In the world of search engine marketing, one of the themes that has been becoming more and more dominant in the recent past is the advent of location based ranking. These days, most people try to restrict their search engine queries to specific locations in order to end up with results that they can use. For instance, when searching a restaurant, there is no point in getting information about restaurants in different cities or even countries, since you might not have any interest in them. You are likely to appreciate results that are more locally oriented.
Most search engines have realized this need, and this is why most of them have also introduced a locality angle to their search results. For instance, when a user searches for something and includes a city name, chances are that the results will always be something to do with that city.
If you intend to use search engine marketing, this is something that you should therefore take very seriously. You could spend a lot of money making other optimizations, but if you don’t also consider the issue of local rankings you are likely to not see the results you wanted. When in this position, there are a few factors that you need to keep in mind and which have an effect on local search rankings. Some of these include:
1. Using the proper categories:
When creating a local page for your business, one of the most important things you can do is to submit it in the right category. If you don’t do this right, there might be a mismatch between the information on the local page and the information on the site, and this will definitely hurt your local rankings. For instance, if you run a dental clinic, choosing any other category such as a hospital on the business local page (such as Google+) will have a negative impact on the ranking.
2. Proper Citations:
One of the ways of improving the local search rankings for your business is through the use of citations. For instance, you could submit your business details to various directories, so that the number of incoming links to the business site are increased. When doing this, you have to make sure that the name and address of the clinic are consistent across all of these submissions. Any citation discrepancies (such as having a few misspellings in different directories) will definitely lead to a lower ranking, since the search engine will not be able to figure out if they are the same or different businesses.
3. The use of quality indexes and directories
When in the process of submitting the business information to different directories, it’s important that you first concentrate on the ones that have the best ranks. The incoming links will be of higher quality, giving your business a higher local rank.
4. The use of Google Places and Google+
You can use these two services to bolster your rankings, especially if you are keen on getting a high local ranking on Google. However, you still need to make sure that the name and address details on these pages are consistent to get the highest ranking possible.
5. Domain authority
If the business has a website, it’s also very important to make sure that it’s optimized for search engine ranking in order to get the best local rankings. Some of the things that can be done to address this include making sure that it has high quality incoming links (with high page rank), proper structure and high quality content.
6. Quantity of citations
The number of citations that your business has is also very important in determining its local search ranking. Ideally, you should submit the business details to as many directories and indexes as possible in order to take advantage of this.
7. Verification of your local page
Services such as Google Places have a facility that allows you to verify the location of the business, and this usually has a role to play in increasing its local rankings. This is very easy to do, since you only need to apply for verification and then submit the code sent to your address via mail.
8. Optimization of the landing page title
A landing page that has details of the locality (such as the city and state the business is in) is likely to increase the rankings of the business and its website.
9. The quality of inbound links
If the business has a website, having inbound links to the site increases its page rank. To ensure that the local rank and page rank are optimized, the quality rather than the quantity of such links should be scrutinized. It’s better to have a small number of links from high page rank sites than many low quality links.
10. The presence of Google Places reviews
When your business has many Google Places reviews, it’s likely to feature more prominently in the local listings. You should therefore try to encourage your customers to leave these reviews for this purpose.
11. A descriptive business title
The title of the business used in your website and other online resources should be as descriptive as possible for you to get the best local search rankings. For instance, the title “Smile Dental Clinic, Florida” is likely to get better results than “Smile Clinic” especially when someone is looking for a dental clinic using local search.
12. The use of third party reviews
The quantity of third party reviews will also affect your local search rankings, and this is something you can use to your advantage as well. For instance, you could ask people to submit reviews about the business on sites such as TripAdvisor and any other similar sites that have a good reputation.
In summary, the use of local search is becoming more important in SEO every day. Many businesses have an opportunity to increase their sales using this local search engines. The other benefit is that locals are able to get quick information on services they need in their area. The above are some of the factors that will affect the rankings of any site, and which you can easily take advantage of to improve the same.