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How to Win at Local SEO in 2020: Top Ranking Factors to Consider

Local SEO is all about creating search traction for small to medium businesses in a specific area to support face-to-face marketing strategies. Local SEO ranking factors can be vital for a number of businesses like service organisations such as hairdressers and building contractors to physical store offerings such as local food shops and coffee shops.

Now is the time to jump on the Local SEO bandwagon if you’re looking to excel your business in top search engine’s organic local search results, and quite literally put your business on the map!

Local Voice Search

Alexa where is the nearest coffee shop?’ Sound familiar? With more and more people using voice search every day, it’s now more important than ever to embrace this new trend and optimise your local business for voice searches. The use of digital assistants is on the rise, in fact, Google has reported that 20% of searches performed through its mobile app are vocal, and what’s more, according to Hubspot 88% of customers who do a local search using their smartphone will visit or call that business within the first 24 hours!

This means it is more important than ever to prioritise local voice search optimisation. Why? Because your competitors will be.

Using services such as Google My Business will prove beneficial for your business since you can have your business on the map to enable ‘Where is the nearest..’ search types. Optimising your content for local search terms will also allow you to boost your Local SEO ranking factors.

Getting started with Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool provided by Google to help organisations manage and optimise their online persona across the Google platform, including Search and Maps. The tool will allow you to read and respond to reviews, photos of your business, add your business to the map, provide information such as opening hours, website links and your street address as well as listing services and latest posts.

Google recently shared that businesses that upload photos to their profiles get on average 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and they receive 35% more clicks to their website than businesses that do not utilise Google My Business, so it’s pretty important.

Top Tip: Make sure to update your business details if there are any key changes, for example opening hours and new business street addresses.This is particularly important so you are able to keep customers informed on the latest covid business changes that may affect opening times and safety rules!

Once you have set up your account, make sure to do the following: We can help you with all of this if you’re looking to jump start your Local SEO service offering and get started with Google My Business to boost your search engine ranking. Learn more about setting up and using a Google My Business Account.

Local Service Ads are on the rise 

Another useful vice for Local Search is the use of Local Service Ads (LSAs).

If your organisation is in the right market for LSAs, they are a great tool to utilise alongside your other search practices. Local Search Ads provide your business with advertising space on Google to receive direct leads from potential customers. The leads come in the form of phone calls and messages that will be sent directly through your local service ad. As the business owner, you are then able to reply to messages, track your booking and manage those leads online and through the app.

LSA’s can be used on their own or in conjunction with PPC practices, allowing you to hold the top spot of Google for the duration of the campaigns. Since the ads are provided by Google themselves, the ads are seen favourably by customers, and it is believed that LSAs will be expanding into more industries.

Local SEO Q&A and Guides 

What does link building for Local search look like in 2020?

Localised Link building for Local SEO can be extremely effective to build your local ranking factors on top search engines and can often be effective to build a network with other local businesses alike to win backlinks from. For example, local restaurants could benefit from connecting with a local food review website, a well-known industry magazine or local guides to gain authoritative backlinks from their website.

How do Local SEO strategies differ from other SEO practices?

Local SEO focuses on building a search profile and awareness to brick-and-mortar shops as well as service providers in specific areas. This allows you to rank in front of your audience that is searching for products or services in the area, making your business more accessible. Local SEO allows you to capture your local audience to connect with potential customers that are closeby. SEO and local SEO services can be used simultaneously to promote both a global and local presence, if that is what your business requires.

How to check that my Local SEO practices are working?

There are endless amounts of tools you can use to check and analyse your SEO results. Here at Digital Ethos we offer expert support on search reports, and deliver training to help your business to upskill in SEO tracking and reporting. Tools that we would recommend are Google Analytics and Search Console as well as keyword monitoring tools. Ensure you add in location tracking or specific keyword variations, or your report may be skewed with national or even global rankings.

Where should I be getting reviews? On my website, GMB, Trustpilot?

It is dependent on where your customers go to find businesses like yours. Google has always been recommended for reviews since it is a go to place to find local businesses and service providers. But an omnichannel review strategy would provide a comprehensive view for your customers. On occasion, customers may trust external websites more than your own, since those websites may be known solely for their industry specific review services. That isn’t to say you should not use your own website as a review platform! When in the consideration phase of a purchase, a review on your website could provide the final say.. and they can be excellent for SEO.

Should I be replying to GMB reviews?

If you can, yes! And even better, try to send a personal response to each one rather than an automated response to each positive review. It can show your customers that you have not only seen their reviews, but you have taken them on board and valued their feedback.

Google has even confirmed that responding publicly to Google reviews can actually improve your overall star rating by ⅓, but remember to respond to both positive and negative reviews!

“High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.” According to the Google My Business support page.

Get Started with Local SEO and Boost your Organic Search Rankings 

Making sure to stay on top of trends, and tracking what your competitors are doing in terms of Local SEO is the first step in winning at Local SEO and getting your business on the map. Digital Ethos are on hand to help with all your Local SEO business service needs and happy to support you today with our comprehensive training and 1-1 consultancy sessions so we can give you the tools needed to excel your business.

Top Tip: Local SEO is an ongoing process. To see real results, be sure to keep updating and adding to your Local SEO practices to make the most of your local business.