Which Local Ranking Factors Matter the Most?

Google’s most recent local algorithm update has changed the rules for local SEO. If you want to see success with your local campaigns, you must know which ranking factors matter the most. A new survey shows a shift toward traditional web ranking factors, such as keywords in the titles, domain authority and linking domain quantity. Last year, it was Google Places and Citations that weighed heavily. If you can take away one thing from this information, it’s that using good on-site signals and links will benefit your local SEO.

Is Your Website Optimized for Local?

The first place to start is by looking at your website and how it compares to your competitors. If you’ve been focused on how to fool Google into placing your website higher, it’s time to change this attitude and work on making your website better. Most customers will be looking at several sites anyway, so you want yours to stand out. Here are a few tips for making your website optimized for local SEO.

  • Add useful, relevant information to your home page.
  • Each page should offer useful information rather than a few sentences and “call us for more information.
  • Clean up your pages that have irrelevant information, spamming keywords or hundreds of cities listed.
  • Update your title tags with a primary keyword phrase and the name of your business rather than tons of keywords.
  • Make sure your site is easy to navigate, loads quickly and contains simple font, graphics and images.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

In addition to having a great website, local SEO is impacted by the following factors:

  • Behavioral signals – Google is looking for quality signals such as click through rates, check ins, offers and driving directions.
  • Domain authority – With Pigeon rolled out in the U.S., domain authority has more influence and can help separate spam from brands in Local.
  • Citations – Consistent citations from quality sources is another element that Google looks for to determine a brand’s reputation.
  • Proximity – Google is getting better at detecting location and delivering the best results to users. This is even getting better on desktops.
  • Social signals – Google+ authority, Facebook likes, Twitter followers and so forth portray how well a brand is enjoyed by the local audience.
  • Reviews – Google is looking at the volume of reviews and their diversity to learn more about local businesses.

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