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Strategies to Improve Local Search Rankings for Small Businesses

SEO for local searches works in much of the same way as generic SEO: on the principles of good quality links, solid content, well selected anchor text, and an engaging social media presence. So why is it, then, that so many local businesses are still struggling with methods to improve their standing in local search engine result pages? The top answer unfortunately has a lot to do with money – a small marketing budget usually has marketing managers juggling priorities and ending up with no significant results, neither in traditional marketing and PR, nor in digital promotion.

Luckily, the major SEO experts out there are putting in a lot of effort to help emerging local businesses prioritize their efforts properly. A yearly survey, which involves the participation of 35 experts in local marketing, ranks top local search ranking factors, in order to aid entrepreneurs understand how local SEO works. If you’ve been wondering what to do to improve local search rankings for your business, then read on to figure out the best solutions for your company.

Optimize on-page location signals

According to most experts, local search results are most prominently influenced by place signals on-page. These signals tie into everything connected with Google Places and need to be as accurate and as well-optimized as possible. Webmasters should also make sure to include relevant location-related keywords into categories and business titles. The performance of a local business website in local searches depends on the business’s physical proximity to the place from which the search is being conducted. As such, if Google takes it that your firm is located close to the searcher, it’s going to deliver them your page as one of the top results.

Make sure your location is clearly marked

First off, build on the authority of your domain, in order to rank well in the SERPs. This may be local search, but it’s still based on Google’s main algorithm. Then, include your location in a significant ratio of titles on the website’s pages. Clearly list your business name, address and phone number and make sure that contact information stays up-to-date at all times. In Google’s view, the easier it is for a potential searcher to find you in their area, the better your business website will rank. That’s simply because Google, too, is a service provider – its aim is to deliver the most accurate and useful information to its users.

Make sure you can be reached at other websites, too

What this means is that Google will pay attention to how well represented your business name, address and phone number are on other pages. Seek to identify the top business directories in your area. Start with Yelp and work your way through all the various types of online Yellow Pages you can find. If your contact details are consistent in as many sources as possible, this will weigh a lot for Google’s local search mechanism. It’s a way for the search engine to verify the accuracy of the information you are providing.

Aside from these specific factors, Google’s local search also factors in link quality. The better your inbound links, the higher your odds at outperforming the competition in the search results. Monitor your reviews and try to tailor your website content to your audience. What are their interests? What local events can your brand be linked with? What community is physically closest to your business? Make sure you know your area, before even trying to rank highly within it. Good performance in local searches needs to be earned, and in order to do that, you need to prove you actually contribute to the higher good of your community.

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