9 Local SEO Ranking Factors in 2022 that will contribute to driving highly targeted, local traffic to your website.
Local SEO is quickly becoming one of the most important ways small businesses can target their ideal website traffic. With a number of local SEO statistics showcasing just how important local SEO is, there is no reason why a small business wouldn’t want to maximise the power of local SEO for their business.
The beauty of local SEO is that small businesses can target their ideal local customers through local search rankings without it being expensive, as uncovered by our local SEO pricing research. By targeting local customers, small businesses are able to reach the most relevant website traffic.
These local customers are highly targeted, highly relevant customers who are looking for businesses in their local area. This perfect matrix between local businesses and local customers is a sure-fire way to increase a businesses bottom-line.
While the exact SEO formula for local SEO hasn’t been revealed by Google (much like anything SEO related), there are a number of local SEO ranking signals that can hugely impact your local SEO rankings and overall local SEO campaign.
Let’s dive right into these local SEO ranking factors.
1. Google My Business (Google Maps Listing)
Google My Business (sometimes known as your Google Maps Listing) is one of the most important local SEO ranking factors. A properly optimised Google My Business listing can generate thousands of impressions, views and clicks per month for your local business.
There are a number of advanced local SEO tips that you can use to maximise your Google My Business profile. It is integral to cover off your entire service area under the service area section of your Google My Business profile. Secondly, you need to ensure your business falls under the correct category. Thirdly, it is integral to showcase your business professionally through updated imagery and frequent updates to your Google Business profile. These optimisations are key local ranking signals to Google.
Your Google Business profile, if optimised correctly, will be shown within the map pack rankings, which are commonly seen right at the top of the Google search results.
By ensuring your local SEO campaign covers the correct optimisation of your Google My Business profile, you are given a significant competitive advantage above other businesses in your local area.
Find out just how important Google My Business by reviewing our Google My Business Statistics.
2. Local Business Citations
If you are a local business focused on local SEO, it is imperative to focus on building local citations. A local citation is essentially a link on another local website, pointing back to your own. By creating local business citations for your local SEO campaign, you are showing Google that your website is relevant for search results in a particular geographical location.
For instance, if you are a plumbing business based in Byron Bay, you would want to ensure your business is being linked from other Byron Bay based websites. Building local citations involves placing links on relevant business directories, local business listings, local news sites and other local small businesses websites that are located within your local area.
Ensuring that your local business has a number of links from local sources will show search engines that your business is relevant for search results within your ideal local area.
3. Google Reviews
Positive reviews are more important than ever. Ensuring that your business receives Google reviews assists in a variety of different ways. Google will push your website further up in the search results if your business is receiving positive feedback and attention; additionally positive Google reviews substantially increase your local businesses trust with the local community.
When looking at local SEO ranking factors, positive reviews are one of the key local search ranking factors. At the same time as this, negative reviews can dissuade potential customers from getting in touch with your business and also negatively affect local SEO rankings, so it is important to provide a high level of service to your local customers.
There are a number of ways to obtain positive reviews; such as providing your customers with a great experience, reaching out to past local customers and clients; and ensuring you have a feedback email that is sent out to your customers at varying times throughout your business relationship with them.
Something often overlooked by businesses when it comes to maximising local rankings is responding to customer reviews. It doesn’t matter if it is a positive review or a negative review. We always recommend responding positively to each Google review that you receive, and even looking for opportunities to add local SEO keywords to your review replies.
4. Backlink Profile
While local citations are an incredibly important backlink for your local SEO campaign, the overall backlink profile of your website needs to be optimised properly from a local search perspective. A local link building strategy will always include local citation building; however another key element of your local link building strategy should include links from more than just local business listings and directories.
As an example, if you are a Dentist based in Sydney, you would want to ensure that your website is obtaining a variety of different backlinks from trusted sources that are not only relevant to your business industry, but also websites that are trusted on a national level. As an example, your Dentistry business in Sydney should also be receiving links from health, wellness and dentist related websites.
As a general rule, it is important for search engines to see contextual and geographical relevance as part of your backlink profile and off-page optimisations for local SEO. This backlinking process should be the foundation of any local SEO strategy and will greatly improve your domain authority.
5. On-Page Optimisation
When it comes to optimising your local business website, it is integral for search engines to understand what your website is about. There are a variety of ways to perform proper on-page optimisation to ensure your website is discoverable in local searches.
First and foremost, your meta titles and meta descriptions should accurately describe the services your business offers along with the area your business serves clients for local search. From here, you need to ensure that every element of your on-page search engine optimisation is properly configured. This includes everything from alternative image text descriptions, accurate content written at the correct lengths, regular updates and other critical on-page optimisation elements.
These various on page signals need to be centred around your local rankings and ultimately, your local SEO keywords. All of these on-page signals are important ranking factors that need to be properly optimised to maximise local search results.
These are the local SEO basics and principles for proper on-page optimisation, however a properly fined tuned local SEO strategy will dive further into more complex on-page signals and tactics for local search which we outline in further detail below.
6. Local Search Intent
Search intent defines the purpose of someones search. Sometimes someone may be looking for an answer, a global brand or a local business. Local intent is designed for local businesses to connect with customers in their local community.
One of the most important local SEO ranking factors is local intent. Local search intent is factored around a simple local SEO principle: local searchers are looking for local search results.
When it comes to local SEO, search intent is paramount to ensure you are maximising your local rankings. If a local searcher needs a mechanic, they are looking for a local mechanic. Obviously, if they’re based in Melbourne, they don’t want a mechanic in Broome.
In order for small businesses to maximise their local SEO search intent, they need to ensure the content on their website is local and well researched for their local area.
Before you deep dive into keyword research, you need to ensure you are picking keywords that are relevant for your local area. By completing this organic keyword research, you will tie your local search intent and keyword research strategy together seamlessly.
7. Website Hosting
Often overlooked for local rankings, website hosting is one of the key SEO ranking factors for any business. As we manage SEO for a variety of local businesses, this is one of our first points of call.
For instance, if you are an Australian business, you need to ensure your website is hosted in Australia. Time and time again, we see businesses looking to engage us for local SEO without considering where their businesses website is even hosted.
It doesn’t make sense for a local Australian business to have their website hosted in the United Kingdom, for example. This is one of the local SEO ranking factors that Google considers when placing your website in the organic search results.
If your business is competing against other local businesses who all have their website hosted in Australia, and your website is hosted overseas, Google will see your competitors website as more relevant for those organic search results.
We are often surprised when we don’t see other agencies talking about website hosting when it comes to local SEO. For a well-optimised, comprehensive local SEO campaign, you need to ensure your website is hosted in your geographical location.
8. Landing Pages For Local Search Results
One of the most critical local SEO ranking factors is ensuring your business has landing pages designed for local search results. When it comes to local SEO, you want local searchers to find your website in the Google search engine.
An integral way to increase your local SEO ranking is to design and build landing pages that outline your exact product or service offering and your location. This assists in two ways: it provides your website with critical local intent and also helps your business appear in local searches.
If you are a small business accountant based in Perth looking to connect with other local businesses, we recommend creating landing pages such as “Small Business Accounting Perth”. As you can see, this landing page is specifically designed with local intent in mind, to attract local clients.
9. Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) Optimisation
A comprehensive local SEO campaign should focus on NAP. NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) is a simple, yet critical element for local SEO. Everything from your website, to your Google business profile, to each local citation and business listing should include the exact same name, address and phone number.
Quite often, a business will update its physical address or phone number. It is critical for local SEO to ensure your previously built citations and other assets are regularly updated to ensure your NAP is the same across the board.
By ensuring your NAP is always accurate, Google and search engines understand where to place your business in the local SERP’s.
It’s Time To Dominate Local SEO
Local SEO doesn’t have to be complex, however as with anything SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), local SEO takes time and effort. There are a hundred different local SEO ranking factors, however by ensuring you follow these 9, you are well on your way to dominating the local SEO results in your area.
We always love keeping our eye on the ever changing local SEO space as it is an exciting way for small businesses to increase their SEO ranking across search engines.
Australian Web Experts works with hundreds of small to medium businesses right across Australia on their local search marketing journey, so we are very focused on all things local SEO and local search.
Local SEO has become one of our major focuses here at Australian Web Experts, as it allows our clients to connect with their ideal local customers.
When it comes to local SEO ranking factors, these are some of the local SEO ranking signals we are seeing push the needle forward across all of our local SEO services.
If you would like to chat further to one of our local search engine optimisation experts about how you can harness the power of local SEO for your own business, please do not hesitate to reach out.