If you want your business to rank higher in Google, you need to know about local SEO services.
Because if your business is getting outranked, you’re losing your best opportunities to land more new customers.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Ranking well in Google search (and other search engines) is not as difficult as you may think if you know what to do and how to do it.
And that’s what your going to learn right now.
So whether you’re looking for a do-it-yourself option, or a local SEO company to help you, you need to know what Google values most when it comes to ranking local businesses.
That will be covered below in what I call the local LOGIC system.
Next, you’ll need to know how your business stands regarding these five critical ranking factors so you can determine what you need to do to optimize your ranking.
That’s a process I call Local Market Validation™, and it will give you a virtual blueprint for local SEO success. With this you can be your own local SEO expert.
You’ll learn about Local Market Validation™ later in this article.
What you’re going to discover here will work for ANY kind of local business from dentists, chiropractors, and veterinarians to car repair, insurance, home related services and any other kind of local business you can think of.
And it will work in any local market in the USA.
This is your definitive guide to local SEO success for YOUR business in YOUR city.
Local SEO Services Broken Down
Google has more than 200 criteria they use for ranking local businesses, but just five of them account for about 75% of the weighting factors.
These are the ones you need to focus on, and you’ll want to use local SEO services that cover all of them.
I’ve created an acronym to help you easily remember them: LOGIC.
- Link signals
- On-page signals
- Google My Business signals
- Internet Review signals
- Citation signals
I’ll explain what they are, but first let me prove to you why they are the most important local SEO factors.
There are two areas Google will list a local business: the “local pack” and the “organic search results.”
This is what they look like.
Google uses the same major criteria for both, but they are weighted differently.
This is the breakdown for the local pack per MOZ.
And here is the breakdown for the organic listings.
You’ll notice that there are a total of eight major local SEO ranking factors in a little different order.
The five most important that you can control our included in the local SEO LOGIC system.
There are also two that are completely out of your control (behavioral signals and personalization) and one (social signals) that is at the bottom of the lists as only a 4% weighting factor, so we won’t concern ourselves with them.
This is what you need to know about the five critical local SEO factors.
Link signals (backlinks)
A link, commonly referred to as a backlink, is when another website links from their website back to yours.
Maybe they like a blog post you’ve written, and they write about a similar subject and link to your blog post as a point of reference. That’s a good example of a backlink.
Getting backlinks may be the most important factor for local SEO services, but it’s also the hardest to do because it’s not something you can really control.
It will either cost you a good bit of your time to build the kind of backlinks that get the results you’re looking for, or it will cost you money to let a local SEO expert do this for your business.
Many businesses look for a local SEO company with existing relationships with website owners, which acts like a network to help build backlinks.
On-page local SEO factors are within your control, so this is a great place to start when building your website.
There are a lot of things to consider here, but I’ll give you the ones that will give you the most bang for your buck regarding your local SEO services.
Here are some general things about your website to consider first.
- Make sure your website is secure by contacting your website hosting company to buy an “SSL certificate.” SSL means “Secure Socket Layer.”
- Make sure your website is “mobile friendly.” An easy way to check that is to click here and use the free Google tool.
- Check to see if your website is fast by Google standards. You can click here to use their free tool for that.
Here are a list of tips that will certainly help you with your local search engine optimization.
- Use your main key word for each web page in the URL. For instance:yourwebsite.com/keyword-here
- Use internal linking. That means you link one page of your website to other relevant pages on your website.
- Use your main keyword for your page in the first paragraph of your text.
- Optimize your images by using LSI keywords (keywords that are synonyms and related keywords to your main keyword)
- Use social sharing buttons
- Write long, detailed, helpful content (1,000 words, or more, is best)
- Increase the “dwell” time (make people stay) on your webpages by using interesting images, infographics, videos, etc.
Here are three things that are a must for good on-page SEO.
You need to make sure the way your online page listing in the Google search results reads like a compelling ad so it will entice clicks.
Two important elements for that are your “title tag” and your “description.”
Here’s an example for how they display in Google.
Think of your title tag as the headline and the description as the body copy for an ad. Use your focus keyword in both and make them persuasive.
The third thing is to deliver high quality content. That’s an in-depth subject, but you can get a helpful formula for writing great content by clicking here.
Google My Business and local SEO services
Chances are you’re already familiar with Google My Business because you’ve already verified your business with Google.
If not, you need to click here and start the process. This should be a top priority for your business.
Simply verify your business with the simple process Google leads you through, and add all of your basic business information (name, phone, address, hours, website, etc.).
Then optimize your listing, and Google will show you how to do that.
Building your online profile for business reviews is extremely important for two reasons, making them vital for inclusion in your local SEO services.
One is because it improves your local SEO rankings.
The second reason is because it’s a major trust factor people use as a guide for which business they choose to buy from, yours or your competitor’s.
Here are some numbers to consider.
- 92% of consumers read online reviews before selecting a business. (eTailing Group)
- 86% of online users will be searching for a local business at some point in time. (Kelsey Group)
- 90% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. (MarketingLand.com)
- A one “star” overall difference in reviews results in a 5% – 9% change in revenue. (Harvard Business Review)
So your reviews appeal to two important audiences, your potential customers and search engines like Google.
There are three different things that the search engines and potential customers both look at.
- The total number of reviews (the more you get, the better for your business)
- The overall star rating (shoot for 4.5 star rating or better… less than a four star rating will cost you business)
- How recent the reviews are (try to get reviews every month because people don’t pay as much attention to reviews older than three months)
Those are the most important things to focus on.
For some tips and a really good process for getting great reviews for your business, you can click here.
Local SEO Services and Business Citations
There’s confusion where the definition of a business “citation” is concerned compared to a business “listing.”
What you really need to know is that a business citation is any mention of your business name on the Internet combined with at least one other piece of information like a phone number, a website URL or a street address.
As you can see in the pie charts above for local SEO services, citations are a very important factor when considering what local SEO services you need for your business.
You want to get as many as you can and they all need to be accurate. Conflicting data about your business online will hurt your local SEO.
You can build your online citations using a manual process, but that’s a bad idea because it’s an extremely time consuming process, and it’s easy to make mistakes with manual data entry.
The smart way to do it is to use what I call the Big Four Data Aggregators to push out your business listing data on a weekly basis.
The Big Four include Infogroup, Acxiom, Factual and Neustar/Localeze.
Any good local SEO company should be able to help you build up and maintain the accuracy of your citations.
Business data degrades over time online, so pushing it out across the Internet on a regular basis will help your business information remain accurate.
Also, the more you push out your data, the more opportunities you’ll have to pick up new citations, and that helps your local SEO.
You can use the information above to improve your local SEO because now you know just what to look for.
If you want a short cut for how to send your local business to the top of the Google search results you may want to consider what I mentioned earlier: Local Market Validation™.
How Local Market Validation Helps Your Business
Now that you know the basics about what local SEO services you need for your business, you also need to know where your business currently stands with Google in these five areas.
Local Market Validation™, which “validates” that Google is getting exactly what it requires regarding your specific business to rank it high in the local search engine results pages.
Once you have the Local Market Validation™ analysis it will be a virtual blueprint for local online marketing success showing you exactly what you need to do with your priorities laid out for you.
Credit: Pie chart images and information from MOZ.
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