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How to Improve Your Local Ranking

It’s no secret that Google ranking is a hot topic these days. Making sure your local business appears in searches can directly affect your bottom line; if customers can’t find you, they won’t call you. But recently, Google revealed some of it’s ‘secrets’ to improve your local ranking, making it easier than ever to boost your chances of gaining more visibility and attaining that higher ranking. Here’s our top takeaways from Google’s big reveal:

Less is Not More

Google has made it it clear that businesses need to complete all of their ‘Google My Business’ profiles to get found. Here are the important pieces of your profile:

  1. Address – Make sure your address is listed, and current. This means taking the necessary steps to get your address(es) verified by Google, making sure they appropriately show up on maps and searches.
  2. Business Hours – Make sure your business hours are listed, and more importantly, accurate. This applies to holidays as well. Businesses with accurate hours are more likely to show up in relevant searches, as opposed to those without business hours listed. Google now has a new ‘Open Now’ button appearing on Google searches, allowing clients to filter search results to only those businesses open during their search.
  3. Photos – Including clear, high resolution images of your business, staff and services can help share your business story, and attract ideal clients. Google takes these images and uses them in a variety of ways, and helps your business appear more desirable. Without photos from the business, Google uses street view images or simply a pin on a map to represent your business, neither of which may be the most attractive to the business owner. Businesses are encouraged to submit multiple photos, and Google even accepts photos in up to 13 different categories. Instead of submitting only a logo of your business, a local business could submit photos of their office, outside building, staff, or even product photos. These types of photos could certainly improve the ranking and appearance of a local business.
  4. Reviews – We always advise our clients to respond to reviews. High quality reviews certainly help your local ranking, but even responding to negative reviews can show a client you are on top of your business and seeking to improve. Many clients will forgive negative reviews if a business owner has taken the time to respond in a positive way.

Content is Still King

Google has made it clear that pages full of useful, clear information will be ranked higher. And pages that can’t stand on their own are not valued highly. A new guideline revealed that the most important content should be visible, and not within tabs. This also means that each page of your website needs to contain valuable content with your relevant keywords, since those are the words your clients are searching for online. Pages with excessive bounce rates will also be severely penalized by Google. Concerned about your pages meeting the new guidelines? Request a demo by Advice Local here.

It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who You Know in SEO

In Google’s big reveal, they provide a technical guide to improving local ranking. Here’s a few of the new guidelines:

Sitemaps: Submit your site and xml sitemap to Google using Search Console. Site maps help search engines find your key pages.

Robots.txt: This refers to making sure your limited number of daily crawls are feeding to the right pages in your site.

Links, Title Tag and Alt Attributes: Google now says every page of your site needs to be reached by at least one page that includes an image link or text link with “alt” attributes. Title tags need to be included on every page of your site, and unique on each page.

CSS and Javasript: Googlebot uses this information, so make sure these aren’t blocked on your site.

Accessibility: For the first time, Google has added a guideline that recommends pages are useful for readers with visual impairments. And of course, in continuation with their 2015 initiative to make websites mobile-friendly, that is still a priority for local ranking.

Many webmasters and SEO agencies have reviewed these in depth and begun to implement them. But what about the business owner? Are these technical updates and guidelines simple enough for the business owner to implement on their own? Perhaps a few tech-savvy folks out there are able to decipher these new guidelines and process the necessary updates, which is why we are sharing them for all. But if reading these new, technical requirements have caused your eyes to glaze over, then don’t worry. Our valued Advice Local clients can sit back and relax, knowing we are behind the scenes, working hard to make sure your website complies with all of the new guidelines. As always, leave the heavy lifting to Advice Local, so you can focus on your business.