Local SEO may have traditionally taken a back seat to ‘standard SEO’ in years past but there is no doubt that it has come into its own in the last 12 months or so. With the majority of us performing searches from mobile devices, local pack listings have seen their statue increase. Add to this shrinking local pack real estate on Google, growing competition and the higher consumer intent that comes from a local search, and it should come as no surprise that local SEO is rapidly gaining in importance.
If you’re targeting better local SEO performance in 2019, here are the key factors to keep in mind:
Google My Business
Google My Business signals are consistently named as one of the top three local SEO ranking factors so if you haven’t yet claimed your listing, do so now. Following that, you’ll need to ensure you select the correct category, fill out all profile information, upload images and videos and create Posts and offers often.
We have already seen that reviews are intrinsic to the modern consumer shopping journey but new this year is the news that over 8 in 10 consumers also monitor how brands reply to their reviews. This adds another facet to the importance of reviews for local SEO – not only are volume of reviews, and particularly the number of reviews with keywords, location and even images a factor – but how you respond also matters. Google too is thought to factor in speed of replies, as well as how many positive and negative reviews you receive.
Local citations are another local SEO ranking factor that pay to have on your radar. Local citations are a chunk of content that mentions your company name, address and telephone number in places like directories and social media profiles. Often, they may appear with other information, such as your website address, opening hours or social media page links. Having lots of citations helps to confirm your physical address and company information, further bolstering your likelihood of appearing in local search.
Just as with traditional SEO, links matter in local SEO too. For local businesses, links are more likely to come from other local sources but considerations like anchor text, relevance and authority do still matter when link building.
Google is currently trialling structured data-powered knowledge graphs for local search. You can use structured data for information such as business hours, address, department and for restaurants and food establishments, menus, prices and minimum delivery requirements.