In the past few years Google has implemented some pretty radical changes to its local SEO algorithm, with Pigeon first (read more about the Pigeon update on Search Engine Land) and then more recently with the Possum update (Everything you need to know about Possum).
When targeting a very specific target area for your product or services, there are some key features that you should look out for and some important questions you need to answer.
- Are my business details consistent across the web?
- How will customers get directions to my business and find my location details?
- Am I being found at top in the maps listings for some of my target keywords?
- Do I have links from other sites on the web?
- Do I have links from niche and local sites on the web?
- Does my content serve valuable and informative content to my target audience / location?
- Have I added mark-up to my business details EG: Name, opening hours & address?
- What’s the domain authority of my website?
NAP (Name, Address, Phone) Consistency
In order for search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Google and so on to rank you higher for local searches, they need to establish that your business details such as name, number, address and opening hours are accurate on their listings.
To ensure that your NAP details are accurate they will scan backlinks from sources such as Yell, Yelp, Thompson local and so on to match the two data to see if they’re the same. Different NAP details across the web will cause confusion for search engines and indicate that their listing details may not be accurate. This means that they’ll prioritise other listings with a higher NAP consistency rate.
We recommend using a free tool like Yext to check your NAP details consistency.
Inbound links & link popularity
One key ranking factor for search engines are backlinks from ethical sources with a high domain authority.
Are people linking to your website themselves or do you require link building in order to improve your rankings above your competitors?
For Local SEO, links from local sources are vital to improving rankings. Once you’ve established how many links your website has its time to identify where they’re coming from by using link analysis tools like:
If your site lacks links or doesn’t have any local links then you’re missing out on visibility to the local area that your serve.
Content is king when it comes to SEO but does it serve your target audience and are you sharing this content across a number of different sources to improve your visibility to the local area? How easy is it to share your content?
Ensuring that your content is of value to your target audience is key and will play a huge part to improving your local SEO. Serving content targeted to a national or global audience is all well and good but are these the people you want to target and do they generate your revenue?
Local articles and local landing page creation is something that all people who are looking to target a local target radius should look to exploit.
Schema basically provides more information around a particular piece of content on your website. Schema can be applied to practically anything on your website, reviews, services, products, local business details and so on.
Adding local business schema to information such as name, number, address and opening hours helps search engines like Google understand that their listing details are accurate which then results in your listing being prioritised over competitors.
The best way for you to implement schema for local business markup is directly in the code.
Check your domains authority with the following tools:
Unlike other SEO metrics, Domain Authority is difficult to influence directly. It is made up of an aggregate of metrics (MozRank,MozTrust, link profile, and more) that each have an impact on this score. This was done intentionally; this metric is meant to approximate how competitive a given site is in Google.com. Since Google takes a lot of factors into account, a metric that tries to calculate it must incorporate a lot of factors as well.
The best way to influence this metric is to improve your overall SEO. In particular, you should focus on your link profile—which influences MozRank and MozTrust – by getting more links from other well-linked-to pages.
As with anything in SEO, Local SEO can be quite complex and is quickly turning into a discipline of its own. If you would like help amending your listings to improving your local visibility and link popularity or need advice with content marketing and schema markup for your local business, then contact our local SEO experts for further advice.