Local SEO

Since the replacement of Google Places with Google+ Local for business pages on the search engine, ranking factors have been the big question. The most obvious ones relate to things you can’t easily change, such as your businesses’ proximity to the searcher or how close your business is to the town centroid. But some come down to search engine optimization.

As a local company you need to create a placement on the Google Business listings and make sure all the address details are correctly input. That should be obvious but many people think that Google listings create themselves. Well, they can be created by users, but you’ll want to control this communication channel yourself.

We look at local search engine optimization factors tips below, that don’t require a physical change in the business.

Appropriate Categorisation

Make sure that your business is categorised correctly, and in a way that it’s intuitive to your target market. For example, if you’re a Chinese food restaurant that offers a take-away option and you leave that aspect out of the categories you’ll miss out on people that use “Chinese take away” as a search term on Goole Maps.

It’s a simple thing but many companies can get lofty ideas about their supposed industry and forget what the core function of their business is.

Linked Website Authority

This is bad news for businesses that completely ignored SEO on their website and thought this was a chance to gain some a valuable web presence without having to go through the giant effort of effective on-site optimisation. The most important factors are:

• Your website’s rank
• City and province is in Places title
• The business name, address and contact number are crawlable on your website

This is fair when you consider that the regular web rankings are also based on geography in Google Local Search. Google Blended Local Search Results return links from multiple vertical search engines in certain instances. So a big disparity between these would look strange.

Structured Citations

The amount and quality of external reviews, testimonials and mentions on other respected sites and directories can affect your ranks heavily.

They’re trying to determine the impact of your business on consumers communicating online. A valid digital footprint indicates that your business is of some consequence in the real world.

Verifying Your Profile

Even if this weren’t a ranking factor, one could see the limitations of trying to perform local SEO on a listing you can’t edit. It just requires a Google+ account and for you to claim it’s your business on the actual listing.

Reviews on the Listing

Although this isn’t something you can directly affect without employing unethical methods, you can perhaps do a promotional drive where, for example, you remind your customers to give feedback on your Google listing, to achieve local search engine optimization.

Other services and tools are offered on the listing. So if you feel a review board is inappropriate to your business, leave it out. There are other ways to achieve meaningful SEO without installing it.