Local search ranking
That’s a nightmare for most businesses out there.
To get high in Google’s local search results, one has to comply with so many ranking factors, including mobile website speed, Google My Business, reviews, and many more others.
Naturally, many businesses try to define the most important ranking factor to maximize their chance of appearing in top results. However, no one can really say what the most important requirement to comply with is.
In fact, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Muller gave an even more complicated answer to this question in a Twitter thread.
That should be easy, right?
Just be awesome and create awesome content.
Well, all jokes aside, a high local search ranking is something that your business really needs. With 82 percent of customers conducting “near me” searches and 60 percent of them clicking on the first two to three search results, it makes a perfect sense to try your best to be there.
Content marketing is one of the strategies that you should follow to achieve the maximum possible ranking in local results. In this article, we’re going to share HOW MANY tips on making it work. And who knows, maybe we’ll even learn how to create awesomeness.
1. Create Locally Relevant Content
The first step is obvious: to rank high, you need content.
“Top 5 beer shops in Prague,” “Paris: A Museum Lover’s Guide,” “10 Best Pizza Places in Washington DC” – all these are the examples of locally relevant content. Creating content that’s specific to some geographical area is totally worth your effort because it provides the following advantages:
- It allows incorporating locally relevant keywords (more on that in the next section)
- It increases the chance of appearing in local search results
- It provides a better experience for Google users (which is great because we know very well that “giving visitors the information they’re looking for” is one of the most important content requirements from Google)
- Creates opportunities for your content to be shared and referenced by people on social media.
If you’re wondering what you could write about, just think about what makes your geographical area unique. Here are some ideas:
- Guides to local sights, attractions, restaurants, and other unique places
- Announcements of locally relevant sales, events, etc.
- “Best of” guides. Read the examples at the beginning of this section
Don’t forget that locally relevant content is incomplete without locally relevant keywords. Let’s learn how to do it.
2. Include Locally Relevant Keywords in Your Content
Let’s imagine that you’re a small bike shop located in Los Angeles, California. Clearly, the online competition for head keywords like “bike shop Los Angeles” is ridiculous, and you may not have sufficient funds to compete with market leaders.
Well, a sizable marketing budget is great, but not absolutely essential here. We’re going to take a smart approach and aim for long-tail keywords that reduce the competition to manageable levels. For example, a long-tail keyword phrase for a head phrase “bike shop in Los Angeles” would be “rent electric bikes in Santa Monica.”
In other words, a long-tail keyword phrase is more specific, therefore doesn’t attract as much competition as the head phrase. And the good news is that you don’t have to pay any money to generate locally relevant keywords to use in your content.
For example, if you search for the abovementioned “rent electric bikes in Santa Monica,” Google will help you to narrow down your search or find more suitable long-tail phrases by suggestions options in “Related Searches” section like here:
Of course, don’t forget about Google’s own Keyword Planner. It’s free and can help you to generate good options to target.
Chances are that you’ll compile a lot of useful keywords and phrases, so get ready to create a lot of content, too. To ensure that it meets style and quality requirements, feel free to check online writing and proofreading tools such as Hemingway Editor and GrabMyEssay.
3. Area-Specific Landing Page
Anyone with experience in content marketing will tell you that landing pages are profoundly important to your lead generation effort, local included. In fact, companies with 10 to 15 landing pages on their websites increase conversions by as much as 55 percent over websites with less than 10 landing pages.
And it doesn’t end there. More evidence suggests that businesses with more than 40 landing pages on their websites can increase their conversion rate by about 500 percent.
Just think about this: 500 percent.
If you’re a multi-location business, it makes a perfect sense for you to build landing pages for each of them (don’t forget to optimize them for mobile, too). Yes, this means more investment, but it will be worth it because relevancy is critical in online business.
For example, here’s how Stumptown Coffee Roasters do it. They have separate pages for towns in which the business is represented (their Portland locations are shown as an example) to provide visitors with the most relevant results on sales, events, etc. And look, a CTA (“Sign up Now”)!
What a great way to attract more quality leads to a business in their local area.
Here are tips on creating local landing pages:
- Include a local phone number
- Give business hours and full business address
- Embed Google Maps to give the visitors a better idea of the location
- Optimize title tags, e.g. add such indicators as state, city, street name, business name.
Make sure to check the relevancy of this information once in a while to ensure that customers get only actual tips about your business.
4. Claim Your Own Google My Business Page
There’s one way in which Google helps with local search ranking, and that’s My Business. This is a free business page that literally puts your business on the map (Google Map, that is). Claiming a page for your business is super easy: just go to My Business page and register your business by providing information that your potential customers need in order to know what you do.
Basically, you’ll need to share such information as location, business hours, website URL, interior pics (if applicable), and updates. This way, you’re allowing Google to consider your business if a customer makes an appropriate “near me” search in your local area.
In other words, by having this page, you’re increasing the chances of showing up in Google Maps, Local Finder, Google’s Local Pack, and organic search results.
5. Write Your Content like a Local
It’s important to make sure that your local guides, “best of” lists, and other locally relevant content sounds like it was written by a real local. For example, feel free to use some local names, slang, and colloquialisms that only local residents use to describe sights, places, etc.
The differences can be subtle, so pay attention. For example, if you’re a restaurant located in Los Angeles, you’re going to call that delicious stuff on spaghetti “tomato sauce,” but a restaurant based in Chicago and Philadelphia may refer to it as “gravy” because that’s how many locals call it.
In your face John Muller! With all this information, we know how to create awesomeness and maximize our chances of getting high in local search results. Remember: when you meet Google’s requirements, you’re going to improve your ranking, and the tips described in this article can help you to cover this base.