Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of improving online search results for a business at a specific location. It is particularly important for small and mid-sized companies that operate in and serve the residents of a particular city or region.
Widely embraced by a broad spectrum of companies, local SEO has become an essential component of most modern digital marketing campaigns. Think of it as helping Google to help customers who want to find your services online.
Landing at or near the top of relevant Google searches isn’t easy. Digital marketers have developed a wide range of complex strategies and processes to boost search rankings. But as Google and other search engines continually adjust their operations to improve user results, best local SEO practices must evolve in response.
With this in mind, here are six SEO ranking factors that business owners and marketers should prioritize in 2023.
In light of the extraordinary popularity of Google’s search engine, a good Google Business Profile is a great way to let people know about your business, what it does, where it is located, and how customers can reach it. While providing relevant information to customers, your Google Business Profile can aid in local SEO by boosting your Google search results. Although it is free of charge, you should invest a significant amount of time into setting up and maintaining your Google Business Profile. To better serve customers and enhance local SEO, consider customizing your profile with captivating photos, special consumer offers, and regularly posted updates.
Although Google keeps many of its ranking factors and processes a secret, the company has publicly acknowledged that the prominence and quality of a local business’ online reviews can have a significant impact on its overall SEO results. “Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking,” says the Google Business Profile Help Center. “More reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.” In short, the reviews of your business that appear online exert a powerful influence on your website traffic and financial bottom line. The number, rate, and diversity of these reviews send powerful signals to the algorithms that ultimately determine your final search result ranking.
Citations for your company can appear on any number of online business listings or community/industry directories. In fact, any online reference to your company’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) data will function as a citation that not only informs consumers but guides Google and other search engines in their ranking operations. With a power that is similar to that of online reviews, the quantity and quality of these citations help search engines determine just how legitimate and trustworthy your company and its website really are. In addition to reaching out to a large number of reputable business listings and directories, wise business owners and SEO marketers will ensure that NAP data remains strictly consistent across all platforms.
All aspects of your website design and on-page content should serve your local SEO efforts. This means including relevant keywords on your home page, landing page, and other key places. It also means prominently featuring your business’ home city and general region of activity. You will also want to include keywords and geographical information in the website page and section titles as well as readable URL addresses. All of these actions will help boost your company’s search result rankings with leading online search engines such as Google. Be aware, however, that keywords and location information must be incorporated naturally and organically into the titles and text of website content. If Google detects that you are overstuffing your website with on-page signals, it can actually result in worse search result rankings.
Google penalizes websites for inorganic keyword stuffing because it identifies companies that are trying to take SEO shortcuts at the expense of the average web user and consumer. Ideally, your company’s relevant keywords and location information should be integrated into high-quality local content that informs, entertains, and otherwise engages a specific target audience. Make no mistake: it can be quite a chore to create and continually optimize website content with SEO firmly in mind. However, high-quality local website content will not only improve your search engine results but better serve existing and potential customers alike.
Every embedded link to your website that appears on another website is a “backlink.” All of the backlinks to every page of your website constitute your “backlink profile.” Google and other search engines take a very close look at your backlink profile when determining your placement among relevant user search results. When it comes to backlinks, quality is far more important than quality. Wise business owners and digital marketers will do all that they can to establish backlink connections to reputable and authoritative websites and organizations. Links to untrustworthy or unpopular sites may significantly damage your SEO efforts.
Covering a wide variety of highly technical areas and processes, the launch of a local SEO campaign can be daunting to say the very least. Not all strategies work equally well for all businesses in all geographic locations across all market sectors and industries.
A specialized marketing agency based in Cleveland, Ohio, Marketing Done Right provides expert SEO services, that can help you identify your needs and create a customized campaign that is right for you. In addition to offering considerable SEO expertise, we can help you with everything from website creation and development to social media advertising, all with a specific focus on local businesses.
Various factors, including those above, will continue to impact local SEO throughout 2023 and well into the future. Stay up to date with these changes and address other digital marketing issues by contacting us today.