Top ranking factors for Local SEO - Search Engine Optimisation by Web Clare

Top Ranking Factors for Local SEO

According to Google, nearly two-thirds of smartphone users are likely to purchase from companies that customise online information to a user’s location.

In today’s high-tech society, it’s not enough to have a tastefully designed sign outside of your office or to hand out business cards at every local function you attend. With so many potential clients turning to local search to find businesses or services, it’s imperative that the online presence of your business or practice is well-optimized for Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

What exactly does that mean?

Areas of focus for Local SEO in Ireland

A company’s rank in Google My Business (GMB) results can be boiled down to three distinct areas of focus:

  1. Relevance
  2. Distance
  3. Prominence


Enhancing your listing in all of these areas can help you rank in the top three spots in Google local search (also known as Google’s three-pack or rich cards). But before you can optimize a GMB listing, you have to create or claim one. We won’t get into that here, but Web Clare has an informative article on how to do it.

Working with many different clients over time, and a common thread among all of them is that a presence in local search is a vital step in earning new business. The same is also true for the millions of local businesses out there (and even national brands with a local presence) who need to be relevant for local audiences.


Relevance: First On The Local SEO Checklist

Relevance is a staple of Google’s algorithm. All business owners and marketers need to make their Google My Business (GMB) profile as relevant as possible to what searchers are using to find them. This is a way for small businesses to rank higher that larger corporations.

Here’s how you can do that in a GMB profile:

 Choose an accurate category. For example, don’t just pick “lawyer” if you’re a personal injury lawyer and if that option is available.

 Add practice area and business descriptions. Google allows up to 1,000-word descriptions on business profiles. Use all the space if you can, and add keyword phrases relevant to your practice areas.

 Complete and detail business information. Include accurate name, address and phone number information (something local SEO companies refer to as NAP) to your profile. This information should also be consistent across the internet – so don’t have your home address in Kildare on some sites and your office address in Dublin on others.

The goals here are to make sure the profile is filled out as completely as possible and also to use every opportunity to fill it with relevant information about your firm and the type of business you run or law you practice.

Distance: Strategies For Location-Based Searches

Google tends to favor businesses that are closest to where a searcher is, and this is one of the most influential factors for GMB results rankings. If you are in Limerick and search for a dentist, you will see local results before the results ranking nationally.

Of course, there isn’t much that businesses can do about that but they can increase the likelihood of relevance by creating location-based pages on their site and linking them to their GMB profiles as well as other profiles on the web.

I should point out that this only works within reason and business owners or marketers should use this tactic regardless of where they are located. Here are some tactics for making an effective location page:

  • Select a high-volume keyword phrase that has location intent. Typically, for an attorney, this will be “practice area” plus “city name.” For example, “personal injury lawyer Limerick.”
  • Create a page on your site targeting this phrase.
  • Include the phrase in your page title, headings, page copy, meta description and image file names.
  • Ensure to include your name, address and phone number on the page.
  • Include the phrase in your page permalink as such:
  • Make sure your address is in your website footer so that Google knows where your business is based
  • The address on your website should also be the same as your Google My Business page and on social media

Top Local SEO Rankig Factors breakdown in percentagesProminence: Where Businesses And Practices Can Set Themselves Apart

This is where a company can really get ahead of the competition in local search. The prominence of GMB profiles can be improved in many ways. Some of these things are included in the profiles themselves while others are included as part of a broader SEO strategy.

Here’s what you do:

 Images: Add as many images as you can to your GMB profile. Ensure you have more images than competing companies in your area.

 Reviews: Get as many reviews on your GMB profile as you can as well as other top sites around the web like Facebook and Yelp. It’s important to disclose that you must follow all guidelines relating to reviews. Yelp discourages profiles from openly soliciting reviews.

 Permanent Signage: Google attempts to mimic the weight of businesses in the offline world. The more prominent you can make your firm in the offline world, the more that will translate online.

 Citations And Links: A more enhanced web presence overall will translate to better local rankings. Work on building out citations as well as inbound links to your website. Citations are mentions of your company name on other websites. If you are in Dublin, you should ensure that your are on local business directory listings.

If you are opening up a new location for your company, Joy Hawkins of Sterling Sky offers some great tips for getting a profile to rank well. Here are some additional tips:

  • The location needs to be staffed during business hours (no empty offices rented only for an address)
  • The staff at the location has to be yours (no virtual offices)
  • Avoid sharing an office with another lawyer as this can cause filtering issues
  • Also avoid things like co-working spaces and virtual offices (your office needs to stand apart from everyone else)
  • Have permanent signs visible from street view

Using the above can ensure your ranking on Googles Search Engine Results Page or SERP as it is often referred to.

Final Thoughts On Local SEO

This is the short list of local SEO tactics. There are many more pieces to the puzzle as well as a solid overarching strategy that needs to be put in place to rank well in location-based search. The more robust your overall SEO campaign is, the better chances you’ll have of ranking your GMB profile in the top spot. Using an SEO agency such as Web Clare will help you out rank your competitors and increase your business.  Contact us at Web Clare for help with your Search Engine Optimisation for Local SEO and your Local SEO management.


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