10 Pieces Of The Google Local Business Ranking Puzzle
Ranking well in Google as a local business is different than ranking globally and the factors listed below all play a role in how well you do.
Here are some of the things that Google looks at, in no particular order, to determine how to rank you:
- the number of citations coming in from local directories
- the accuracy of the citations coming in from local directories
- the authority of the citations coming in local directories
- the relevancy of links coming in from other websites
- the authority of the links coming in from other websites
- how close you are to the searcher
- your online reputation
- the mobile friendliness of your website
- how long visitors stay on your website
- your authority in your marketplace
The importance of these local citations cannot be stressed enough. A citation on a local directory is made up of the following:
- business name
- business address
- business phone number
- business website URL
- business hours of operation
- business description
- business logo
Depending upon the local directory, you may be able to add additional photos, a bio of the owner, a history of the business, the forms of payment accepted and more.
Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo and Foursquare are just a few of the major authority directories that you need to claim and make sure that existing listings are accurate.
Unless you are a new business, you’ll find that you have a listing on many directories and you may even have an online reputation that you didn’t know about.
It’s important that the information is displayed on every page of your website and that it’s consistent across all local directories.
Your local businesses is competing with other local businesses in your niche within your community so the business owner that takes the time or hires someone to get as many citations as possible on local directories and indexed by Google will be seen as more of an authority because their listing shows up in more places with authority than a competitor. (Major local directories are authority sites in the eyes Google.)
Local directories can also be a potential source for new customers and existing customers have the ability to review your business on almost every local directory if they create an account with that directory.
This means you might have an online reputation that you don’t even know about.
You cannot afford to neglect the social media sites Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn even though you might not see the value in them.
The search engines see the content posted on these sites even if your posts aren’t getting engagement with your customers and prospects.
Your Business Online Reputation
Google is highlighting local businesses the local search regardless of whether the search is done from a computer or a smart phone.
Since three local businesses have their reputation on Google, business name, address and phone number listed directly below the paid ads in many niches, getting one of those three coveted spots is more important than ever.
As I’ve stated many times, you need 6 to 10 reviews on Google for your star rating to show in the search results and you need to add to that number consistently for potential customers to trust you enough to do business with you.
If you click here to see your online reputation score, you’ll get a snapshot of what your customers see when they search your business name on the Internet.
Whether you know it or not, online reviews left by your customers is the new form of referral marketing.
Your Business Website
Visitors to your website expect to find information about where you’re located, directions to your business, how to contact you, what hours you’re open, a list of the products or services that you offer and information relevant to their needs.
These visitors expect to be able to find what they are seeking regardless of the device they are using to access your website.
Your business website needs to load fast on a mobile device as well as on the desktop, and needs to look professional, the information they are seeking needs to be easy to find and most importantly the website needs to be easy to find in the search results.
I’ve worked with customers to create new websites that previously used paid services from companies like yp.com, wix.com and hibu.com because the sites that were built by these companies could not be found in the search results of major local directories like Google.
Don’t get me wrong, the major companies I mentioned above can be very valuable to some business owners for specific reasons but don’t expect these companies to create websites that will rank organically for local search in Google because it doesn’t necessarily fit in with their business model.
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