Introduction

Showing up in a local search isn’t as simple as just having a published website. There are numerous factors at play which all work together to help you get to that coveted ranking on the Google results page. In this guide, we will cover the different contributing factors to showing up in a local search.

In this guide, you’ll learn:
  • What contributes to your visibility in local searches.
  • How our software contributes to your improved online visibility.

How do I show up in a local search?

An overview of local search factors.

There are quite a few factors which contribute to showing up when someone searches locally for your business. The graph below illustrates the main components of someone’s online visibility. Let’s dive into a brief overview of each section, then focus on which ones our software contributes to.

Personalization Signals
Account for 6% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings
There are a couple of things to consider for personalization signals: location-based information and making your site mobile friendly. Location-based information is how Google learns what a user has clicked on, or where a user is when they search for a keyword. They then use this information to serve up a more personalized result to the user. For example, If you search for “pizza shops” and you’re in Denver, Google won’t show results for Pizza in Los Angeles. 

The second thing to consider in personalization is making your site mobile-friendly, or optimized for smartphones. It’s essential to securing good standing for local SEO. If your site performs poorly for mobile users, search engines will downgrade your site and people will turn elsewhere for better user experience.

Making a site mobile-friendly means that users are taking your site on the move and connecting it with mobile capabilities like location identification, location histories, search histories, and other unique searches.

One of the most important things you can do to make your site mobile-friendly is designing with responsive design. That just means that your web design responds to the dimensions of the device it is viewed on.
Behavioral Signals
Account for 10% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings
How people interact with your site will affect your rank on Google. User behavior is available to site administrators via the Google Search Console. The key behavioral signals to pay attention to are:
Click-through rate
The frequency with which people click your link in search compared to competitors. The more people clicking through, the more relevant your page appears to search engines.
Bounce rate
This is how often people arrive at your page from the search results and leave immediately. A high bounce rate indicates that your content isn’t relevant, resulting in a lower ranking.
Directions-to-business clicks
Search engines figure that if people travel to your business right after feeding it in search, the business must be trustworthy.
Time on page
If people browse your site and find value, they will stay for longer. Images, content quality, and page organization are instrumental in helping users consume more content.
Mobile click-to-call
Google interprets a call from the mobile search results page to be a clear signal of relevance. According to research by Google, more than 40% of mobile searchers use click-to-call.
Social Signals
Account for 3% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings
These social signals account for user engagement on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Here are some social signals to monitor in relation to local search:
  • Growth of social media followings
  • Number of brand-related shares, likes, retweets, etc. on social media
  • Number of reviews on your social media pages
  • The age of your Facebook page
  • Number of brand-related mentions on social media
  • Completed biography on social media
  • Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information
      Review Signals
      Account for 15% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings.
      These signals are affected the most by review quantity, velocity, and diversity, etc. and are as critical to your local SEO strategy as building citations and on-site optimization.

      Online reviews are important for a number of reasons, and have major implications through their ability to affect:
      • Your rankings in local search engines
      • Which search results actually get surfaced (and clicked on)
      • Consumer purchasing decisions
      Key points to remember:
      • Positive reviews increase sales.
      • Having no reviews hurts sales.
      • Negative reviews hurt sales even more than having no reviews at all.

      Link Signals

      Account for 16% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings.
      These signals consist primarily of inbound anchor links, linking domain authority, and linking domain quantity. They provide search engines with an idea as to how important your website is. For example, inbound anchor texts are words that are highlighted and underlined on a website that points to another website. It’s like you’re creating a support system by connecting multiple websites that can vouch for your websites existence and importance. The more authority those connecting links have, the more authority your website will have.

      Any website with higher domain authority will most likely always outrank a lower ranked website simply due to the fact that search engines will presume that the site with higher authority will be trusted.

      GMB Signals

      Account for 25% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings.
      These signals include proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.

      Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. Once you claim your free account, you’ll be able to do the following which will affect your SEO standing.
      • Add a long, unique description that’s formatted correctly and includes links.
      • Choose the correct categories for your business.
      • Upload as many photos as possible.
      • Add a local phone number to your listing.
      • Add your business address that’s consistent with that on your website and local directories.
      • Upload a high-resolution profile image and cover photo.
      • Add your opening times/days.
      • Get real reviews from customers.

      On-Page Signals

      Account for 14% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings.

      These signals consist of your name/address/phone presence on your site, keywords in titles, and domain authority. By focusing on each area that you serve, you can put some real power behind your local SEO optimization.

      Give each page a unique local flavor while keeping it relevant to your business. Consider writing about local laws, styles, or trends that are particular to that region. Google and Bing will appreciate your in-depth, authentic approach.

      Citation Signals

      Account for 11% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings.

      These signals consist of aggregator name/address/phone number (NAP) consistency and citation volume.

      Let’s go over what those terms mean.

      An aggregator is a company that maintains and supplies the underlying business database for local search directories. They keep what is sometimes referred to as ‘aggregator data’ including your NAP. Online directories like Yellowpages, Yelp, etc. then show this data on their sites. There are a lot of online directories and it’s important that your business info shows up consistently across all of them. 

      A citation is an online reference to your NAP. Like links to your website, Google uses them when evaluating the online authority of your business. Unlike links though, citations don’t need to be linked to your business’s website in order for you to be credited for them.

      What our software influences.

      If you could group these signals into two categories, they might be grouped as signals which are affected through your website and signals which are affected outside your website. We focus on helping you affect the signals not associated with your website such as: Review, GMB & Citation, and Social signals. Let’s go over how our software does this.

      Review Signals

      The impact that reviews have in local search has been increasing year over year. Since 2015, reviews signals accounted for 10.8% of ranking importance. Today, they account for 15.44% of ranking importance. Our Review Management tool helps you easily get the reviews you need to contribute to your overall visibility. 

      We make it easy to ask your customers for reviews.
      • Send one-off reviews or upload a CSV file to send a batch of review requests.
      • Choose how they will receive the review invites through email or text.
      • Choose where you would like them to leave the review, on Google or Facebook.
      • Create templates for review invitations.

      We make it easy to monitor all your reviews.
      • See and filter your reviews from 30+ review sites all in one place.
      • Once a review is sent, check the progress and send reminders if necessary.

      We make it easy to respond to reviews.
      • Get notified of new reviews.
      • Respond to any review from within the app no matter which platform it was posted.
      • See location-specific reviews if you have multiple locations.

      GMB & Citation Signals

      These two signal types makeup 36% of all factors resulting in local SEO rankings. These signals include proximity, categories, keywords in business listing, IYP/Aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc. 

      Our listings portion of the software makes it easy and convenient to publish and update your business listing to 70+ directories simultaneously. As mentioned before, these directories are the aggregators of business data which publish your Name/Address/Phone across the web. You want your info to show up consistently across as many as possible. This will contribute to your citation volume as well.

      Here’s what you will be able to publish on our platform across all these directories.
      • Business name
      • Categories
      • Address
      • Location marker on maps
      • Phone
      • Featured message
      • Business description
      • Business hours
      • Website link
      • Email
      • Photos like your logo, cover photo, and additional photos
      • Keywords
      • Products, Services, Specialties, Associations
      • Year established
      • Payment methods
      • Languages
      • Links to Instagram and Youtube

      Imagine publishing all that content on multiple directories and then maintaining it! It would take forever. All it takes is one holiday to creep up on you and your hours of operation have to be updated.

      Here’s a fun free tool you can use to see just how well you’re showing up (or not) across the web. (P.S.-If your results show that you have power listings, you are good to go!) 

      Social Signals

      BETA
      Our social section of the software is currently a beta version containing some basic functionality that can help affect the social signals of Google, Facebook, and Twitter engagement. We understand the importance of social and will be continuing to make our social tools more robust over time. Below is an outline of our current offering.

      Conclusion

      We’ve covered the factors at play in a business’s local search ranking and which ones we contribute to. As we have seen in the past, the signals external to your website are just as important as the ones on your site and they are only getting more important, namely your business listing across directories, reviews, and social signals. It may seem like a lot to keep up with, but that’s where we come in. Let us automate how you gain your influence through listings, reviews, and social.