Local website ranking factors are significantly different from international ones, and knowing about these factors and their differences will help you significantly save on promotional and advertising costs in the region, allowing you to concentrate on the more important things.
Let’s analyze the main factors of local ranking in Google, which of them are hot in 2020, and which played off.
What do local ranking factors mean?
First of all, we have to determine the definition of factors that affect the site’s ranking on the web.
Local ranking – this is the process during which the website begins to occupy certain positions on Google’s search results according to the relevant requests of users in the region.
Ranking factors affect the semantic visibility of the website and determine the overall success and speed with which the website will reach the first positions in Google. The process of optimizing a website in search engines and working on these factors is called local SEO (search engine optimization).
We would also like to determine the reason why you need to deal with this particular type of ranking.
If your business provides services in a specific region, why not try and attract customers from other regions? Well, that’s because they are not their target audience.
Why do you need to advertise your business in another country if the client won’t unable to come to you?
Let’s list the main stages of website optimization for business at the local level and consider how and why they are needed in 2020.
It’s funny, but many forget about the regional domain name of a website.
If your business provides services only in the United States, you do not need to buy a .com domain. Instead, purchase a .us domain that will definitely target the US region.
Why not buy .com?
In this case, the pages of the website will be ranked on Google for all countries, such as Canada or the United Kingdom. Then you might ask, “What’s wrong with that?”
The fact is that the average position of the site, the average position that is displayed in the Google Search Console, will be calculated as the average value, taking into account all countries for which the pages of the website are displayed.
In other words, if in the United States your site has an average position of 10 for relevant queries and 20 for Canada, then your average global position will be 15, which affects the way your website is designed.
- If you intend to scale websites to other countries or regions, do not purchase the domain of your country, otherwise you will have to either change the domain name or create an additional website in the future. In this case, it’s better to choose the international “.com” domain.
- If your business provides services in a state or city, find out from hosting providers whether it is possible to purchase a domain with a designated regionality; for example, “website.london”. This solution is suitable if you are not going to expand to other regions in the future.
Google My Business
GMB became maybe the most important factor for website ranking in recent years.
People primarily use mobile devices to search the Internet and the first thing they see when entering a query in the search bar is a list of businesses that are located near them. Here’s what it looks like from a PC:
If your business still doesn’t have its own GMB profile, create one here. Immediately. Right now!
Steps to get listed in Google My Business:
- Sign up using Gmail
- Create a new business profile and fill in the fields in the Info tab at the dashboard
- Verify your business with a code Google will send you or receive a phone call
- Add your business photos, description, etc.
- Add the services you provide
What does a Google My Business profile look like:
The dashboard is intuitive and you can easily understand each registration step.
What is most important in a GMB profile?
Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!
Their quantity and quality is a determining factor not only for ranking in the list of places in a specific region, but it also increases the likelihood of a click on your profile. Always ask your customers to leave an impression of your service.
What are other important factors in a GMB profile?
Local directories and map listings
The presence of your business in regional directories is also a very important factor in the local ranking of the website.
Users often want to learn more about business information before applying for services, so you will need to create such profiles and keep them “fresh”. Here are a few profiles that are still relevant in 2020:
When writing content for a website, consider which topics will be relevant to your region. The content of the website should contain the names of your region to increase the semantic visibility of the website.
Focus on news that will be interesting and important for the target audience in your area.
Promotions and news about events posted on the website’s blog should also be localized. By the way, we recently wrote an article on how to start a content marketing strategy for a website.
If you have several locations where you offer professional services, such as a web of dentistry clinics throughout the US or several car washes, then we recommend you to expand the website structure with additional pages aimed at each region. List localized content with contact details on such pages.
Keywords are the key requests that your site’s semantic visibility consists of. Users search for your business using such requests in the Google search field.
Focus on the website’s meta tag optimization (Titles, Descriptions, ALTs) and include keywords in them. If you find it difficult to understand what’s at stake here, then we recommend that you contact us.
This is a minor, but still important, factor that many forget about. If your domain ends with a .com and the website has English content, and you would like to rank in the USA, add this meta tag to the header code of your website. For the USA, this tag looks like this:
<link rel=”alternate” href=”https://website.com” hreflang=”en-us” />
Contact details and microdata markup
Be sure to include important contact information so that users can contact you. This is a very important factor since a website without an address is considered international and Google will take this fact into account when ranking.
Moreover, we recommend placing microformats in the code so that search bots can better analyze the information and understand where the phone number and address is among your content.
This is also one of the most important factors in local SEO ranking currently.
Create your business’ social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), and don’t forget to fill in the fields with business details (address, phone number, etc.). Reviews and your audience also play an important role in Google’s local ranking, so you should keep your accounts fresh and filled with relevant content.
We’d be happy if you shared your own findings about what local factors are also important for ranking a website in 2020. Write your thoughts in the comments.