Search engines are probably one of the best inventions ever, as they are able to find the information you need in a matter of seconds. Search engines use a complex algorithm in order to carry out a users search. The set of techniques which optimize a website to rank higher in the search engine results is known as SEO(Search Engine Optimization).
If you run a brick and mortar business ‘Local Search’ is probably what you should spend your efforts on. Local search consists of geographical search terms for example ‘plumber in London’ or ‘web design in Texas’. Let us take a look at the top 10 local search factors that matter the most.
1. Category Association
You will need to choose the category for your website when setting up a Google local page (now known as Google+ Local). It is important that you choose the correct category for your business and also select sub categories, ensure that you include your business in every category that is relevant for example if you are a web design company you can be listed under ‘internet services’, ‘web design’ and if you also offer website hosting or SEO services, ensure you are listed under ‘marketing’, ‘web hosting’ and ‘digital marketing’.
2. Physical Address
The search engines local algorithm is highly focused on physical address. If you run a business which has a website, you should ensure that your physical address is found on every page of your website, either in the sidebar or the footer.
3. Structured Citations
This type of citation is a result of your website being listed in an online directory of some kind. It is a more in-depth citation than any web-based mention which may only give partial information or contain inconsistencies. In order to avoid misleading information and showing for the wrong locations, you should always monitor and clean up your online citations, especially if your business changes address.
4. Quality of Citations
The best way to be successfully linked is to appear in authoritative indexes or directories on the internet. Your website will be considered more trustworthy if it has high-rated and high-quality links – especially those that have your address on the same page.
5. Matching Information
If you have more than one website which contains information about your business, data in one website should match the date in other websites. If this is not the case, search engines will not be able to find out legitimate information about your business. Information such as the physical address of your business or the category of your website must match in order to optimize search results.
6. Domain Authority
This is a very complex and important factor for websites. Domain authority is achieved by being linked and cited in high-rated websites. In order to have high domain authority, your website should be easy to use and well structured. It is also good practise when optimising for local search to build links pointing toward your Google+ Local page.
7. Owner-verified Website
There are means to prove the ownership of your website in some listings, such as Google+. You should not let anyone take ownership of your website and to avoid such an event, you should verify the ownership of every website you own.
8. Google Local Linking to your Website
When creating a Google+ Local page you are given the opportunity to link to your website, this is important and should always be completed. You also have the opportunity to setup ‘authorship’, this means if you contribute content to any website online your business can claim authorship of the content.
9. Proximity to “Centroid”
There is a city center set by default in every search engine for every city, known as “Centroid”. Being close to the center maximizes the chances to appear in a search result. So if you have more than one office in a town, always choose to list the one closest to the center.
10. Your Business Title Matters
If your business title has the name of a core service or product such as ‘A1 Web Design’, your business gets the small ranking advantage in the search engines.
However, if you already have a business name without the product or service term in it, don’t try to add keywords to your business name as you only get a small advantage and it isn’t worth ruining your brands authority.