Local SEO Ranking Factors: How To Rank For Local SEO

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When it comes to local SEO, there are several ranking factors, but not all of them are weighted equally. 

Certain ranking factors are more important than others. 

Below I’m going to teach you the five most important local SEO ranking factors. These five tips will help get more leads, traffic, and sales to your website. 

I’ll also let you in on a secret bonus tip. 

Let’s jump straight in. 

Organic Ranking

When it comes to ranking your website and your local business, there are two different types of rankings. 

The first is Google Maps listings, or Google My Business listings. These are known as the map pack. 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve seen these before. 

Google Maps Local SEO

Whenever you search for a keyword on Google, you see the maps appear in the SERPs that’s a Google Map Listing. You can read my guide on Google Maps SEO here. 

The second way to drive traffic to your business is through organic listings. 

This is the more traditional way of getting visitors to your website, which I’m sure you’re familiar with. 

Let’s take a closer look at the ranking factors for these methods. 

On-Page SEO

The first ranking factor and possibly the most important is on-page SEO. 

What is on-page SEO? 

On-page SEO is optimizing your content to make sure that it’s targeting relevant keywords for your customers to find your content organically. There’s a bit more to it than that, though. 

Here are three easy on-page SEO tips that you can implement right now. 

So, how do you optimize your content? 

One way to optimize your content is by targeting the right keywords. If you don’t do your keyword research correctly, you’ll never rank when it comes to local SEO. 

How do you know what keywords to target? 

A quick and easy way is to think about what your customers might be searching for on Google. If they’re searching for something in your local area, figure out how to bring them to your website.  

For example, they might be searching for the keyword; best plumber in New York or best pizza restaurant in Virginia. 

Whatever it is, you have to think, how can I create content on my website around those keywords? 

How can I find the right keywords that will bring local customers to my site? 

It’s relatively easy to find keywords suitable for your business using tools like Ahrefs

Ahrefs Keyword research tool

If you don’t want to pay for the best SEO tools, you could use the Google suggest method. 

To do this, start typing any question into Google relevant to your business and let the auto-suggest fill in the blank. 

Google search suggestions

Many people get this wrong in the beginning, so it’s essential to get it right. I’ve written an article on the most significant SEO mistakes to avoid here to get you on your way. 

However, you want to do your keyword research is up to you, but you must make sure you do it upfront to optimize from the very beginning. 

SEO Basics

Once you’ve identified your keyword, you need to be doing the following basic SEO strategies. 

  • Titles containing keyword 
  • Meta descriptions that include your keyword
  • Image Alt attributes with at least one having your keyword 
  • Optimize your H1 through to H6 tags
  • Optimize your URLs to include the keyword – keep them as short as possible

Search Intent

Keyword search intent is vital to SEO. Ask yourself, what questions does my customer have when they land on my page? 

How can I make sure that I create content tailored to answer those questions? 

If you don’t answer the questions the customers are looking for, then chances are they’re going to land on your page and bounce straight off. 

Behavior Signals

Your bounce rate sends a behavior signal to Google, which is another important ranking factor. 

Google analyzes how people engage with your page and how they engage with your content to determine how they rank your site.  

These are:

  • Did they make it to the bottom of your article? Do they enjoy reading it? 
  • How long did the visitor stay on the page? 
  • Did they navigate through other pieces of content – clicking your links?

Google will then analyze how you stack up against your competition and if it’s no good, guess what? You’ll never rank for that keyword. 

This is why it’s so important not just to optimize your website for on-page SEO but to keep people engaged.

An engaged audience will be clicking through your pages and links, sending fantastic signals to Google. Also known as your conversion rate.

Along with significant behavior signals, you want to be converting your traffic to sales or clicks. 

You want to make sure you convert as many visitors to your site into sales. 

There’s no point ranking number one if you don’t convert that traffic into money. 

How can you improve the behavioral ranking factors for SEO? 

There are many ways you can improve your ranking factors. Make sure you are ticking all the boxes according to Google’s Core Web Vitals

Some of these factors are:

  • Create high-quality content
  • Improve the quality of your images
  • Use header tags to break up your content
  • Increase page speed and load times
  • Outbound links should be used
  • Don’t limit yourself to text
  • Make sure your content is straightforward to read

Google’s core web vitals are a huge ranking factor. One of the most critical factors is your page speed. 

Google core web vitals page speed

You can increase your page speed by using tools like NitroPack. Several caching systems in NitroPack will improve performance and lighten the load on your server. 

This means your visitors can view your page faster and engage with it quicker. If your content takes too long to load, they’re just going to jump straight off the page. 

Have A Call To Action

Another important factor for SEO is your call to action. It would help if you made it as easy as possible for people to take action on your site. 

Visitors need to know exactly what button to click to purchase your product, book a meeting or call your business. 

Please take into consideration what route you want the customer to take when they land on the page. 

For example, if you check out my local SEO business Goldielocalseo.com, you can see that the website is optimized to make sure that customers book in a call very quickly. 

Goldielocalseo.com

And that’s precisely what we want people to do when they land on the page. 

So for your business, think about what you want people who land on your website to do next? 

What’s the call to action? 

Once you’ve figured it out, make it very clear to your visitors. 

Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO. If you are unfamiliar with backlinks, they are the clickable text ( typically highlighted a different color ) that links one website to another. You can see I have a backlink in the previous sentence. 

Google considers them to be extremely important ranking factors. 

If you don’t have backlinks and your competitor does, chances are they’re going to outrank you. 

So you need to get them to your site. 

A mistake many people make when it comes to link building is a focus on quantity, not quality, and that’s a wrong strategy to take. 

Your focus needs to be on:

  • Backlinks that are contextually relevant to your site 
  • Location relevant to your site 
  • They have a relevant anchor text relating to your niche or topic

Make sure these backlinks aren’t coming from spammy sites, as that would do more harm than good to your SEO rankings. 

The thing is, Google is looking for signals to externally validate that your content is good and that your content is relevant. 

So if you get backlinks from really high-quality websites, that will go a long way in signaling to Google that you’re trustworthy, you’re an authority, and that the content you’re producing is very credible. 

You could approach websites in your local area or partners or suppliers you work with and ask them to link to your content. 

Another option is to focus on your local chamber of commerce. 

You could even find community-run projects in your area that you help out with and that ask them to link to you too. 

But whatever you do, you need to focus on quality, relevance, proximity, and make sure you get backlinks from authoritative websites. 

quality backlinks

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are also an important ranking factor, especially when it comes to map solicitation on Google is your reviews. Not just getting high reviews but also focusing on the sentiment of the text in those reviews. 

If someone speaks positively about your brand on Google Maps, that helps increase your rankings with local SEO and converts the people who see the review into paying customers.

Make sure that you’re getting as many reviews as possible. You can encourage your customers to leave reviews by simply asking them. Ensure not to incentivize your customers to leave a review by offering discounts or telling them what to say. That’s a big no-no. 

customer reviews

Instead, focusing on getting great reviews by providing a great product or excellent service will go a long way in helping improve your local SEO listings.

Reviews are one of the most powerful forms of social proof for your business. These are the best-selling tools for your site. 

So if you can provide customers with excellent service and get more high-quality reviews, this will have a massive impact on your search rankings and get more customers through the door. 

Citations

The final ranking factor that we’ll talk about for a local SEO is citations. Citations aren’t a huge ranking factor, but they do matter. 

And what I mean by this is these are business directories. 

For example, when you see a business name, address, and phone number mentioned in something like Yelp, that is a citation. 

Yelp, citations

You shouldn’t spend the majority of your time on getting a citation, but at the same time, it does help to have these consistently listed across the internet.

Sites like Yelp have a ton of customers who still go to these sites to find business recommendations. So if you can get listed on there, not only is it going to help your rankings, but also it will help attract more customers to your site. 

If you want to find out what citations to use, you can look at your competitor’s citation backlink profile. 

You could find the top directories in your local area or industry-relevant citations. 

For example, if you’re a plumber, you could find citations around plumbers and spend some time making sure that you get citations relevant to your industry and your site and that you get some location-relevant ones to you. 

Conclusion

Google constantly looks for signals to determine whether your content is good, relevant, and deserves to rank high on their search engine. 

I hope this article helped you understand some of the top local SEO ranking factors so that you can generate more leads, traffic, and sales for your local business. 

Now, when it comes to SEO, you don’t have to get it perfect overnight. It does take a lot of work.

If you can continually improve every day, every week, every month, this will have a considerable impact on your site and the future success of your business.