Last Updated on January 3, 2024
The local market in 2024 is very competitive, and embracing local SEO is no longer an option but a necessity. The rising significance of local search rankings has transformed the game for businesses, irrespective of their size. With a vast majority of customers relying on online search engines to discover local businesses, establishing a robust online presence has become the lifeline for local businesses aiming to thrive and gain popularity within their communities.
But when it comes to local search rankings, there is an undeniable titan that reigns supreme—Google. With an awe-inspiring dominance of over ~90% in the search engine market, Google holds the crown. Behind the scenes, its local search algorithm works tirelessly to deliver users the best, most relevant, and most useful results. It takes into account not only what users are searching for but also their precise location, ensuring that the results are tailored to meet their needs in the most impactful way.
In this article, we will provide local SEO tips and look at the world of search rankings, exploring how Google’s local search algorithm works, some of the key factors that impact local search rankings, and actionable strategies that businesses can use to reap the benefits of local SEO.
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Google’s Local Search Algorithm
Within the intricate web of Google’s local search algorithm lies a world of complexity, as it meticulously considers an array of factors to determine local search rankings. At the heart of this intricate system lie three influential forces: relevance, proximity, and prominence. These factors form the compass that guides users to discover the most relevant local search results.
Relevance refers to how well a business’s website and business listing match the subject that the user searches for. Google’s algorithm looks at various factors, such as the business’s website content, business listing information, and other relevant data, to determine how relevant a business is to a particular search query.
Proximity refers to how close the business is to the user’s location. Google’s algorithm considers the user’s location when generating local search results, and businesses that are closer to the user’s location are more likely to appear higher in the search results.
Prominence refers to how well-known and authoritative a business is. Google’s algorithm looks at various factors, such as the number of reviews, the quality of reviews, and the overall online presence of the business, to determine how prominent a business is in the local community.
Key Local SEO Tips: Ranking Factors
Some might be asking what are SEO services? But for those who know, in order to improve their local search rankings, businesses need to consider a variety of ranking factors that impact their online visibility and authority. Let’s take a closer look at the key ranking factors that businesses need to focus on to improve their local SEO.
Business Local Listings
Business listings refer to the information that is listed on a business’s website and on third-party directories such as Yelp, Google My Business, and other local directories. These factors can significantly impact a business’s local search ranking, and businesses need to ensure that their business listings are accurate, consistent, and up-to-date.
Local SEO tips – local business listing factors to focus on include:
- NAP Consistency: NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. It’s important for businesses to make sure that their NAP information is consistent across their website and all third-party directories. Inconsistent NAP information can confuse Google’s algorithm and hurt a business’s local search rankings.
- Category Selection: Businesses need to select the most relevant categories for their business on Google My Business and other directories. Selecting the wrong categories can hurt a business’s local search rankings.
- Reviews: Reviews are an important factor that Google’s algorithm considers when determining local search rankings. Businesses need to encourage their customers to leave positive reviews on their Google My Business listing and other directories.
On-page factors refer to the content and structure of a business’s website. These factors can significantly impact a business’s local search ranking, and businesses need to make sure that their website content is relevant, useful, and optimized for local search.
Local SEO tips – on-page factors that local businesses need to focus on include:
- Keyword Usage: Businesses need to ensure that their website content includes relevant keywords that are frequently searched by their target local customers. However, it’s important not to overuse keywords, as this can hurt a business’s local search ranking.
- Content Quality: The content on a business’s website should be high-quality and provide useful information to potential customers. This can include descriptions of the business’s products and services, customer testimonials, and other helpful information.
- User Experience: The user experience of a website is an important factor that Google’s algorithm considers when determining local search rankings. Businesses need to ensure that their website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and is mobile-friendly (responsive).
Off-page factors refer to the external factors that can impact a business’s local search ranking, such as backlinks and local citations. Backlinks are links from other websites that point to a business’s website, while local citations are mentions of a business’s name, address, and phone number on other websites.
Local SEO tips – off-page factors that local businesses need to focus on include:
- Link Building: Businesses need to obtain high-quality backlinks from other websites in their industry. This helps to improve a business’s local search ranking and increase its online authority to search engines.
- Local Citations: Businesses need to ensure that their NAP information is listed accurately and consistently on other websites and directories. This can help to improve a business’s local search ranking and make it easier for potential customers to find them online.
Actionable Strategies for Improving Local SEO
Now that we’ve covered the key ranking factors that businesses need to focus on to improve their local search rankings, let’s explore some actionable strategies that businesses can use to improve their local SEO to increase online visibility and attract more customers.
Claim Your Google Business Profile Listing
Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google’s platforms, including search results and Google Maps. By claiming and optimizing a Google Business Profile listing, businesses can improve their local search ranking and attract more customers.
To claim and optimize your Google Business Profile listing, follow these steps:
- Go to Google Business Profile and sign in with your Google account.
- Enter your business name and address.
- Choose the correct category for your business.
- Verify your business by phone or mail.
- Add photos, videos, and other relevant information to your listing.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Create High-Quality and Relevant Content
Creating high-quality and relevant content is essential for improving a business’s local search ranking. By providing useful information to potential customers, businesses can improve their online authority by building trust and attracting more traffic to their websites.
To create high-quality and relevant content, businesses should:
- Do keyword research to identify relevant keywords and topics.
- Create content that is useful, informative, and engaging.
- Optimize their content for local search by including location-specific keywords and information.
Obtain High-Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are an important off-page factor that can significantly impact a business’s local search ranking. By obtaining high-quality backlinks from other reputable websites, businesses can improve their online authority and attract more traffic to their website.
To obtain high-quality backlinks, businesses should:
- Reach out to other websites in their industry and request backlinks.
- Contribute guest posts on other websites in their industry.
- Create valuable content that other websites will want to link to.
Encourage Positive Reviews from Customers
Positive reviews are an important business listing factor that can significantly impact a business’s local search ranking. By encouraging their customers to leave positive reviews on their Google My Business listing and other directories, businesses can improve their online reputation and attract more customers.
To encourage positive reviews from customers, businesses should:
- Ask customers to leave a review after making a purchase or using a service.
- Respond to reviews, both positive and negative, to show that the business is engaged with its customers.
Engage Social Media
Social media can be a powerful tool for improving a business’s local search ranking and attracting more customers. By posting relevant content, while engaging with their customers on social media, businesses can build relationships, improve their online reputation, and attract more traffic to their websites.
To engage with social media, businesses should:
- Create social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Share useful information, such as promotions, discounts, and industry news.
- Respond to customer questions and complaints in a timely and professional manner.
By considering these local SEO tips in 2024, while implementing these strategies, your business would be unlocking a world of opportunities. Your online local visibility will soar, customers will flock to your business, and growth will be unstoppable. And if you’re ready to take it to the next level, consider partnering with a local SEO consultant. They’ll help guide you and your business on your journey for local search dominance.
Don’t forget we’re offering a FREE SEO Overview Report with no obligation for anyone wanting to see how their website is performing on search engines.