For many small business owners, growing one’s online presence is a never-ending task, and whether catering to a national or strictly local market, capturing the control of search engine rankings is a must for any aspiring industry leader. Local SEO capabilities, while sometimes taken for granted, are generally looked upon as the initial step needed for the growth of one’s brand, and here Shweiki Media Printing Company teams up with Alicia Lawrence, content coordinator for WebPageFX, to present a must-watch webinar on local search ranking factors.
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Local Search Ranking Factors
Place Page Signals
The first and largest local ranking factor is one’s place page signals. Components such as proximity of the business to where the search is being conducted, accurate NAP (name, address, phone number), and keyword usage in titles and headlines are responsible for a 20% influence in determining local search performance.
The second biggest factor in determining local SEO, with a 19% performance influence, is one’s on-page signals. On-page signals are all the keywords and ranking factors that exist on one’s own website. Again, a consistent NAP is a large determining point, along with domain authority and an optimized landing page.
It should also be noted that landing pages are very, very important, and if one doesn’t have one, it’s recommended to get one and optimize it for one’s local needs.
External Local Signals
It’s very important for one to have their business’s NAP on the different directories that are online such as the Internet yellow pages, Yelp, Superpages.com, Yahoo! Local, Yellowbook, Facebook Local and dozens more. This is a great task for an intern, who can simply take a few weeks to ensure that one’s business is on all these citations and that all information is accurate, consistent and up to date. This is crucial to rankings.
Online reviews determine 10% of one’s local SEO influence. While some might think that reviews lack importance or are for consumer information only, Google makes it known that reviews on Google Places and relevant third-party sites can greatly affect one’s local search capabilities. Aside from the usage of known keywords within a review, quality, diversity and quantity are all major determining factors when determining review value.
Social signals rank at 6% influence, but this is the fastest growing category listed. Along with social media factors proving popularity—for example, Twitter followers and Facebook likes—a completed and verified Google+ profile is a must for anyone serious about climbing the Google ranks. Also, geotagged media associated with one’s business such as tags on YouTube and Flickr can be extremely useful in boosting one’s numbers.
Behavioral signals are equally as important as social media factors, ranking in at 6% as well. Online activity such as click-through rates, mobile clicks to call, and check-ins all add up to boost one’s total popularity. The main difference between behavioral signals and social signals are that behavioral signals arrive from Google’s search page itself, while social media signals are gathered from third-party social sites.
And, finally, one important thing to keep in mind is that the more activity Google senses is going to a certain site, the more one’s ranking factor will increase.