How to Rank Well in Local Searches on Google

If you have a business that serves a local area, this post is for you. Google has put a lot of effort into refining search results so the large, national chains aren’t always at the top of results. Even the little guy can rank well in local searches!

How do you stand out? The main factors that influence a site’s position in local search are:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence
  • Plus, all the unstated factors built in to Google algorithm!

All joking aside, here I will focus on the three stated factors in ranking well. Google heavily replies on your Google My Business listing to determine your rank.

Relevance is how well your Google My Business listing matches the phrase being searched. If your listing contains the words or phrase used, you have a good chance of being among the top results. Adding complete and detailed business information to your Google My Business listing is important.

Distance is how far you are from the person doing the search. Google knows where your business is located based on the address in your listing. If you have more than one primary service area, be sure to designate multiple locations within your listing and/or creating service area pages as part of your website.

Prominence is a ranking of how well-known your business is. This is based on the information Google gathers about you from across the web. If you are regularly mentioned on social media, in website links, articles, directories, etc, Google will rank you well. Consistency in your business name is critical here, as Google bots may not connect all variants of your name to the same business.

In sum, Google will rank you highly in local searches if your Google My Business listing and website is highly relevant to the search query, your business is in direct proximity to the searcher, and you are mentioned frequently online.

Content Marketing Beyond Words

Is your content marketing all about words? It’s often easiest to create content in article form:  a headline, a few subheads and a couple of paragraphs of text and you are done!

The problem is that this is boring! Research by the Content Marketing Institute consistently shows that interactive, non-static content grabs attention. Content that moves beyond static words is effective at getting the attention of people at all stages – from those just getting to know you to those who love you best.

Create Short Videos

More than 100 million hours of video are watched daily on Facebook alone. Most people recall content from video more readily than content they have read.

The popularity of video content has lead most social channels to add support for video. And, they give more play to video-based posts.

The ideal is about 30 seconds. All you need to do is grab your smartphone, record something interesting, and post.

If you create long-form videos such as webinars, you can snip smaller segments to use on social media. Dividing longer videos into short, shareable clips is an effective way to generate a library of content.

Illustrate Your Point

Infographics and illustrations can be great ways to make a point visually. The human brain processes images much faster than text. Retention of visual information is better than text-based.

Poll the Audience

Quizzes, calculators, assessments and contests all consistently attract attention. I know my Facebook feed is filled with results of quizzes and assessments that my connections have taken. People can’t seem to get enough!

Think about ways to present your content in these interactive formats. Pose a question and let people pick the best answer. Set up a tool that let’s them test their knowledge or find out something about their own interests.

Talk About It

Consider adding podcasts to your content mix. Talk about a topic, either as the sole expert or bring one or more guests into the conversation. There is no better way to inject personality into your content marketing than to let people listen to what’s on your mind.

Content That Meets People Where They Are

The content you provide in your marketing isn’t for you. It’s for the people who you want to market to and to engage with. Never forget this critical element.

Keep in mind that the people you want to reach have different needs at different times. Align your strategy to ensure you are there for them with what they need, when they need it.

Address People at All Levels of Awareness

Not everyone has the same relationship with you, and their engagement with you will change over time.

When they are first learning about you, they are likely to pay attention to content that provides the basics of who you are and what you offer. As their understanding grows, they dig into deeper material that shows the nuances of what makes you and your brand different.

If your content marketing strategy only satisfies one aspect of the customer journey, you aren’t connecting with people at all stages. Be sure your mix speaks to newbies, people who know you, and people who love you. They are all out there.

Understand Today’s Problems and Concerns

A variety of factors influence what people care about most. Interests and issues change over time, and your content needs to stay current.

Pay attention to the questions and comments you get directly as well as comments you are seeing elsewhere. Each one indicates an interest that is likely shared across your target audience. Your ability to provide content that targets what is top-of-mind now is key to your success.