Although local SEO is still relatively similar to general SEO, it’s become more distant as is begins to incorporate GPS locations, reviews and the user’s previous habits to influence the rankings.
The one thing that we know for sure is that geo-topical authority and relevance can have an impact on local rankings. Many local businesses rely primarily on ranking for small, local keywords instead of larger, high volume, international keywords.
The majority of this traffic will come from Google Maps listings, local results and also location specific queries from users. Although local SEO is less competitive than international, it’s become more competitive each year.
More and more local businesses realize the power of SEO, and that’s why it’s so important for you to get started ASAP so that you can gain an advantage over your competitors.
What is Geo-Topical Authority and Relevance?
Geo-topical authority is essentially the ‘authority’ that Google or other search engines see in your website for a particular location. For example; if someone were to search for the best restaurant, they likely want the best restaurant locally, not in the entire world.
Therefore, having authority for local queries means that Google believes that your website is the best result for local searchers inquiring about that specific topic.
Similarly, local relevancy is how relevant the search engines think your site is to those in the vicinity. Obviously, your goal should be to show Google that you’re a local business so that they will list and rank you for geographically relevant queries.
Why Does it Matter?
All of this matters because it will dictate what queries you rank for and how highly you rank for them. If you include not location specific information on your website or through your marketing, Google is unlikely to rank you for geographically constrained searches.
So, building up your geo-topical authority and relevancy can help you to rank for more terms and to increase your rankings for local searches, driving more traffic to your website. Presuming that your website is compelling, this extra traffic will lead to more revenue for your business.
Creating Region Specific Content
The first step that you should take is to create region specific content. This will allow you to include geo-topical keywords and tells Google that your business is related to the particular region.
An example of this type of content for a bakery could be titled “Why are we the best bakery in NYC” or “NYC cookies” or “where to buy baking goods in NYC”.
All of these pieces of content would be full of geographically relevant terms and keywords, all of which hint to Google that your business is locally related. Not only that but when people search for those terms, it’s likely that your page will be in the rankings.
Building Links From Local Websites
Secondly, you need to be building links to your site from local sites and businesses. This is a strong sign of relevancy because Google rightly believes that if a bunch of sites that it knows are from a given region are linking to your site, it’s likely also from that region.
Not only that, but these links will probably help you to specifically rank for local related keywords by building up this geo-topical authority.
Using Geo-Specific Anchor Text
When you’re building links, either for local or international websites, you should ensure that a portion of them include geo-specific anchor texts. What we mean by this is that you include your location in the anchor text of the link, i.e. “best NYC SEO agency” rather than “best SEO agency”.
Most importantly, this will improve your rankings for the specific term that you’ve included in the anchor text, but it also signals to Google that you’re local. This way, if somebody in NYC searches “best SEO agency”, your business is more likely to come up, because you’re located locally, and you’re receiving links with a partial match anchor text.
Google Local and Map Listings
Finally, the absolute most important step for any local business is to ensure that you have accurate and up-to-date Google Local and Google Map listings. More than anything, this will allow you to be found when people perform local searches.
In the past, this wasn’t so important, but Google is quickly introducing local knowledge boxes and map listings within their general search engine. This is likely to increase, and this means that those businesses listed at the top of the maps and local listings will see a boost in traffic.
One of the best ways to increase your rankings in those listings is to include as much information about your business as possible. Don’t just include the minimum information, take high quality photos and include them too.
Lastly, ensure that your customers are leaving positive reviews. Incentivize people with free goodies or small discounts. These positive reviews can greatly increase rankings, and that’s only going to drive more traffic and more revenue for your business.
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