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Local SEO: How to Improve Local Rankings On Google

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Digital Advertising

Every business needs the same thing: to be seen.

One of the best ways to increase the visibility of your home services business is to invest in local search engine optimization (SEO). When you invest in search engine optimization focused on your local area, you will only show up to customers you actually want and need. 

In this post, we'll teach you what local SEO is, why it's important, how the Google algorithm works, and how to improve local ranking for your company.

Let's dive in!

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO stands for "local search engine optimization." It's the process of improving a website's ability to rank higher in localized Google searches.

For example, when you type "Best Pizza Sacramento" into Google, you'll notice that "The Flying Goat," a Spokane, WA-based pizza parlor, doesn't appear in the local search results. Instead, Google will direct you to a restaurant like "Roma 2 Pizzeria," located in Sacramento, CA.

This is known as a local search result because the website for Roma 2 Pizzeria is optimized for Sacramento-based Google searches. On the other hand, The Flying Goat's website is optimized for Spokane-based Google searches.

The same is true for your home services business. When people search Google for plumbers or HVAC techs in your area, does your website show up? If not, you need to invest in local SEO. 

Why Is Local SEO Important?

As we mentioned in the Beginner's Guide to Local SEO:

"The purpose of local SEO is to ensure your business appears in Google search results when people look for nearby products or services."

This kind of online visibility will do wonders for your business. 76% of people who conduct local searches on their phones visit a business within 24 hours. Even better, 28% of these searches result in purchases. If your company's website can hit the top of Google's local ranking, your customer base and revenue numbers will increase.

Get to Know Google's Ranking Algorithm

There are a bunch of search engines out there, but none of them hold a candle to Google. In fact, Google accounts for 86.64% of the global search market. Its closest competitor is Bing, whose market share taps out at 7%.

To improve local search rankings, you need to understand how Google's ranking algorithm works and what ranking factor the search engine takes into consideration.

Here are the top three things Google analyzes websites for:

  1. Relevance: Google only ranks websites that relate to user search queries. This is why you won't see ballet tutus when you search for mountain bikes. Google analyzes keywords, i.e., the words and phrases users type into search engines to determine relevance. If your website is optimized for the right keywords, it can achieve higher local —more on this in the next section.
  2. Location: When it comes to local ranking, Google analyzes websites for location, too. This is another reason why The Flying Goat, the Spokane-based pizza parlor mentioned earlier, doesn't appear in searches for "Best Pizza Sacramento."
  3. Popularity: Finally, Google considers the popularity of a website before ranking it. Sites that get more traffic, have more backlinks (more on this below), and manage larger social followings have a better chance of hitting the first page of Google search results. Why? Because Google assumes that prominent websites are popular for a reason. So, to better serve its users, Google gives these sites priority.

Now that we've gotten to know Google, let's talk about improving your local ranking.

How to Improve Local Ranking in 5 Steps

Local SEO isn't complicated. If you're willing to put in the work and follow the five steps below, you will improve the local ranking of your company's website. Let's take a look.

1. Optimize Your Google My Business Profile

This profile can make or break your local SEO strategy. Here's how:

  • Create Your Profile: If you don't have a Google My Business profile yet, you can create one for free here. Google will walk you through the entire process.
  • Enter Complete Data: The more data you can add to your profile, the better. Start with key information like your full business name, business category, exact address, phone number, web address, and hours of operation.
  • Add Quality Photos: Google My Business Profiles with high-quality photos get 35% more clicks than those that don't. So, add as many eye-catching images as you can.

Once you've perfected your profile, move on to step number two.

2. Edit Your Website With SEO In Mind

Next, take a look at your website. Is it optimized for SEO? We’ll assume the answer is no since you're reading this blog post. Not to worry, here's how to edit your site:

Make it Mobile-Friendly.

Mobile devices generate 54.8% of internet traffic around the world. Suppose your website doesn't look good on the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy tablet. In that case, visitors probably won't stick around. This will cause your site's bounce rate to skyrocket, leading to poor SEO results.

In addition, Google now prefers to index and rank mobile-friendly websites. It will be tough to improve local search rankings if your site isn't optimized for mobile devices.

Add Valuable Keywords.

As mentioned earlier, keywords are the words and phrases people type into search engines. Google uses them to help determine which sites to rank.

You need to learn which keywords your customers type into Google when they look for the services you provide. Some of them will be obvious. If you're a roofer, for example, keywords like "best roofers in [your city]" and "roofers near me" are safe bets.

To find less obvious keywords, you might want to try using a free tool like UberSuggest.

Once you know which keywords your customers use, add them to your website. Just make sure you don't resort to keyword stuffing. When website owners add too many keywords, it becomes unreadable. Always prioritize readability.

Ensure Consistency.

Lastly, make sure the information on your website is consistent across the internet. Is your business address the same on your site as it is on your Google Business Profile? What about on Yelp and your Facebook page? The same goes for all of your other business details, too.

Your local ranking will plummet if Google discovers conflicting information about your business. So be super careful and check for typos and other discrepancies.

3. Implement a Content Marketing Strategy

Another way to improve your local ranking is to invest in content marketing.

How will this help? By creating keyword-optimized content, you'll give yourself extra opportunities to rank in Google search results.

You probably don't want to use the keyword "cost for AC maintenance" on your website—even if you're a professional HVAC tech who fixes air conditioners for a living. This phrase doesn't get enough search traffic to make it worth your website's while.

But that doesn't mean "cost for AC maintenance" is a worthless keyword. So why not write a blog post about this topic instead? That way, you can capitalize on the traffic it generates while filling your website with other, higher-value keywords.

Content marketing will also help you build relationships with your target customers. They'll read your articles and begin to know, like, and trust your company. Then, when their AC breaks down, you'll be the first business they call. 

4. Collect and Respond to Customer Reviews

Online reviews are critical to local ranking.

If you can generate positive, authentic online reviews on sites like Yelp, Thumbtack, and, of course, Google reviews, your website will appear in more searches. As an added benefit, quality reviews will help convince a potential customer to do business with you, too, once you achieve a high rank.

If you've ever bought anything online, you know this to be true. We all read reviews before making purchases on sites like Amazon and eBay.

The question is, how do you generate positive reviews at a consistent clip? Here's how:

  • Do Great Work: If you provide a quality service, your customers will automatically be more open to reviewing your business. So make sure you're doing great work.
  • Ask For Reviews: Do your customers love the services you provide them? Then all you have to do to start generating reviews is ask for them. 72% of customers who are asked to write a review go on to write one, according to BrightLocal.
  • Offer Incentives: Another way to collect reviews is to offer incentives. You could give reviewers a gift card to Amazon, a discount on their next service, or you could offer a rebate on the service you just performed.

Once you receive a review, respond to it—even if it's less than positive! 53.3% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week.

5. Spend Time Building Local Links

Last but certainly not least, build a strong backlink profile for your website.

A backlink is any link that connects a particular website to yours. A backlink profile is a collection of links that point to your site. So, this link counts as a backlink for Google, which will sit in the search giant's backlink portfolio until we remove it from this post.

Google views backlinks as a sign of authority. The bigger your website's backlink profile is, the more authoritative Google will consider your site to be. Since Google generally gives precedent to more authoritative sites, building links is a great way to improve local search rankings.

There are a bunch of ways to build a backlink profile. Here are a few ideas:

  • Partner With Other Businesses: Find businesses in your area that serve similar customers. Then, offer to link to their website if they do the same for you.
  • Sponsor Local Events: This is an excellent way to let your community know about your business. It may also earn you a link if the event has a "Sponsors" page on its website.
  • Get the Press Involved: Local news outlets are always looking for stories. Ask them to write a story about your business and link to your website in the article.
  • Invest in Guest Blogging: You can always write blog posts for other local businesses. Make sure you link to your website in the content when you do.

One more thing: Google considers backlink quality, too. Backlinks from spammy websites won't help your local ranking. They may even harm them. So, work to get links from authoritative sites. This tool from Ahrefs will help you gauge website authority.

How Scorpion Can Help With Local SEO

Image of Scorpion Ranking software

Search engine rankings are always changing, and it can take a team of experts to help. If you can improve your local ranking on Google, you'll drive more traffic to your site, book more service appointments, and, ultimately, help your business become more successful.

At Scorpion, we are experts in local SEO. We have been helping small businesses just like yours with their marketing for over 20 years. We know that your success can hinge on ranking with local search results. Our team will follow a few steps to get you to rank higher and faster with local SEO. 

1. Use our artificial intelligence technology, Ranking.AI, to show you what keywords you need to rank for your area.

2. Optimize content on your website and advertising to match the needs of your area and target customers. 

3. Offer new bold strategies to help you hit results. 

Through our combined expertise paired with insight from our advanced artificial intelligence technology, we leverage your ranking strategies to outperform your competitors in your area every time. 

"Since our new marketing manager took over, we are now organically on the first page, and our revenue increased by almost $100K per month. She stays in touch and makes me feel like we are the only clients she has. The truth is, she simply makes me look good."

Bill McEwan (Nuckols Plumbing & Gas) 

If you implement the five local SEO tips above, you'll be glad you did—guaranteed! At Scorpion, our passion is all about helping you rank faster and get more leads for your business. Get started with Scorpion Ranking today. 

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