Local SEO has become much more complicated and much more competitive than it once was. There are now almost as many local SEO ranking factors as there are organic ranking factors. Spamming a load of citations isn’t enough to rank at the top of local results anymore.
That’s why this guide is going to set out exactly what you need to do to get to the top of Google in 2019.
Make sure your address is in a relevant location
This might be harder for some businesses than it is for others. But the closer your address is to the center of the town or city mentioned in the search, the more likely your business is to appear. This also means it’s impossible for a business to rank in the local results of a city it isn’t based in.
Get your Google My Business profile sorted
It’s crucial that you have a fully completed and verified Google My Business profile if you want to rank successfully in Local SEO results. The good news is that it’s easy to optimize and fill out. Make sure to include everything that your customers could ask for, such as opening hours, photos, a phone number, and your menu if you’re a restaurant. You’ll also need to select the most relevant categories for your business.
Create and optimize your citations
While citations alone won’t get you to the top of Google local results, they still play an important role. You’ll need to make sure your business is listed accurately on all of the biggest and most relevant directories. But you’ll also need to make sure any existing citations you have are accurate. Go through everything with a fine toothcomb to make sure your business’ name, address and phone number are exactly the same on every single listing.
Optimize your website for local search results
Yes, you still need to do on-page SEO if you want to rank in Google’s map pack. Make sure your locations are included in page titles, meta descriptions, heading tags, and your website’s copy. Your phone number should also be listed along with your address.
Get more great reviews
Getting more reviews is the single most impactful thing you can do to improve your business’ local SEO. You don’t need to go out and spam your customers’ inboxes begging for reviews, however. It’s much more effective to take things slow and focus on getting one good review a month. After a few months, you’ll have a bank of great reviews that can boost your ranking. Don’t just ask for Google reviews, either. Yelp, Tripadvisor and other review websites can also factor into your ranking.
Make your site faster
Google is placing more and more importance on site speed. So the quicker your site loads, the more likely you are to rank. It will also improve the user experience of your customers and make them much more likely to stay on your website when they land on it.