With 94% of smartphone owners now using their devices to find and contact businesses in their area, it’s never been so important to invest in local SEO. However, as more businesses have cottoned on to the need for great local SEO, getting a good ranking has become much more difficult.

With so much competition in the local SEO world, it pays to understand which factors will have the biggest effect on your ranking. These are the ranking signals you should be concentrating on if you want your business to benefit from good local SEO rankings.

Google My Business

Perhaps the most important tool you have in your bid to reach the top of the rankings is a Google My Business listing. After all, if you want to get Google on your side, you should probably be making use of their business directory!

This year’s Local Search Ranking Factors report shows that the signals sent by a Google My Business listing are amongst the most important factors in local pack rankings (the ‘pack’ is the name given to the three top search results for a business), and the sixth most important factor in organic rankings.

Google My Business is totally free, and it’s the ideal foundation for all your other local SEO marketing. Make sure you fully complete the profile, ensure your name, address and phone number is correct (also known as NAP – more on that later) and check back regularly to respond to reviews and answer user-submitted questions.

Backlinks

If you want to appear at the top of the local search rankings, you’ll need to have a number of external links to your website. These can’t be just any old links – they need to be from other high-quality, high-ranking websites, especially those which relate to your location or your business niche. Links from a local newspaper or a link from an industry website or blog can work wonders for your rankings.

Beware the poor-quality links that could drag your ranking down. Google is getting much better at detected paid-for links, and links that appear on forums or blog comments might also be flagged up as low-quality. These can result in a Google penalty, so pay attention to your link profile.

On-Page Signals

Don’t neglect your on-page SEO in pursuit of local SEO glory – the two should work hand in hand. On-page ranking factors that you should be focusing on include having an accurate, consistent NAP, having the appropriate keywords in titles (with locations wherever possible) and having a good domain authority. Good quality content and frequent updates are also highly advisable.

Reviews

Any marketer worth their salt understands the power of a good review and how it can impact reputation. But reviews are also an important ranking factor. Naturally, the reviews posted on your Google My Business page will be the most important, but reviews on sites like Trust Pilot, FeeFo and Reevoo can also be taken into consideration. Reviews basically tell Google that your business is legitimate, trustworthy and most likely a good match for other customers searching for similar keywords.

Do remember that an influx of reviews at the same time, or from the same place, can have a negative impact. Negative sentiment and low star-rating will also bring your ranking down so make sure you have a product or service that you’re proud of before you ask for reviews. How responsive you are to reviews also matters so it’s well worth setting time aside every day or every few days to respond to feedback.

If your local SEO performance is holding you back, why not get in touch with Adrac to find out more about our SEO solutions?