Over the past few years we’ve seen major changes to Google local business listings.
Prior to the Google pigeon update of 2014 you could pretty much rank in Google maps and Google local listings by getting into hundreds of local directory websites, such as Foursquare, Citysearch, Yelp, Mentor and Yahoo Local. It usually took just a few months to achieve the best results in your local search.
However, things have changed, and, while those ranking signals are still important for local listings, there are others that have come to the fore.
In this article, we will take a look at four of the main factors you should consider when trying to rank your business in local listings in Google:
1. Your domain name
Yes your domain name is important when it comes to Google map listings. Ideally, you want to get a domain name with your main keyword and your city or location within it. This isn’t always possible, but it can really help to tell Google exactly what your domain is about and its relevancy. What simpler way to tell Google that your business sells blue widgets in Southampton, than to have your domain name called bluewidgetsSouthampton.com.
2. Your website structure
Website structure is becoming more and more important in search rankings these days. With regards to local listings, website structure particularly relates to having location pages in your website in a prominent position. Google wants to know that your website caters to certain local demographics and will examine your website to see if there is evidence that it does. According to Zane from ChiroScout “You can also cover lots of local places by having a landing service page for all of your local area clients. This will leave Google in no doubt that your business caters to this geo-graphic.”
3. Citation authority
Citations in this regard relate to how many times your business name, address and phone number appear together on websites. It isn’t so much about having lots of listings as it was in the past, but rather about where those listings come from, and the authority that they suggest. Simon Wadsworth from online reputation management experts igniyte.co.uk states “If your contact details are on high quality websites and profiles, then you are more likely to get listed well in Google local listings for your key search terms.”
4. Content syndication
The way of the world is certainly going social and viral. If you can get your content out there into social media and get lots of positive signals back, then Google will look at your site favourably. Reputation is largely based on social and website referrals these days, where in the past social hadn’t yet become a major part of the Google algorithm. If you get lots of social signals and lots of links back you will be increasing your rankings for your target keywords in Google my business listings and also promoting your website and increasing your rankings in the search results for your core keyword terms.
Ranking in Google my business local listings really isn’t as complicated as many people make out. It is about building a valid and authoritative business presence and making sure you are centred in a location that Google can recognise. Send the right signals to Google in the above 4 areas and you will get the rankings that you deserve.