If you’re trying to rank your site higher in the Google local listings in any major city then this can be challenging due to the amount of competition.
If your site is featuring regularly on page 1 of the Google local results, in the 3 pack (used to be 7), for relevant search terms, then congratulations, you’re doing well!
However, if like many companies, you’re struggling with ranking your website because you’re located in a major city like Liverpool, Manchester or London, then follow the steps below.
DIY Local SEO Guide for businesses in major cities
Here is, based on our experience, 5 of the most important ranking factors for Google local listings.
1. Physical Location of office. This is probably the biggest ranking factor. So if your office is not in the city where you are then you have very little chance of ranking in that city when someone looks for your service.
2. Citations. These are one of the most important factors for ranking in the local search results. Citations are websites on the internet which have your businesses Name, Address and Phone Number, commonly referred to in the industry as NAP. Places like yell.co.uk, thompsonlocal.com for example. Get as many of these as you can. Make sure all your details are EXACTLY the same as your Google+ Page. Also try MOZ’s local tool and see if you have any duplicate business listings.
3. Google+ Reviews. These are another major ranking factor. Get as many of these as you can as well, always be asking your customers to leave a review for you on your Google+ page. Not only will they help your local rankings, they will make you stand out from your competition. It’s also best practice to spread these reviews requests out to other review sites like Freeindex.co.uk for example. In a very recent leaked document from Google which goes out to their Human Raters, they mention reputation as a factor in their Page Quality rating guidelines. So pay attention to your online reputation.
4. Proper Category Associations. Make sure the categories to pick are most relvanet for your business. If you need help in choosing the correct ones have a look at Mike Blumenthal’s Google Places for Business Category Tool which will help you choose. This is a great free tool that still kept up to date.
5. Domain Authority. How old is your domain? Does it have a good link profile? For example, do you have links from untrusted websites? If you do, get in touch with us to see if we can help you sort out your link profile.
As well as the 5 key ranking factors above for local seo (Google My Business), it’s also very important to take into consideration the basic fundamentals of SEO which are;
Relevant content. Back in the day, SEO primarily focused on inserting as many keywords as possible into the website in question. However, thankfully, those days are now over. Recent Google updates like Panda have now shifted the focus on to genuinely relevant content, written for humans. You still need to use keywords, but use them sparingly, rather than stuffing them in as much as possible. Focus on providing the user with content that is of genuine interest, rather than meaningless wording for search engines.
Fresh content. If there’s one thing that Google doesn’t like to see, it’s stale sites! Fresh content is incredibly important and as a website owner. You need to ensure that your site is updated regularly. Blogging is an excellent way of providing fresh content, as is uploading new videos or images. If you have a new product or service, make sure you put it up on the site.
Meta titles and descriptions. Meta content is no longer as highly regarded by the search engines in terms of ranking, but it’s still important to give careful consideration to the meta titles and descriptions within your site, as Google will still refer to content embedded within them and more importantly it’s what people see in the search results, so you can use these to entice the click.
Bear in mind that character limits have now altered, and titles should be, as a general rule of thumb, no longer than 65 characters in total. Descriptions shouldn’t exceed 156 characters or 928 pixels.
Easy navigation. It’s vitally important to check that your site is easy to use. Websites that don’t provide a user friendly experience will often be penalised by Google (this was mentioned in their Human rater guidelines document I mentioned earlier). If your customers click through to your site and leave quickly through frustration, then your site will be marked down for having a high bounce rate.
In terms of linking on your site, concentrate on contextual links within your articles, and not footer links for example. If you need to find out more about contextual links see wikipedia for an explanation.
If you need assistance on ranking your website via SEO in Liverpool, Manchester or any other major city, get in touch.