As cumbersome as the local search ranking algorithm might be, it’s important that local businesses grasp and master it in order to keep up with the competition. There are tens of thousands of potential customers in your area, and in order to get noticed, you’ve got to understand the factors that are effecting your online visibility. The following are just a handful of these factors.
Location Location Location
When talking about local search ranking factors, it’s pretty obvious that your location is very important. When customers enter vague queries into search engines, the results page usually shows packs of local results pertaining to the query entered. Let’s say someone enters “Web Design Sussex” in the search engine. In order for your business to show in the pack of results, it’ll need to be located in Sussex. Your business may also show up if a person on a mobile device enters a keyword related to your business, and that device is located in your city. These days localized search results, especially from mobile devices, mean everyone is seeing different things as they search based on their geo location.
This may seem very straightforward to most but it can get a little more complicated with certain businesses. For instance, what if a business owner operates a “service area business,” or SAB? These businesses may be located in Fort Worth but have employees who service customers in the Dallas area. Brick-and-mortar businesses are those businesses that are physically located just outside of places like Dallas, but who have the services Dallas customers are looking for. If you’re one of these businesses, you’ll likely have to make up for the lack of visibility by investing in online city landing pages.
Citation Consistency Is The Key
Search engines value consistency when it comes to the details pertaining to a business. Online search engines are always combing the web to match and cross reference citations associated with a business. When you’re supplying the name, address, and phone number of your business, it’s important that all of the information you provide on your personal site, as well as external sites, are exactly the same. Having misspellings in your company names, typos in your URLs, and wrong digits in your phone numbers can confuse search engines and affect your ranking. The search engine basically sees this information as belonging to two separate entities instead of one.
External Website Quality And Ranking
It’s not uncommon to have a business’ information available on another website. There are hundreds of websites that provide visitors with directories and indexes that list various companies. However, the authority of these external sites are having an effect on your ranking as well. Things like the reputation of the website, the age of the site, and the quality of the site all determine the site’s authority. Make it a priority to target the more authoritative high-quality sites that list these indexes.
Your Website Quality Is Important Too
This last one might be another obvious factor that affects rankings. Search engines tend to increase the visibility of those websites that have the most authority online and in a certain category. Let’s say there’s your restaurant and another restaurant across the street. The restaurant across the street has an amazing website that sees lots of traffic, is very functional and intuitive, and has been active for years. On the other hand, your restaurant just opened last year, and your site isn’t as popular or as functional. If a person where to enter the query “restaurant Dallas” it’s likely that the website for the restaurant across the street will be listed way before yours. This is why it’s important to focus on building and publish a strong website. Design it so that it looks great, is user-friendly, and has helpful content. If you do this, over time it’s sure to gain momentum on the online search results pages.