Welcome To Your Local Search Ranking Factors for 2015!
Listed below you will find all of the latest local search ranking factors that we have as part of our local business ranking service.
I created this article for you so you can take these resources and use them to launch your own search marketing campaign or use this as a layout of everything you are getting as part of your investment in our Local Ranking Breakthrough product.
Please share this information with your connections on social media if you find it helpful. If you run into any questions while going through the content please post a comment below. We are happy to help!
Step 1: Keyword Research
The best place to start your local website optimization is with proper keyword research.
We identify our core targets and then work backwards to plan out your site and traffic plan based on the type of customers you are looking to attract.
(The clients that invest in our done for you program just answer some simple questions during their intake call and we take care of all the heavy lifting from there.)
An excellent research and brainstorming resource is Google Trends. If you have a Google Adwords account their Keyword Planner tool is another excellent resource to help you choose quality local search keywords.
Some other tools that we use and suggest are:
In our done for you program we select 5 high quality keywords for you based on a number of factors.
1. The volume of local search traffic that a keyword offers.
2. Your brand.
3. Your competition.
4. The quality of customer that is going to be generated based on the search phrase.
Keep in mind that the goal is not to target the search phrases that get the most amount of traffic. Your goal here is to choose the local searches that are going to generate the highest quality leads and customers.
Let’s take a look at the mortgage industry as an example.
Once you get into the research you will see that the search phrase “Mortgage Rates” gets alot of traffic. So you may be tempted to target this as one of your local search keywords… but when you dig deeper and think about the person making this search they are very likely to be shopping rates, or just looking for news articles on what is happening with interest rates.
Compare that to someone who searches for “Best Guelph Mortgage Broker”. There are far fewer searches for this phrase but the person making the search is looking to do business with a mortgage broker and we know they are going to be very responsive to reviews.
So when you reach the front page and you have more ratings and reviews than your competitors you are an obvious first choice to the people that have used this search.
Quality Traffic. Quality Customers.
So make sure you don’t just put all your efforts into targeting the most traffic. Take the time to make sure you are targeting customers. When you do this right you don’t need a alot of traffic to have a successful local search campaign.
Once you have your core local search keywords chosen you are ready to begin readying your site for your rise up the search engines.
Step 2: On Site Optimization
Many of our clients come to us thinking that On Site Optimization is going to focus on graphics design and making the site look “good”.
Our focus is on making your site look good to the Search Engines not to the people that view your site.
Your rankings are not effected by what your site looks like graphically. What really matters to the search engines is what people don’t see.
The structure of your website is incredibly important to having Google move you up the search rankings.
Here is an internal mind map that we use to make sure we hit all the bases when we start our optimization on our clients pages.
And here is an outline of most of the steps:
1. Main Page Optimization for main keywords. – Title Tags, Site Description, H1 Headers.
2. A content page or pages for each of your core local search keyword. – We start with 5.
3. SEO friendly URLs for all pages.
4. Optimized titles for all pages.
5. Visual Media for all pages – Embeding Youtube and Slideshare content to increase your time on page and time on site.
6. We recommend you use your Main keyword before 100th word on each page – Including the main page of the site.
7. We also recommend using related keywords and synonyms within the body of your content.
8. Alt tags within each of your keyword focused pages.
9. Make it easy for social sharing and link to major social sites.
10. Install a page specifically for high quality links and your local business directory sites.
11. Make sure you have a mobile version of your site that passes the Google Mobile Friendly Test.
12. Create your sitemap and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools.
13. Install Google Analytics.
Here’s a helpful analogy I like to use…
Think of the internet as a big map of the earth. Google makes up all of the countries, states, provinces, city and towns. In each city and town they have a council that is charge of that specific area.
We want our website to show up in the search engine results of people in specific cities and towns. By properly structuring your content, sitemaps and on page optimization is just like building the most impressive store in your niche in your city.
When you submit your sitemap to Google it is just like taking a blueprint of your building down to city hall and registering it with the building division.
They know exactly what you have built, how to get there and what the experience is going to be like.
You wouldn’t build a home or a business without taking the time to really think about what the experience is going to be like in that space. Your website should be no different.
When you play by the rules and take advantage of these helpful tips it makes life easier for Google and you get rewarded with rankings and traffic.
Your foundation is built. You have high quality local keywords as your focus and your site is primed to climb the rankings in your market… let’s get the word out and start leveraging all of our hard work!
Step 3: Off Site Local Optimization
These steps must happen on an ongoing basis to continually rank your site and help you generate traffic from new keywords in your local market.
A backlink to your site is when another site online creates a link that points towards your domain.
Backlinking as a strategy has changed significantly over years. It used to be that the more backlinks you could get to your site the better.
Today, it is the complete opposite. In our opinion you only want high quality, local links from reputable sites.
As part of our backlinking program we search out the most relevant and highest quality links we can find in each local market.
Here are the criteria we use to analyze the sites which we request links from.
– Highly Relevant.
– From a trusted source or industry leader.
– Already has a quality Page Rank.
– Is already a local authority site.
For more detailed information on Google Page Rank and how important backlinks are you can see a detailed explanation on wikipedia here.
Local Business Directories.
We conduct independent research in each marketplace to identify the highest quality local business directories and ensure that your business has a free listing.
The best way we have found to complete this step is to Google “Area Name Business Directory”. We then ensure that our clients are listed on all the top directories that Google has listed in their top search results.
We also keep an internal list of the highest quality local business directories from a national level. This includes sites like BBB, etc…
These sites deserve a strategy on their own. I have personally helped hundreds of businesses generate customers just form driving traffic from their local review sites ranking on the front page of the search engines.
Google, Bing and Yahoo all have their own local business directories that show up when people search their sites for local products and services. Claiming these pages and having them as part of your digital marketing strategy is a must.
I highly recommend registering for all 3 of these services and adding all of your business information. Make sure when you go through the setup process you fill up each section of the profile and add your pictures and videos.
Some other helpful information.
– You need to verify your address via postcard to get your google listing. PO boxes and Remote office locations will not work.
– Your proximity matters. You will get more rankings on devices that are closer to your location.
– Your business page name matters. It is helpful if your main keyword is in the name of your page.
– Your business category makes a big difference. Make sure you look through all the options and choose the one that is directly appropriate for you.
– Ratings and reviews play a big part in getting you clicks and traffic once you reach the front page. They are also a ranking indicator to Google. Which is why we actively work with our done for you clients using our social alchemy process to help them better engage their clients for positive word of mouth online.
Since that time Video has become more and more important to your online presence and rankings.
In our done for you service we create a professional video to promote your business and provide a call to action to help drive customers.
It is my recommendation that you continue to create your own video content to bond and engage with your audience. When you do follow these simple optimization tips to get the most ranking juice from your investment. (We complete all of these steps for you if you are our client.)
1. Add your keyword to your titles and description of your video.
2. Tag your video using your business category and keywords.
3. In the advanced settings tag your videos location to your office address.
4. Make sure all of your sharing settings are set to public.
5. Post your video to Google + and all your social accounts.
6. Syndicate your video to other high quality video sharing sites. (Viddler, Vimeo etc.)
Step 4: Social Alchemy (Getting Reviews)
By following the previous local search ranking factors you give yourself an excellent chance at ranking on the front page in your local market on all the major search engines.
Which is fantastic. Now, There is one last step that you can take to ensure you get the most amount of local customers from your ranking.
When local customers find you on the front page we want you to have more social proof (Ratings and Reviews) than your competition. This is important for a number of reasons:
1. It positions you as THE expert in the local market.
2. It helps overcome new customers reluctance to call you or come into your business because you are seen as trustworthy.
3. The stories from your past clients help to pre-sell new traffic into customers for you.
4. Google sees your reviews as an indicator that you are a quality business which signals them to move you up the search rankings.