Which Ranking Factors Help Local Small Businesses?
Small businesses know all too well the struggles of competition. Between competing with other small businesses and fending off difficult trends from larger companies, the pressures are everywhere for small businesses to achieve as much visibility and traffic as possible.
For small businesses operating within a local market, the challenges can be particular difficult. Not only do these brands have to compete with other companies large and small, but they must do so both physically and virtually in many cases. As such, local small businesses can gain immense value by ranking prominently in relevant localized search results.
Today, we’ll look at the prime ranking factors that impact visibility and can help local small businesses establish better recognition.
Above all else, local search results are designed to be relevant. For locally-based small businesses, this is crucial: selecting highly-specific local search terms and keywords to target is a must-do (more so than for brands that target a wider array of audiences).
By pinging your website with local indicators such as city, state – as well as other vital forms of information that specifically highlight what your business provides and/or whom it serves – you’ll avoid the “vague gap” that so many small local businesses find themselves in; when they try to target too many audiences but fail because the content is too thinly-spread in terms of focus.
Obviously for local small businesses, the proximity of your customers and clients matters. While an online presence may help some businesses expand their reach, those seeking to target local search results must focus on incorporating geographic-specific terms, phrases and content into their online operations.
The distance between your brand and searchers – even within a broader city or metro area – can have a huge impact on how prominent you are in search results. However, you can overcome at least some of this fall-off effect by creating content that is specific to unique neighborhoods or local cities within your broader area.
How well known is your local brand? Does it receive a lot of online mentions, or just a few? The answers to these questions can ultimately highlight what is a huge ranking factor for local small businesses: notoriety.
The more prominent your small business is within a given area, the more likely it is to rank. This might seem depressing to new or otherwise relatively unknown businesses in a local market, but it should be interpreted as a call to action: work on establishing relationships with other local brands and audiences, generate more online attention for your business, and enjoy the long-term benefits that this ranking factor can provide.
Some other elements that can improve natural visibility in local results for small businesses include establishing a Google My Business page (it should not be surprising that Google values its own services), using uniform name, address and phone number (NAP) mentions on your pages, including mentions of your local geography wherever relevant (in post titles, page headings, etc), and creating links through other local directories and websites that are pinging your website as a source for your industry or niche.
These local ranking factors are immensely important to achieving visibility – especially for small businesses just making their foray into SEO. Take these tips into account and use them to ensure your brand has a viable foundation from which to improve and grow in search results!