SEO is usually associated with link-building, which, taken to extremes, sometimes does more damage than good, making the company look like spam. (Well, let’s confess: we’ve all sinned overdoing SEO at least a couple of times). SEO is always based on valuable content irrespective of which of its main components we are talking about. But, let’s look at them individually.
LocalSEOGuide carried out research on local SEO ranking factors for 2017, looking at over 200 factors in a sample of 100,000 local businesses to figure out the most influential SEO practices for high local ranking in 2017, including ranking in Google’s local pack. 4 main components were examined:
1. Keywords – Organic Ranking
Keyword research is the basis of all SEO activities that your company will undertake. This is also the basis of your organic search ranking. There are numerous tools for keyword research, both free and paid, such as SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, even Google search tool. Beautifully crafted content with wrong keywords will be as useless to you as one with no keywords at all. At the same time, it’s not about the quantity, but the quality of the keywords you are using. If you’re trying to rank your services page, be sure to include only relevant keywords, while you are choosing among hundreds of your industry-related options.
After you have identified the list of keywords you need to work with, make sure you create relevant content for each of your pages. This content should not only use the right keywords, but also be of value for the people that visit your pages as a result to avoid high bounce rate.
2. Link-Building is Your Online Network
As sad as it may sound, the widespread practice of flooding the net with low-quality and low-authority links still works. Ranking in local search packs by low-value websites can only speak of vigorous investments in link-building services by those companies. It is hard to beat companies that are ready to invest huge amounts in these practices. However, the solution is to provide valuable content on your blog, use appropriate internal and external links to valuable content online and build linkages with authoritative platforms. This will help you drive the RIGHT traffic to your website even if you don’t end up in the local pack.
3. Killer Website Makes All the Difference
Once you have mastered your keyword list and have come up with the best link-building strategy, what holds it all together is a well-designed, properly outlined, mobile friendly and holistic website. The website is your platform to rank top in organic search, which almost guarantees ranking in the local packs. Things to consider here are keywords in meta descriptions, in business name, in titles, location in URL. And, of course, adding to this is your smart and original blog content.
4. AND FINALLY, Reviews
Google is shifting to more engagement-based and locally relevant factors in its local search algorithm in determining where your business ranks in local search, as well as the local pack results. This makes it easy to understand why My Google Business profile, content and engagement, as well as the reviews are so relevant today for SEO. And one of the reasons high importance is placed on reviews is that this content is not created by the company and thus is more reliable, it’s hard to spam.
Although this content is not created by you directly, you still have a great opportunity to make it work in your favor. And this is done through COMPANY engagement which is done through:
- creating your business profile, claiming it, being active,
- encouraging your customers to leave reviews, post photos of your products,
- making sure to respond to reviews and engage with the customers, especially in case of negative reviews,
- using the right keywords, city name (for local ranking),
- providing additional valuable information in the review section to your customers.
While thousands of best professionals Improve Google algorithms to make them work in favor of the customer, businesses have the time to create real value. Using tricks will be useless tomorrow, as algorithms become smarter every year. What our aim is to be smart and stay in the game for the long run. And as Andrew Shotland, Local SEO Guide CEO says, “While attempting to shift to more engagement-based and locally relevant factors for its Local algorithm, is still susceptible to the traditional organic SEO tactics. The immaturity of the Local algorithm combined with the power of a focused SEO effort can yield outsized benefits for smart location-marketers.”