’s rankings enormously so it stands to reason that you will want a comprehensive backlink strategy in place. The key here is remembering the quality of the backlinks impact rankings more than the number of backlinks, so ensure that established, authoritative websites are prioritised.
On-Site Optimisations: Top rankings start at home, or more specifically, your own website. There are a plethora of on-site optimisations that can boost your SEO and subsequently your rankings so a plan to have everything from your content to your website’s metadata in place, accurate, and optimised for keywords, is essential.
Customer Reviews: Every business should be actively seeking positive reviews from its customers and clients, and if yours has not yet, then it needs to start today. Reviews on your website and other websites are used within Google’s ranking algorithm. In addition, it can boost the time users spend on your site as they read through your reviews.
Citations: Maybe not the most glamourous element of SEO, but it nonetheless plays an important role in a business seeking to improve its SEO and rankings. Google likes citations as if it sees two businesses, and one has consistent and accurate citations and the other does not, the former will be more likely to receive a rankings boost than the latter.
User Experience: Google is obsessed with user experience and thus has several measures to assess it, especially when someone clicks from its search results such as how long they remain on a site. The website they land on, including yours, must provide a great user experience which can be achieved via great web design and awesome content.
Social Media: Not everyone is enamoured by social media, but it still has a part to play in your SEO. It can provide backlinks, enhance branding, and for a local business is another way to boost its online presence, which can help with obtaining high authority backlinks, for example.
Google My Business: No list of local SEO actions would be complete without mentioning Google My Business (GMB). It is essential that your local business, no matter its size or its sector, has its GMB completed as Google can give you preferential rankings over your local competitors who do not.