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Mind These Top 4 Local Search Ranking Factors

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Mind These Top 4 Local Search Ranking Factors

In today’s digital landscape, small local businesses have as much opportunity to go toe-to-toe with big international brands. If they’re willing to put in the work and unlock the ways of local search optimisation, they too can enjoy a greater slice of the pie of the market.

In this SEO Premier Blog, we’ll walk you through the top four search ranking factors you need to mind to help your business navigate the complex terrain of local search marketing:

WHAT IS A LOCAL PACK?

The only true barometer for winning the local search wars in your area is if you occupy the top spots in the local pack. The local pack is an umbrella term for the type of local business search result after a user ran a locality-specific search intent. Phrases like “XYZ near me”, “nearest XYZ” or “top XYZ in ABC” are examples of search terms with a local intent.

Local packs come in different formats. In Google, a local pack includes pinned maps, names of local businesses plus relevant details like contact number, address, operating hours, directions, as well as ratings and reviews.

HOW DOES LOCAL SEARCH OPTIMISATION LOOK TODAY?

Before the era of the local pack, local search optimisation was done the way you would other pages you’re trying to rank for e.g. creating a dedicated page per area or region, proper internal linking, geo-targeted keywords, outreach for authoritative domains linking back to the page or website, etc.

Today, local pack factors include certain requirements and elements like Primary Google Business Profile category, physical address, proximity of address to the point of search, high rave reviews, and many others.

HOW TO DOMINATE THE LOCAL SEARCH COMPETITION

If there’s a surefire way to improve your business’ online visibility and attract potential customers within the vicinity, these are the top local pack factors, among hundreds, to consider to unlock your local search success.

  1. Primary Google Business Profile category

It’s virtually impossible to rank your page on local search results unless your Google Business Profile category comes correct. For example, if your business is a clinic, you might want to specify what type of clinic or service you’re offering, as there could be many options i.e. medical clinic, beauty clinic, veterinary clinic, etc. You don’t want the wrong people showing up at your door, looking for a service your business doesn’t provide.

In your Google account, select your primary business category, click on the Edit Profile tab in the New Merchant Experience editor. If you prefer it, you can add nine other categories if one category doesn’t fully capture your business. For example, if you own a restaurant that serves a fusion of various international cuisines, you can add multiple categories like Italian Restaurant, French Restaurant, Chinese Restaurant, etc. so you are able to capture potential customers who may be looking for such cuisines within the area.

Similarly, you can also create appropriate settings for when you have one business but multiple branches.

  1. Keywords In your Google Business Profile

It’s still important to incorporate relevant keywords to your Google Business Profile. However, any white hat SEO specialist would warn you against spamming your profile with a smorgasbord of keywords.

As a general rule, you can add keywords in your business deion but don’t add it with your business name. Err on the side of caution: if you want to know how to write your business name plus deion, you can consult Google’s guidelines for representing your business.

  1. Proximity of Address to the Source of Search

This is a factor which marketers or business owners often have very little control over. After all, you don’t know where your potential customers are when they try to search for a product or service, of which you provide. However, when they do search for a product/service like yours, it’s better if you optimise for specific keywords which help your business get noticed by distantly-located customers.

  1. High Positive Reviews

How others perceive your business isn’t just a local search ranking factor; it can also significantly improve or hurt your conversion rate. In many surveys, an average star rating doesn’t get noticed easily, with 51% of the respondents saying that a business should have earned at least 4 stars before they consider using its product or service.

If your business currently sports below 4 stars, there is some serious work needed in terms of quality of your product/service as well as overall customer experience. Moreover, it’s recommended to actively seek affirming reviews from delighted customers so they can eventually outnumber the negative comments.

In this highly competitive world of local search rankings, it’s crucial for businesses, however small and upcoming, to command a strong online presence. By focusing on these top 4 local search ranking factors, businesses can boost their visibility and start attracting more customers near the area.

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