You wish your company to be ranked up in the Google local search results, the so-called 3-pack? Unfortunately, there are no hacks for instant delivery into this section (and that's fine, isn't it?). This means that to obtain greater visibility in the local search companies will need to engage into local SEO.
Local search results are extremely competitive. Besides, Google made a number of changes, which further complicate the struggle for online visibility. In particular, it started showing ads in the local search results on mobile devices, which led to a shift of organic results down.
Is there any good news? Yes. By improving your local SEO, you can significantly increase the visibility of your resource in Google search results.
This article presents 8 simple hacks that you can start using today.
1) Simulate local search during keyword research
Every good SEO campaign starts with keyword research. Many webmasters are referring to the Google Keyword Planner to accomplish this task,. This tool is especially useful for obtaining statistics on common queries.
However, since Google removed the option of setting the location from search tools, it's much harder to look at extradition in another city or region. Now you can not just add the desired location to the keyword, because when you search from another city (or country) the search results will also be different.
As an alternative to a webmaster, you usually choose one of three options provided below:
1) Add the "near" parameter to the URL. After entering the query, they add "& near = city name" to it. As a result, the results will be the same as if the user was near the specified city.
2) Use the "uule" parameter.
3) Use the software for targeting certain GPS-coordinates. Let the algorithm to geotarget keywords via GPS-coordinates; this would be the simplest and most accurate solution. A list of software solutions for checking the local search results can be found here.
After researching keywords, you need to create a content optimized for keywords with low competition, and do not forget to add these keywords to anchor text and HTML tags.
2) Use easy link building opportunities
A recent study by Moz showed that the share of reference signals (anchor text of inbound links, the authority of the referring domain, the number of links, etc.) is ranked at 29% of all Google ranking factors. This means that link building should be one of the main priorities in local SEO.
Unfortunately, building up the reference mass takes time. You need to acquire valuable content that authoritative users want to share before you get links. Learn the possibilities to cooperate with influenza and other ways to build online reputation of your company.
Link Assistant recently conducted a survey of SEO experts on their experience in local promotion and use of various tactics. According to Western experts, the most effective are the following references:
Websites of local companies (77%);
Yelp and similar catalogs (80%);
Local press (83%);
Chambers of commerce (70%).
One of the best ways to get high-quality backlinks in the shortest possible time is to help website owners find and fix broken links in their content. Thus, learn high ranked posts in your niche for broken links, report your findings to the owner of the resource and offer your website as a substitute.
According to the survey, this method was used by 43% of the interviewed SEO specialists in the last 12 months. According to them, this method has proved to be one of the most simple and effective ways of obtaining new links.
3) Use competitors' research to find additional link building opportunities
Exploring competitors is a great way to find domains that refer to your competitors. In order to do this use your preferred tool for monitoring competitors:
- Find out which websites link to some of your competitors, but do not link to you.
- Determine the relative authority of the domain for each of these websites (this information should provide a tool for analyzing competitors).
- Make a list of the most authoritative and relevant domains.
- Contact the owners of these websites.
4. Remove inconsistencies in NAP
It is very important that information about your company on the websites, NAP (company name, address and phone number) was the same. Track the company's mentioning using special software. If there are any inconsistencies in the NAP, contact the owner of the website or directory and ask for corrections.
Based on the results of the survey mentioned above, on-page signals, including NAP, are the second and third most important ranking factors for both the local Google delivery unit and localized search results.
5) Optimize your company's website on Google My Business
Having a company page in Google My Business is the primary ranking factor for the Google local search results. It's not that difficult optimizing the page. You should follow the steps below to do this:
- Add business information.
- Make a confirmation of your account.
- Make sure that information about the company is up-to-date. Common errors: incorrectly specified working hours and wrong choice of the business category.
- Add a link to your website.
- Upload high-quality photos (or update old ones if they were added more than a year ago).
After setting up the page in Google My Business, the best way to continue optimizing is to focus on customers' feedback and company mentioning over the Internet.
6) Use Social Proof for promotion
Social Proof is a very powerful content, available at your disposal. Reviews, customer testimonials, and cases are all important ranking factors (7-13%). The choice of the customers towards your company will fully depend on the type and quality of content you have on your website.
It takes some time for customers to leave feedback about your website. But there are several creative ways to speed up this process:
- Offer opportunities for linkbuilding. Your customers also want to have links just like you. Many of them will be happy to be mentioned in the case if it is published in the public domain. Do not have time for a case? Then you can refer to websites such as Case Study Buddy (this resource is useful for specialists who are promoting English-speaking segment).
- Encourage customers to leave feedback. Share flyers, add QR-code to your receipts and business cards, ask customers about it personally when they pay the bill.
- Ask for a feedback. Yes, it really can be that easy. You do not get feedback from all customers, but all you need is positive feedback on those platforms where your customers are located (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon, etc.). So you can pretty soon gain a solid reputation.
7) Don't forget about the markup of structured data
If you want your company to appear on the local Google knowledge bar, you need to add structured data markup to your website. Micro-markup will also allow you to get an extended snippet along with contacts and feedback in search results.
Unfortunately, you need to use different markup for different platforms. For example, for Google search results you should use Schema.org, for social networks (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+) you can use Open Graph.
To facilitate this task, you can use a tool that allows you to manage all kinds of markup in one place.
8) Track video and image positions in search results
Although most companies measure metrics such as visitors and CTR, only few of them know that high-quality search results monitoring software that allows you to track video and image positions.
Customize your tracking tool to monitor universal search results, and you will be able to get data on search engines such as YouTube, Google, Bing and others.
Optimize the image by applying compression technologies that preserve image quality.
Optimize headlines and metadata with a focus on CTR to improve the video's position, include at least one keyword, create unique previews, and upload transcriptions for the video so that YouTube can easily index them.
What to start with?
Start working on local SEO with the basics: do keyword research, create a company page in Google My Business, conduct a competitor analysis, and then schedule multiple targeted landing pages.
You should start with a small thing and prioritize your actions, focusing primarily on the most important ranking signals in the local search.