If you’re a small business looking for more local traffic, you may be scouring the web for ways to increase your SEO or Search Engine Optimization. The only problem may be that what you find may be OK for national SEO, but local SEO is a different story. You may notice you’re getting more hits from search engines but before you begin your happy dance you may want to check the location. Your business here in Houston probably won’t benefit from visitors up in New York, for example, unless they happen to have family here!
So what are the main local ranking factors?
Consistency of Structured Citations
Structured what? Structured Citations is basically another way of saying a business’s listing on online directories. This can include Yellow Pages, Yelp, Merchant Circle, SuperPages, Facebook, and more. Listings on the different sites should be consistent. If in one listing it fully spells out the word “Road,” but says “RD” in another, that would be considered inconsistent. It’s important to check all directories and listings for consistencies and request updates for any inconsistencies you see.
Quantity and Quality of Structured Citations
You may be concerned that if you have many listings there are bound to be inconsistencies, but not having many listings can definitely be harmful as well! It is definitely beneficial to have both! It is important for your business to be spread across many different online directories, and just as important is the quality of those directories. Google, for example, looks at the online directories as having different amounts of authority based on how much it “trusts” that site. Some of the directories with higher authority include Yelp, Yellow Pages, CitySearch, Superpages, Merchant Circle, Facebook, Angie’s List, and Manta. So it’s important to be on many directory listings with high authority.
Proper Category Associations
As mentioned in Doing Keyword Research, it’s important to make sure what you choose actually makes sense. They need to be relevant to your business. If they’re not, it will definitely affect your website’s ranking negatively.
Something that seems to be obvious but does sometimes get overlooked, is that your business must be where you say it is. It’s also helpful if your city is listed in the Landing Page title. Both of these establish credibility for your location and help you rank better in local searches.