ranking for local search

Ranking for Local Search: Strategies to Attain the Highest Position

Start ranking for local search so that people nearby your business can discover your services with ease. Here’s how to do it.

Local SEO is a strategy designed to help you rank for inquiries near where your business is physically located. An example of this is if a person were to search for a term like “pizza shop near me” or “nail salon in New York City.”

But becoming part of results for these searches isn’t just about adding your address to your website and ensuring you have an effective Google My Business listing – though of course both of those are important factors. Learn the step-by-step ways to get the most from searches near you to bring in local business opportunities. 

What Is Local Search?

If you’ve started your SEO journey, you likely know the basics of how SEO works. Local strategies still use the main tenets of overarching SEO tactics while adding in a few additional strategies to ensure you rank for more general search terms from individuals in your area.

For example, an attorney would likely rely on similar marketing tactics of using online ads on search engines for broad terms related to their practice, such as “business tax attorney.” That way, they can drive website visits and find traction with gaining new business tax clients.

But if they only serve certain areas as most law firms do, they’ll add in those targets, and focus their advertising just in those areas to avoid paying for traffic that won’t result in new business for their organization.

So while the overarching strategy is the same between national SEO and local SEO, you’ll need to hone your tactics a little more to focus on specific geography to see the results that translate to new business.

Factors Impacting Local Search Rankings

Review the ranking factors that will have an impact on your local search rankings. The following impact search in general.

  • Site speed
  • Content quality
  • Website structure
  • Ease of navigation
  • Website architecture
  • Third-party link quality

But when it comes to local SEO, Google evaluates three additional factors. 

  1. Relevance: Google will look at how closely your website and services match that of the searcher’s inquiry. For example, if a searcher is looking for appliance repair near me, handymen who list appliance repair as a service are more relevant than local stores that sell appliances.
  2. Distance: search engines know how far away a business is from the searcher’s physical location based on IP address and location data. The goal is to turn up results with the most relevant local businesses to satisfy the searcher’s query so that they return to the search engine with future requests.
  3. Prominence: the brand’s reputation and total online presence will also be a factor. Google looks at reviews, recent content updates, response rates, backlinks and more to decide just how reputable a brand is. 

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Local Search Strategies that Improve Rankings

Armed with a broader understanding of how local search works and what Google awards businesses for, here’s a look at some strategies you should engage in to increase your local search results.

1. Local Search Website Optimization

This step includes many small steps within it. Follow these steps to ensure local searchers can find your business.

  • Start with a mobile-friendly website: 57 percent of all local search queries come from mobile devices. To earn that business, you need a mobile-friendly website. While most CMSs adapt to meet a customer’s device size, you might find some quirky aspects of your website when running a mobile-friendly test. Resolving those issues could help improve local search rankings.
  • Focus your website structure on the user: user-based website designs start with thinking about the customer experience. Build a website architecture that is simple and easy to navigate so users can find what they came for. 
  • Target local keywords: reference your city, state or region within your website to help search engines understand the geography you serve. That way, search engines can deliver your business in search engine results to the right people who are close by your business.
  • Run a page speed test: your website needs to load quickly to be considered for local searches. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to find areas of improvement to avoid losing traffic to slow load speeds.
  • Make your website accessible: website accessibility ensures that people of all abilities can browse your website and find out more about your business. This includes using alt tags on photos, captions on videos and ensuring effective color contrast throughout the site. It’s good for both those with impairments as well as showing search engines how much you care about your customers.
ranking for local search

2. List Your Company on Google My Business

It’s no big surprise that Google rewards businesses that use their services. Listing your company on Google My Business helps the search engine identify where your business is located and learn more about what it has to offer. 

Opening your listing also ensures that users can review your services, leave a review or check out photos and videos from your business.

3. Request That Customers Leave a Review

Local search rankings will be shuffled and ordered based on customers’ previous experiences with your business. The more positive your reviews are, the more likely you’ll be to rank well for local search.

However, know that Google has ways of detecting false or fabricated reviews. Don’t pay for review services that promise hundreds of outstanding reviews within a short period.

You need to build a system for requesting reviews after providing services. This might be via email, text message or even point-of-sale transactions. That way, your reviews are genuine and tied to an experience Google can verify.

4. List Your Business in Local Directories

Look for local business directories or places that list organizations within your geography. This will further solidify your service region to tell search engines what you’re offering. And getting on these listings offers high-quality backlinks to show Google that you are trustworthy.

Some SEO tools offer local search assistance to help you create these listings and manage them to ensure ongoing accuracy. Monitoring them is just as important as creating them because you can discover discrepancies or misleading information that you want to clear up to avoid long-term issues.

5. Test Local Google Ads

Google offers local service ads to help service-based businesses reach buyers within a specific geography. It puts your business listing at the top of results for local customers. Just be sure you learn the ins and outs of these types of ads before paying for them.

6. Engage on Social Media

Social media is another way you can tell search engines more about your business location and the areas you serve. Instagram is highly geotargeted as is Facebook with its check-in function. Encouraging users to engage in these services will help bolster your local SEO presence.

Social signals help Google identify the best businesses to show in local searches. So stay active and encourage customer interaction.

7. Earn High-quality Backlinks

Backlinks offer a nod of approval from another reputable website that your site is trustworthy. But you don’t want backlinks from just any website. Make sure they have a strong domain authority so you don’t find yourself dealing with spammy links that do more harm than good for your rankings.

Building the Most Effective Local Search Presence

SEO is complex, but factor in local search rankings and it becomes even more complicated to find a strategy that delivers high-quality traffic to your website and local business.

New Light Digital offers local SEO services to help businesses rank for searches within their geography. Schedule your free consultation now to begin ranking for local searches in your area.

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