I have seen time and time again that a website’s rankings take a significant jump by changing some of more important on-the-page factors. This applies to both the organic results and the local business results.
Local businesses definitely need to be working towards ranking on both the organic listings and the local business results. These are the results that we have become so familiar with.
There are several on-the-page factors that influence how the search engines rank pages. There were times that this wasn’t as important for some search engines, including Google, however while these factors do not have significant weight on the ranking, their presence is critical.
Look at it this way. You can look at your website like a race car. You can have the car decked out with a supercharger, high performance brakes and suspension but if you don’t have the tires, the car won’t perform. Even using low performance tires the car will still move, but won’t win the race. Some say getting second means you’ve the first person to lose the race. This is a scaled down list however represents about 80% of the on-the-page efforts. While there are several factors that influence the search engines on-the-page, these following factors are most critical:
- Quality Unique Content – You’ve heard it over and over and over.
- Use some keyword rich text based links – all pages need to be accessible
- Unique keyword rich titles
- Keyword rich H1 tags
- Optimized images – avoid words and use text when possible – small kb – alt info
- Quick loading speed – Google recently introduced page loading speed as a ranking factor
Local Business Results
These results are fairly new and come into play when certain keywords are used. Google decides what keyword triggers the local business results. They are getting pretty good at figuring out most local searches, typically either triggered by your IP address or adding a goemod, a geographical modifier. A geomod can be a city, town, village, postal / zip code or sometimes local jargon [chitown pizza delivery].
When a local business comes into play, there are several factors that the search engines look at to validate the businesses’ credibility. One must first understand that a listing in the local business results does not mean that one has a website. A business does not need a website be listed here. A business needs quality transparency and exposure.
When a business does have a website, the website is essentially attached to the listing’s profile and most times Google will include a direct link to your website from the SERP. Sometimes they won’t and for that reason is why we are considering on-the-page factors for the local business results.
You see, Google’s philosophy is essentially they believe that a listing needs to have a physical address and that listing needs to be trusted. Since there is never a person checking these results, the algorithm ranks many factors. If the listing is trusted is will rank high. How to rank these listing is another post, but remember that if the listing shows, the on-the-page factors determine how much exposure Google will give that business’ website. Do you want the generic Google page or the business’ page influencing conversion? Do what you can to get traffic to the website by improving the click through rate in the local business results listing by optimizing these following on-the-page factors:
- Full business name and address on at least one page of the website
- Preferably at the bottom of each page in small font. Ensure your N.A.P. (Name – Address – Phone number) are congruent. Ie. 200 N Harrison St is much different than 200 North Harrison St.
- Full phone number to the main phone line that is published in the phone book.
- Do not use tracking phone numbers. Use text based on pages when possible.
- Include the surrounding areas that the business covers whenever describing the services, or benefits.
- Include local jargon and discuss the value of the business to the local area.
- Directions to your location, such as an embedded map, especially if you’re a business that has walk in traffic.
- Location pages for each physical location the business has or in some cases location pages for the major suburbs a business facilitates serves
- Proper internal linking structure and page naming conventions
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