If you have a local business or a brick-and-mortar store, local search engine result pages (or SERPs) can have a huge impact on how your target market can find your business online. However, with the numerous updates that Google has recently made on paid ads, local SERPs have become immensely competitive. So, every business that wants to dominate local SERPs should be ready to double their efforts to get the results that they want.
Fortunately, dominating local SERPs is not rocket science—it is something that can be done. You only need to make a few improvements on your local SEO campaigns to have a substantial impact on your organic rankings.
Here are some strategies that you can leverage to rule your local SERPs in 2019:
1. Take care of your Location Data
Off-site signals have a significant influence on search engine ranking according to a recent survey carried by Moz. As Google algorithms continue to change, even off-site signals will count when it comes to establishing the legitimacy of a business and its overall raking on local SERPs.
To be safe, ensure that your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) is right. Nothing kills your chances of ranking in local SERPs than incorrect contact information.
Here are a few things that you need to do:
- Ensure that your NAP information is listed on your website.
- Verify your location on Google Maps
Google Maps provide your NAP information and a bigger percentage of Google local searches done via Smartphone can even call your local store. So, if you give a bum phone number or address, it will negatively impact your chances of ranking in local SERPs.
- Acquire reviews of your Google Map listings
Google gives around 9.8 percent of the weight of your listing to the number of quality reviews that your business location receives over time. Accordingly, always strive to ask your current clients to review your business.
- Invest in Backlinks
The quality and authority of inbound links that a domain receives are often cited as the top influencers in organic search results.
When crafting your content for local SERPs, it is highly advisable to build solid backlinks into your overall schema. According to Premier SEO Ninjas Minneapolis, one of the best opportunities for building natural links is guest posting on relevant niches in your industry. Ideally, your goal should be to create epic content that site users will be ready to link to—organically. So, the value should be your priority when crafting such guest posts.
Alternatively, work with bloggers and professional copywriters to craft pieces that can link back to your site, push your content to a wide range of news outlets, or simply ask your business partners to link to your site.
Nonetheless, it is not enough to just create links to your site. You need to also validate the anchor text or phrases that link back to your site. Instead of using any phrase or word, strive to link to words/terms that can also rank as keywords or key phrases. As you can guess, you should use this strategy sparingly as too many of the same phrase as anchor text may also do more harm than good to your SEO efforts—even if it is your own site.
If possible, you should also be picky in people who are linking to you. It is important to only partner with authoritative or trusted sources. Otherwise, you better skip the backlinking strategy altogether.
Lastly, remember to link to your own content as well. Yes, linking to yourself is not cheating! Every blog post or infographic that you publish should also link your readers to more of your awesome content through relevant texts or CTAs.
2. Leverage Structured Data Markup Tools
For Google to know your business better and mark it under the relevant business category for higher chances of getting top spots on local searches, you may need to use structured data markup tools. These tools let you feed Google with more information about your business, including who you are, what you offer, your values, review of your past clients among others. Essentially, structured data markup tools help you level up your game. By adding the right codes where necessary, Google can check the content of your website easily.
3. Optimize Your Specialized Location Pages
Although this may sound like a basic SEO strategy, it is important to remember that creating unique landing pages for your local service locations will always go a long way. Your local pages should be arranged like mini-pages and include almost every information that may help users decide if they want to contact you.
And don’t stop here. Keyword optimization is great but user experience optimization is far much better. Once you have created your specialized local pages, ensure that what you see from SERPs is a true reflection of what your users will see. Most importantly, the results should indicate that the page is focused on a given geographical area.
Most importantly, remember that Google rank pages and not domains! So, it is very safe to have multiple pages for varying geographical locations on the same domain.
Before launching your SEO campaign, refresh your skills by first dominating your local SERPs. Through local SEO, you will have a good opportunity to clean up your business location data, build your backlink army, use structured data markup tools to your advantage, and optimize your specialized location pages—which are all critical for your overall SEO campaign in 2019.
Start small and push your way up organically till you gain your local SEO success. You will have an easy time conquering more advanced SEO once you have control of the local SERPs.