Local SEO services are essential to smaller businesses that operate on a regional, as opposed to a national, level. While national SEO focuses more on ranking in searches across the country, local SEO prioritizes appearing on SERPs in a specific location. This strategy relies on marketing your brand, products, and services to local leads and customers.
Google uses the average review rating, quality of reviews and the number of users clicking on one of the businesses listed to determine if it should rank the business higher in the future. The search engine sorts local ranking factors into three broad categories: relevance, distance, and prominence. Review data falls into the prominence category. Prominence is defined as: how well known a business is.
Simply put, if your business is getting a significant number of excellent reviews and positive sentiment data across multiple high-authority review platforms, it stands a good chance of getting found and clicked on in local search results.
What Really Matters for Local SEO?!
As a local business, you have the opportunity to appear within both the main organic search results and the local map pack at the same time.
Localized content and local link popularity are factors, just as it is in Google’s traditional search algorithm, so it’s important to build local landing pages for each of your locations- especially if you’re a multiple location business, where you should include not only your business name but also its details like address and phone as well as optimize their titles, tags, meta descriptions, and follow SEO best practices. This should be taken into consideration as well in your content marketing and link-building strategy.
Google uses several different review signals in order to determine search ranking. Your overall star rating isn’t the only thing that leads to a high rank. The following review signals are considered to impact your local rankings.
The total number of reviews currently posted to your Google My Business (GMB). The more reviews your business has the better chances of ranking high. Make sure you are getting a sufficient number of reviews from customers.
The number of reviews on multiple, high-authority review platforms. Make sure you have reviews from multiple platforms. Try getting reviews on sites specific to your industry.
The frequency with which you received new reviews in a confined time period. Google can monitor review velocity, and if your business suddenly receives a flood of reviews, this can appear spammy and lead to the review platform filtering those reviews out. It’s safer to acquire reviews at a moderate rate over time.
Be sure that you are getting a constant stream of new reviews. Having a lot of reviews from a year ago is great. Having lots of reviews coming in regularly is better. Plus, customers like recent reviews too.
Leverage Google Reviews to Increase Your Local SEO
Understand Local Customer Intention.
The key to successful local SEO is to use the right keywords and to insert them with the right context. Add keywords in the description and also provide your audience with as many details as possible. Keep your audience in mind and think of ways they might look for you. When you know their intention and goal, you’ll generate keywords that make you more visible online in your work areas.
Respond to Google Reviews.
To improve your local SEO efforts, make sure you are actively responding to all Google Reviews, good or bad! According to Google, businesses should interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.
Another significant factor is citation signals. Citations are important for local businesses, since they send out signals that tell search engines they can trust your business. Citation building is imperative for small businesses that want to be found in local searches, since search engines like Google use the information they find in citations to list your business in search results.
Citation signals relate to your business having consistent listings on different websites. That includes your name, address, phone number and website. When search engines find conflicting or outdated listings on businesses on different websites, they find your business less trustworthy. That leads to a decline in your business’s search ranking and ultimately, a decline in the number of customers who find your business.
Google states that they determine local SEO rankings by relevance, prominence, and distance. Google also says that the best way to make sure your GMB profile is relevant is to add complete and detailed business information to help Google better understand your business and match your profile to relevant searches. The first step in this process is to claim your listing.
How to Increase Your Google Reviews?
Most customers don’t leave reviews because they simply don’t know that they can. As a result, building up your Google reviews can be a long and frustrating process. It’s important for you to know that directly asking your customers to review your business after you’ve delivered the product or service they’ve paid for is perfectly acceptable. It doesn’t breach Google’s Terms of Service, therefore it’s not going against the system. It’s merely using the tools at hand to help make your business a success. If your service is fresh in someone’s mind just after they’ve become a customer, what better (or fairer) time is there to ask for a review?
There are many factors that influence your visibility in search results, but keep in mind that local search continues to grow and change. Once you start to improve each important signal area, you’ll be able to serve more people in your geographic region and grow faster.
Online reviews represent an unbiased opinion about a business. Reviews are crowdsourced information, which (ideally) isn’t coming from the business owner or someone paid to promote it. As such, it’s little surprise that Google now factors reviews into its SEO rankings. Google’s affinity for reviews is similar to the way the search engine rewards businesses that receive backlinks from other websites – the more other people are talking about your business, the higher Google ranks your site.
Develop a positive take on negative reviews, and make the most of the opportunity they provide to shine on a public stage, building a community reputation for excellent customer service.
Reputations are gained and lost based on customer reviews. At SEOmoft, we have strategies to leverage your reviews for maximum visibility and impact. Give us a call today, and we’ll make a plan to boost your local SEO and help your business to stand out from the rest.