SEO Has Changed – The Importance of Local SEO & Local Business Citations
Jacksonville SEO Experts Explain Local SEO
Search Engine Optimization for local businesses has always been one of the most important and effective ways to produce growth. Our SEO efforts have consistently been able to bring first page visibility to our clients, and recent changes to Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) have shown proof of higher value placed on different ranking signals along with exciting new opportunities.
The Google Local PackOne of the primary goals for local SEO is to get your business to appear in the “local pack” which Google shows at the top of page 1 for local searches. The local pack features three Google My Business listings along with a map, reviews, contact information, and links to website and directions. The local pack appears just below the sponsored results (from AdWords) but above the organic rankings. Check if your business listing is claimed by visiting Google My Business.
Local Business Citations Remain Most Important Ranking Signal
Since the local pack is undoubtedly the most important goal in local SEO, how do we get your business to appear as one of those top three companies? The most important step is growing the number and accuracy of your local business citations.
A local business citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citations help Internet users discover local businesses, and the number of citations, accuracy of citations, and local business reviews, have been shown to influence which businesses appear in the local pack. Learn more about how we can help you with local SEO and online reviews on this page.
As one of the top SEO companies in Jacksonville we work with companies all across the U.S. to bring visibility within the local pack through citation management and local link building. Each citation we build also includes a link to our client’s website, which not only helps increase citation strength but also overall SEO strength and likelihood our client will appear in the local pack and organic search results.
What are our favorite resources? Moz Local & YEXT
Local Link Building Impacts Google’s Local Pack
In addition to standard citations, you need to prioritize a local link building strategy in your local SEO program. Local link building has a very strong impact on which companies are shown in the local pack.
Most local communities have websites and blogs with social media profiles which are nearly 100% dedicated to providing information about the local city and/or community, and you can reach out to them to get your company mentioned in a blog post and listed if they have business listings.
Google and other search engines recognize the local focus of these websites, and obtaining a business listing and blog post on these hyperlocal websites can lead to a huge boost in your online visibility – both in the local pack and organic local search rankings.
Start looking for local link building opportunities in your community and approach the website owner/blogger about being included. Examples of excellent local link building websites for Jacksonville, Florida include Jax Mom’s Blog, Experience Jacksonville, Visit Jacksonville, and Downtown Vision.
Google’s Knowledge Panel
In addition to Google’s local pack, there is another reason to embrace your Google My Business listing. When customers or potential customers search for your business online (and nearly 40% of all searches*) the Knowledge Panel appears to the right of the organic search results – especially prevalent in local search results.
A New Local SEO Marketing Opportunity
The Knowledge Panel is where a business’ details such as hours, address, phone number, and more show up. But there is a whole lot more to the Knowledge Panel, and this is where the excitement begins.
Google Knowledge Panel Features Influence Google’s Local Pack
Google My Business – PostsOne exciting new feature which has been added to your Google My Business listing is the ability to create “Posts”. At time of writing (May 2019), you can choose to post “What’s New”, “Event”, “Offer”, or “Product”. Each offers the ability to make your post stand out with a photo or video, text, and an optional button which can include a custom link. Your post will show up in the Knowledge Panel, and are a great way to differentiate your company from competitors who are not using this feature.
Google My Business – Q&AAnother great feature in the Knowledge Panel is the Q&A section. Immediately below the critical business contact information is a section titled “Questions & answers” which allows users to
submit a question to the business. This question and answer may remain in the Knowledge Panel for future searchers. Nearly 50% of marketers agree that Google Knowledge Panel features like Posts and Q&A impact local pack rankings.
What is Local SEO?
The term “Local SEO” refers to Search Engine Optimization for local businesses to produce 1st page visibility for searches performed with local intent. Local intent can be determined by the user including the city or “near me” in the query, or by Google when the search phrase is something that is typically local such as “dry cleaners”.
*Source: Moz’s Google SERP Feature Graph
Let us help you!
Let our expert SEO team bring new life to your online visibility. Give us a call at 904-742-3626 or send a message through our contact form and we can schedule an introduction phone call or in-person meeting.
Andre LaFlamme, Founder