As a small or local business, ranking in the Google Local SEO results and on Google Maps can give your website traffic and conversions a boost. As more people search on their mobile device, getting a better ranking in the local Google results and on Google map listings will become increasingly valuable to local businesses.
According to the findings from Google’s local research, 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same. This means ranking in local search has a direct impact on in-store traffic.
You’re probably asking yourself questions such as, How does Google determine my local ranking? or How do I rank higher or increase my ranking on Google Maps? There are many reasons that your SEO may not be giving you the local ranking boost you might expect, so we thought we would outline the primary reasons why your business isn’t ranking in the local results and tips for increasing your local rankings.
What is the Local Google SEO Pack?
With the limited number of top spots in the local pack, it can be difficult to rank in the local search results without a strong local SEO strategy.
The local Google pack and Google Map is located directly below the paid ads and above the main Google search result section on most Google searches – which gives it top placement on both desktop and mobile.
This area has changed over the years to give a better experience and function more efficiently on a mobile device – since that is where this section is utilized most frequently.
Below you will find a list of reasons your local SEO isn’t working and what to do to fix it, some factors that Google uses to determine your local ranking, and how to rank higher on Google Maps.
As you’ll notice, many of the local SEO signals mirror that of larger enterprise SEO strategies, with just a few slight tweaks for geolocation.
Local SEO Fail #1: Poor Listing Accuracy
As it has been known for a while, that listing accuracy across all local listings can help Google better understand where your business is located and provide quality signals towards Google map geolocation search queries.
Listing accuracy started out with three primary parts that are referred to as NAP – Name, Address, Phone Number. Whereas these are still at the core of listing consistency and accuracy, the consistency of additional items can help add quality signals to your listings – including categories, website address, photos, and reviews.
There are a few ways in which a business can go about creating this consistency across their listings.
- Sign up for the primary networks and create listings for each. This can be time-consuming, yet gives you the most flexibility/control for managing these listings.
- The method we prefer in most cases is using a listing service such as Moz Local to manage these listings. This can be an easier approach for local businesses who have multiple locations since it submits to each of the primary sources, direct networks, and indirect networks. The challenge with using most listing services is since you don’t get the login information for each of the services, which limits your ability to control each listing – unless you go through the listing service.
Local SEO Fail #2: Lack Of Local Inbound Links
Local inbound links include links from sources such as media outlets, local blogs, local sponsorships, etc.
The Beneficial Local SEO Links Will Be:
- Geographically relevant to your business location
- Topically relevant to your service offering
- On authoritative websites that have a high-value natural link graph
This means getting links from trusted local media outlets, as well as earning links from high-quality and authoritative local websites and blogs that talk about your product or service.
There are many link building strategies that local businesses can use to get local links, here’s a list of strategies we like to use.
Local SEO Fail #3: Lack Of Website Authority
Website authority has two facets. These facets consist of both qualitative and quantitative authority data points.
Qualitative Variables Include:
- Website Design
- Website Experience
- Content Value
- Information Architecture
Quantitative Variables Include:
- Inbound link authority
- Domain and page authority
- User Metrics
Combining a great website design, content, and earning inbound links are the primary factors that boost local rankings in the Google search results.
Local SEO Fail #4: A Poor Website Design
This is where most local companies fail. They miss the boat on creating a great website design and experience, and thus even when they attract visitors from Google, most will bounce due to the business’s website not portraying trust and authority with its design.
Your Website Design Should Have:
- A Well Thought Out Design Based On A Strategy
- Great Imagery and Consistent Design Elements
- Onsite SEO Included
- In-depth Content
- Social Integration
- An Information Architecture Defined By Client Expectations
Poor website designs and experiences are not always the business owners fault – in short. they just don’t know what a great design is. If you’re embarking on a website design or a redesign of your current website, make sure you choose the correct web design partner. Below are a few resources.
- Website design company comparison chart
- Website checklist to evaluate your design
- The team members and skill sets you’ll need
Local SEO Fail #5: Lack Of Local Citations
Think of citations as mentions, where your name is mentioned in a local article, yet does not link to your website.
Local citations can help Google better understand how involved you are within your local community, and helps define what your business does.
Local SEO Fail #6: Incomplete or Inaccurate Google My Business Page
Signals from your Google Business page can provide some of the most beneficial local ranking factors that can increase your local SEO rankings and your rank on Google Maps.
Google My Business Page Tips
- Make sure your page is complete, and the page is associated with an Owner Verified profile.
- Ask your clients to give you a review on your Google Business Page, then copy that review to your website for maximum value.
- Hire a professional photographer to take photos of your business, products and employees.
- In addition to professional photos being added to your page, ask people who come into your business to take photos and add them to your Google Page.
Local SEO Fail #7: Your Website Lacks Locally Targeted Content Sets
One of our favorite ways to prove local SEO value and earn local links and citations is by creating local content sets including:
- Creating Local Guides For Events Or Neighborhoods
- Reporting on Local Event
- Taking Local Photography
- Interviewing Local Business Owners
Tip: Once created, reach out to local media outlets and blogs by tagging them on twitter and social media when you share the piece of content. Remember this content has to be impactful and in-depth – generic content won’t work.