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Key Local SEO Ranking Factors in 2024

by | Jun 10, 2024

Why Is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO can be a game-changer for businesses looking to attract customers from their immediate area. There’s a lot of fluff out there about what you can do to boost your business’s local maps results, so we wanted to take the time to highlight what actually works. You can avoid spending time on things that don’t work and instead focus on what really drives results in 2024.

Here are six critical factors that can significantly increase your local search visibility and help your business thrive.

1. Verified Business Location

One of the foundational steps in local SEO is verifying your business location on Google Business Profile. This simple yet essential action proves to both Google and potential customers that your business is legitimate. While verification used to be possible in several ways, in 2024, you’ll need to plan to record a video to verify your business details. The video will have to include clear signage of your business and be able to show the inside and outside of the company.

Verification has multiple benefits. It enhances your business’s credibility, making it more likely to appear in local search results and Google Maps. Knowing that your company has a verified physical presence gives your customers confidence. Additionally, verified businesses are eligible for other features like Google Posts, which can help you share updates, offers, and events directly with your audience.

Steps to Verify Your Business Location

  1. Sign in to Google Business Profile: Go to your Google Business Profile account and ensure your business details are accurate.
  2. Request Verification: Follow the instructions for video verification. This usually involves recording specific areas of your business as guided by Google.
  3. Submit the Video: Upload the video through your Google Business Profile account to complete the verification process.

2. Optimized & Active Business Profile

After verifying your business, it is critical to maintain an optimized and active Google Business Profile. An optimized profile ensures that all the information about your business is accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date. Regularly updating your profile with new photos, detailed descriptions, precise service categories, and current business hours keeps your listing relevant and engaging.

Tips for Optimizing Your Business Profile

  1. Upload High-Quality Photos: Include images of your products, services, interior, exterior, and any events or special offers. High-quality visuals can attract more views and engagement.
  2. Update Business Information: Ensure your business name, address, phone number, and website URL are accurate. Update your business hours, especially during holidays or special events.
  3. Detailed Descriptions: Write detailed descriptions of your products and services. Include relevant keywords naturally to help improve search visibility.
  4. Service Categories: Select the most accurate categories that describe your business. Adding specific categories helps Google understand what your business offers.
  5. Engage with Customers: Respond to reviews and questions. Engaging with your customers shows that you value their feedback and are committed to excellent service. Google considers this for your ranking.

3. Reviews Are a Must

Reviews play an essential role in local map rankings and influence potential customers. When ranking businesses in local search results, Google considers reviews’ quantity, quality, and recency.

Managing Reviews Effectively

  1. Collect Reviews: Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile and other review sites. A steady stream of positive reviews increases your credibility and search rankings.
  2. Respond to Reviews: Take the time to respond to all reviews, whether positive or negative. Thank customers for positive reviews and professionally address any issues raised in negative reviews. This shows potential customers that you value feedback and are committed to providing excellent service.
  3. Monitor Review Sites: Regularly check review sites to stay updated on what customers say about your business. This can help you identify areas for improvement and respond promptly to any concerns.

Similar to traditional SEO, where earned links and mentions are a vote of confidence in a business, reviews on your Google Business Profile show Google that others trust your business.

Citations in Key Local Directories

Citations are online mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites. These citations aren’t as crucial as they used to be, but they still carry some value. Consistent and accurate citations across various platforms help Google and other search engines confirm the legitimacy of your business. They also serve as additional reference points to your business’s physical address.

Key Local Directories for Citations

  1. Yelp: One of the most popular review sites, Yelp can drive significant local traffic to your business.
  2. Yellow Pages: A traditional directory that is still valuable in the digital age.
  3. Bing Places: Similar to Google Business Profile, ensuring your business is listed on Bing can help reach a broader audience.
  4. Industry-Specific Directories: Depending on your industry, directories like TripAdvisor, Healthgrades, or Angie’s List can be particularly beneficial.

Ensuring Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to citations. Any discrepancies in your NAP information across different platforms can confuse search engines and negatively impact your local search ranking. Regularly audit your citations to ensure that all information is up-to-date and accurate.

Don’t spend too much time on citations. They’re nice to have but not incredibly critical in 2024.

References on Review Aggregators

Review aggregators like Avvo, Houzz, Angie’s List, and Clutch can also tie into your local SEO efforts. Users and search engines trust these platforms and provide credible references to your business. Having your business listed and reviewed on these sites can enhance your online reputation and improve your search rankings.

Just like Google Business Profile reviews, it’s important to obtain reviews for these profiles too.

Encouraging Customer Reviews

  1. Ask for Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on these platforms. You can request reviews through email follow-ups, social media, or directly after a service.
  2. Make It Easy: Include direct links to your review profiles in your communications. The easier it is for customers to leave a review, the more likely they will do so.
  3. Respond to Reviews: Respond to reviews to show that you value customer feedback. Address any concerns raised in negative reviews professionally, and thank customers for positive feedback.

Localized Content on Your Website

Creating localized content on your website is a powerful way to attract local traffic and improve your SEO. This involves writing blog posts, articles, and service pages focusing on specific local areas you serve. Incorporating local keywords naturally within your content can help attract more local traffic.

We use this strategy for several local SEO clients where we establish a hierarchy on their websites for local content and develop location-specific pages to demonstrate that they can provide a particular service in specific locations.

Local SEO Content Example

In the above example, we created location-specific pages for a Sacramento SEO client by developing content for the surrounding cities the business serves. Combined with other traditional SEO signals, this content ranks and helps the client show local results in the maps pack.

A Healthy Link Profile

Lastly, a healthy link profile is a must for boosting your local SEO rankings. This means acquiring high-quality, relevant backlinks pointing to your website from reputable sources. These links act as endorsements, telling search engines that your site is trustworthy and authoritative.

Building a Healthy Link Profile

  1. Local Business Partnerships: Collaborate with other local businesses and request backlinks from their websites. For example, a local florist could partner with a wedding planner.
  2. Industry Associations: Get listed on industry association websites. These sites often have high authority and can provide valuable backlinks.
  3. Local News Sites and Blogs: Reach out to local news sites and blogs to write about your business. Offering to write guest posts or provide expert commentary can help you earn valuable links.
  4. Create Valuable Content: Develop content that others want to link to. This could be in-depth guides, infographics, or useful resources relevant to your industry.

A healthy link profile makes it easy for Google to establish credibility for your brand as a whole, which incentivizes them to show your business in local results.

Bringing It All Together

Optimizing your local SEO involves verifying your business location, maintaining an active Google Business Profile, obtaining consistent reviews, being listed in key citations and review aggregators, creating localized content on your website, and building a healthy link profile. By focusing on these six factors, you’ll see your Google Business Profile rank and rank well.

Have questions about your positioning in local search? We would be happy to schedule a consultation and see where things can improve.

About the Author

Alyssa Campita

Alyssa Campita, with a Master of Education on the horizon, is a Content Coordinator at Octiv Digital. Her passion for strategic content planning and execution, along with her proficiency in social media management, makes her an invaluable asset to local businesses, e-commerce entities and various organizations.

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