More than half of all searches have local intent, so you’ll want to pay attention to the top local search ranking signals that matter most to Google and other leading search engines. The start of a new year is also a perfect time to assess your local search strategy. If your goal is to do everything possible to rank well locally or improve your existing results, here are the signals to focus on in 2019, brought to you by the digital marketing experts at Saba SEO, a premier SEO company in San Diego.
You should have taken care of this in 2018. However, if you didn’t, make 2019 the year you make your site as mobile-friendly as possible. Being mobile-friendly is especially important for local search results, since most local searchers look for stuff locally on their various devices while on the go.
Google My Business (GMB)
If you haven’t done so already, make 2019 the year you claim your GMB listing. A claimed listing will make your site more visible to both local searchers and Google. Don’t forget to fully optimize this powerful ranking signal for local SEO with:
- Selected categories that best describe your business – Fewer categories are better than just choosing anything and everything remotely related to your business
- Photos to add credibility to your listing – Photos with alt text can also serve as ranking signals
- Accurate NAP (business name, address, phone number) details – NAP info should be consistent for all references to your business online
Bing Places for Business
Google gets all of the attention with search stuff, but Bing has a sizable chunk of users as well. Boost your local SEO potential in 2019 by claiming and optimizing your Bing Places of Business account as well. Further increase your local visibility by claiming your listing on other popular directories used by online searchers. Some of these include:
- Yahoo’s Localworks
- Apple Maps
- Yellow Pages
Review Site Listings/High-Quality Reviews
Most SEO experts believe reviews on Google carry the most weight as far as this particular local search ranking signal goes. To make reviews about your business posted online as visible as possible, you’ll want to claim your business on popular review sites or ones relevant to your business. Common ones include Angie’s List, BBB, and Yelp.
Specifically, high-quality positive reviews typically pack the biggest punch with local search results, but be aware most search engines have rules against asking for reviews in exchange for something. Google also tends to appreciate reviews with:
- Relevant keywords and locations
- Responses (including honest responses that aren’t flattering to your business)
There’s some debate about how much social media listings and activity matter to rankings. Even so, social pages do show up on search engine results pages when people look for local info, so it can help to claim your social listings and optimize your profiles. A Facebook business page should also be on your 2019 to-do list, since many local searchers use this popular social platform as a search engine.
In-Depth Local Search Ranking Signals
These are the local search ranking signals that are a bit more in-depth than what have been discussed already. Still, they’re something you’ll want to pay attention to if you want to get the right kind of attention online for your business. Signals falling within this category include:
- Structured data markups for local SEO
- Click-through rates (CTRs) – Boost your odds of getting meaningful clicks with meta descriptions and title tags optimized for local SEO
- Local keyword optimization (e.g., “pizza shop in Los Angeles”)
- Top-quality and diverse inbound links
- Website domain authority
- “Localized” content (e.g., references to your target locations and local landmarks)
- Proximity to searchers – You can’t optimize for this, but you can make sure your business location information is correct and up to date
Keeping these ranking signals in mind won’t do much good for you in 2019 if you’re also not diligent about tracking your local search results. Google Analytics is an excellent free tool you can use to do this. Filters can be added if you have certain local results you want to keep tabs on more than others. If you need some more help with local search, BrightLocal’s Search Results Checker, Moz Check Listing, and BuzzSumo are some of the free local SEO tools you may want to add to your search optimization arsenal in 2019.
If you need help optimizing your content for local search, reach out to the trusted professionals at Saba SEO, the top experts on SEO in San Diego. We can help you with search engine optimization, online marketing campaigns, social media management, web development, and much more. To find out more about our industry-leading services, call us today at 858-277-1717.