Is your small business struggling with its local SEO efforts? Are you failing to rank on the front page of search engines? If so, then you are not alone.
Most small business owners in the UK have a difficult time understanding the factors that control local SEO.
This is why we have put together a comprehensive list of the top ten local SEO ranking factors and how they can affect your campaign. Let’s get started learning more, shall we?
1. Content Word Count: In the past, content was king and nothing has changed. Not only is it important to have great content that is informative and engaging, word count plays a huge factor in ranking.
As you already know, Google loves content that is keyword rich but also content that is longer. Depending on the niche of your small business will determine which word count is right for you.
But as an overall rule, most good content that will help you rank higher is between 800 and 1000 words. However, longer content may help to increase your SEO efforts.
Also, keep in mind that you will need to make your content appealing to the viewer’s eye. Content that has large blocky paragraphs are harder to read and will cause most visitors to lose interest.
Short paragraphs that are evenly divided up works best and they will help you keep people on your website for longer periods of time.
Word count and quality content are just one of many ranking factors when it comes to local SEO that you need to pay close attention to.
2. Number of Reviews: Stepping away from your company’s own website for a moment, we will take a look at reviews. There are many review style websites on the internet that allow customers to speak their opinions about your company.
Google loves these reviews and having as many as possible out there will help improve your local ranking. This is why you should always encourage those who use your services or your goods to leave an online review.
But you need to keep in mind that negative comments can have a huge impact on your business and can even cause you to lose potential customers.
You should keep an eye out for negative reviews and always do your best to settle any disputes or concerns that your customers may have. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool that can help your company succeed and drive in more sales.
Some review websites will allow you to respond to negative reviews and allow you to make compromises or explain your side of the story. This can help lessen the effect of a negative comment.
3. Photos Are Important: Believe it or not, the amount and type of photos you display on your company’s website are one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to local SEO. Google loves photos almost as much as it loves content.
But since you are trying to rank locally, you wouldn’t want to use stock photos that you find online to represent your company. Instead, take your own photos or have a professional take them for you.
Make sure that you not only take pictures of the building your company does business in, but also the parking lot and surrounding area. This helps those looking for your location to find it with ease.
Additionally, you will need to take photos of your staff and the public areas of the inside of your business. These pictures can help potential customers get a better idea of what you do and what your team has to offer them.
4. Claim Your Business: Google reviews and other types of online services often showcase many different companies. These types of websites allow business owners to claim their companies which is very helpful when it comes to boosting your local SEO rankings.
By claiming your company, it shows that you care, and you are serious about the products and services you provide.
When claiming your business, you may also have a chance to fill out a profile and even add pictures. These are also highly important. You should write a comprehensive profile and include all the important details that you feel make your company great.
Then you will need to add some photos that showcase your company and what you do best. But remember, this is not the place to try to make a sale. Instead, you want to simply tell people about your company and where it is located.
5. Keyword Usage: In the past, keyword usage was very important to any SEO campaign local or otherwise. But some people have fallen under the misconception that keywords simply don’t matter that much anymore. But this simply isn’t the case.
Keywords in your content and HTML tags are vital to your local SEO efforts. Google loves keywords and the right keywords can help you get to the top of the local search engine results.
But you will have to use the proper amount of keywords in your content. This can be a difficult process and you may wish to hire an SEO expert to help you. Placing too many keywords in a small piece of content is consider keyword stuffing and can have a negative impact on your local SEO efforts.
But if you use few keywords, it can also cause problems. As you can see, this is why many small business owners choose to hire a professional to give them a hand.
6. Quality Backlinks: Another one of the most important local SEO ranking factors is backlinks. Getting backlinks from other authority websites that are in the same industry as your business can help you gain in the ranks. But you should only acquire links from websites that are of high-quality. Low-quality sites can bring your website down and can even cause your local ranking to drop.
So as you can see, backlinks are important but only the right ones. To find quality backlinks, you should probably think about hiring an SEO expert to help you out.
Running a business is hard work so you might not have time to search for backlinks. But if you do wish to look for some backlinks on your own, you can start by posting a guest post on a popular industry related blog or signing up for a link exchange program.
7. A Well Designed Website: This one is pretty easy to understand but so many small businesses neglect to build a website that is well designed. Many try to build their own site using templates that are available for free online.
While you know what you are doing, these templates can produce an acceptable website. But most people simply don’t know how to use them.
If you don’t have the skills to build your own company website, why not let someone who has the experience do it for you? Outsourcing your web design is a great way to get what you need without having to compromise the quality of your site.
But when choosing someone to work for you, choose wisely. There are many fly by night web designers who claim to know what they are doing.
Instead of going with your cheapest option, find someone that has a history of working with small businesses. The person you choose should have a portfolio of past work which will prove they know their stuff.
8. A Mobile-Friendly Website: Not only will you need a high-quality website to rank well locally, it needs to be mobile-friendly as well. The number of people using mobile devices to surf the internet is growing with each passing year.
That’s why having a site that is mobile-friendly will help you attract more customers. If you fail to be mobile-friendly, you are really missing out on a lot of opportunities and sales.
When people who use a mobile device visit your site and it takes too long to load or freezes up, they will most likely lose interest quickly. This can make you look very unprofessional and it can hurt your company’s bottom line.
Also, when people are out and about, they are probably looking for places to shop and eat. So if your small business has a service to offer or goods for sale at a brick-and-mortar location, you want your website to be visible to those on the go. This means you will have to optimise your site for mobile users. To do so, hire a professional to help boost your site’s mobile friendliness and bring in more local customers.
9. Content Management: We have already learned that content is one of the most important ranking factors with local SEO. But it is also just as important to update your website with new content each month in order to keep it at the top of the search ranks.
Coming up with fresh content each month can be a real challenge especially if you do not like to write. This is why so many small business websites fall behind. Not only does Google love fresh content each month, so will your customers.
Having new informative content will entice potential customers to make a purchase and it adds value to your site.
Instead of allowing that to happen to your company’s website, why not do something about it? By hiring a content management company to provide you with articles on a monthly basis, your site will always be fresh.
A content management company will be able to give you SEO rich articles that will be optimized to fit your company’s niche. This will take a lot of burden off you and you will be able to focus on other things like running your business.
When choosing a content management company, find one that can provide you with quality content at affordable rates. But remember, just like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. Content does not come cheap because it is a very valuable asset to have.
10. Linking to Social Media: Last but not least of the list of ranking factors is social media. While most of us use social media to keep up with our friends and family, small businesses use it to engage with customers.
By providing links on your company’s website to different social media platforms, you will gain the ability to market directly to your customers. Social media is a wonderful tool that everyone that owns a small business should be taking advantage of.
It is often at the heart of local SEO campaigns and many small business owners use it as a means to get closer to their customer base. Let’s learn more about how linking your website to social media can help you.
Once you have linked your company’s social media accounts to your official website, don’t forget to keep up with them. This means you will need to make posts at least a few times a week.
If you are having a sale at your business, it would be a good idea to let anyone know on social media. Not only do you need to make posts frequently, you will need to keep up and reply to those posts.
This is a good way to build your customers trust and answer any questions that they may have about your goods or services. But just like content creation, this can be very time consuming and might be not be something that you can keep up with on your own.
Many content management companies will also offer social media management services that will help you keep up with your accounts. This is perfect for those business owners who want to keep up with their customers on social media but simply don’t have the time to do it themselves.
Local SEO Ranking Factors – The Take Away:
These top 10 local SEO ranking factors are highly important to the success of your campaign. By implementing what you have learned here today, you will start to not only to see more visitors to your website but also more money in your bank account.
As a small business owner, you know how hard it is to compete with larger companies so having the local advantage is a great way to improve your bottom line and encourage people to shop locally.
If you already have a business website established, you might want to go through it with a fine-toothed comb to ensure it is up to par.
You may also want to consider hiring a company to handle all of the above for a monthly fee. It will be money well spent if you do.
Just make sure you’ve figured out how much you are able to spend, and see if they can work within your budget to get you the results you need.