How Local SEO Works
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Google wants to give users the best possible search result. So how exactly does Google decide where your business will rank?
Google’s Local Search algorithm is based on:
- Proximity. How far away is your business address from the person who made the search?
- Relevance. Is your business relevant to what the person searched for?
- Prominence. How much authority does your business have online? Google looks at things like reviews and links to determine this.
In 2018, Moz conducted an in-depth study of local ranking factors for Google. These should be the focus of your Local SEO campaign.
1. Google My Business Signals
It is important to have a verified and optimized GMB listing. This involves having a complete profile with the proper business category, posting great photos, and creating Google posts.
2. Link Signals
Backlinks are like votes or endorsements for your business. When other websites link to your business website, your trustworthiness with Google increases. The more backlinks you have, the more Google trusts your business. This is an important ranking factor for Local SEO.
There are 2 types of backlinks:
- No-Follow – These are links that the website has chosen not to pass any “votes” to your website. In a sense, they are telling Google “don’t count this link. For example, Facebook will include a no-follow link on your profile. Otherwise, everyone can create a Facebook profile and get an incredible backlink. There would be a ton of spam.
- Do-Follow – These are normal backlinks that do pass “votes” to your website. These are the backlinks that you want.
So do no-follow links not matter? Not necessarily. Google still scans these websites and looks for consistency of your business name, address and phone number. It’s even better when your website URL is present. So no follow links can still help your Google ranking.
3. Review Signals
Google prefers businesses with a large amount of good reviews. But that’s not all. They care about how frequently you get reviews and if your reviews are diverse (not always 5 stars) too. Sometimes Google will include other review sites on your GMB profile. Therefore, you need to have great reviews across the web, not just on Google.
Why are reviews important?
1. They are a huge ranking factor for Local SEO. Google prefers businesses that have a lot of good reviews. More than that, they want to see users leaving reviews often. And believe it or not, Google likes diversity in reviews, so getting the occasional negative review is not a bad thing. If you want to rank high in Google, you need to commit to getting reviews online.
2. They help your business stand out from competitors. Imagine you are a user looking for your service. They are comparing your business with your competitors. If your competitors have many great reviews and a high rating, and you have have just a few reviews, which company would you choose? The number of reviews and the rating your business has on Google has an impact on getting new customers online.
4. On-Page Signals
Your website is a critical part of Local SEO. This guide is focused on Off-Site SEO, which means everything except your website. If you would like to help with website SEO, you can purchase our On-Site SEO Guide for $19.95. If you have already purchased it, then please follow that guide once you’ve reached the Optimize Website step in this guide.
Click here to get instant access to the guide.
Do you need a website or want help to optimize it? Feel free to schedule a call with the Instaboost Media team to discuss your needs.
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5. Citation Signals
A citation is an online directory that displays your business name, address and phone number, like Yelp and Yellow Pages. Google will scan the internet for directories with your business information to confirm is consistent. If you have an old address or phone number across the web, it will hurt your ranking. It also helps to have a business listing on many directories online.
You can use a tool like BrightLocal to submit directories automatically or you can do so manually. BrightLocal is the most efficient option but it does cost money to use this tool. In our experience, BrightLocal provides a ton of value for Local SEO reports and building citations that we consider it an essential tool for our agency. This lesson goes over both options so that you choose your approach.