We know in order to survive and be competitive that our business needs to rank high in the search results, especially for local searches, but do you know how search engines choose which businesses appear where?

Search engines assume that all search have a local intent, for example if you were to search for “pizza” or “plumber” you will be given a search results equivalent to adding “near me” or other location information to the search query. The device we are searching from give the search engine key location information needed to make this happen, it can be GPS from a mobile device or even where your IP address is registered.

Once the search engine knows that your looking for a local business, it then decides which businesses are right for your search request. Search engines like Google, use many factors to rank local businesses. Lets discuss 6 key ranking signals which will help improve your local search rankings.

On-Page Signals

On-Page signals come from your website, this is great news as it is an area which you can control it’s accuracy.

Search engines will look for several key things on your website including Name, Address and Phone Number or NAP for short, as well as relevant keywords in page titles, headings, and throughout the content. One other area the search engines will take into consideration is your website’s domain authority or trust level.

Link Signals

When another website links to your website it is often called an inbound link or a backlink. Having a good amount of backlinks from high-quality websites help prove to the search engine that your website and your business are trustworthy. High-quality backlinks have a positive impact on your local search ranking, just the same too many backlinks from non-trustworthy website can hurt your rankings.

Citation Signals

Citations are mentions of your business on another website, mostly online business directories. If you have enough high-quality citations with accurate NAP information then you are more likely to rank higher in the local search results.

Review Signals

Reviews are a win-win as both search engines and people care about your reviews and you star rating. With a steady stream of positive reviews coming from happy customers, you will see your local search ranking improve.

In addition, people will be more likely to click on your business in the local results when you have good reviews. While the reviews directly might not be a ranking factor, they will improve your click-through rates which is a ranking factor.

Google My Business

A Google My Business listing is a top factor for ranking high with Google. If you have not already claimed, verified and optimized your Google My Business listing, you can’t afford not to, go do it now.

Google uses this business listing information to determine if you are the right fit for the search of a local consumer.

Proximity

For most local searches these days, proximity appears to be weighted more than links, website content, citations and reviews. With advancements in technology most smart phones with the location services enabled tell the search engines where you are and thus the search engine provides the closest relevant business for the searcher’s need.

You now have the 6 key factors to rank your business higher, or not at all in the local searches. If you need help implementing these into your business, Let’s talk!