The search intention and keyword structure of local searches are different from that of global searches. So, there exist distinct ranking criteria of Google for local search results. According to Google- “Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence.” 

This article will discuss all the organic ways to fulfill Google’s ranking criteria and rank for a specific area. Before diving into the main discussion, check the following case study for a better understanding-

The “Digital marketing agency Nashville” keyword has more than 590 monthly search volumes in the USA. The searchers’ intention for this keyword is to find a Nashville-based digital marketing agency. When I search Google with this keyword, the search result page shows me 23 results, including promotional sites, map packs, review blog sites, and a few local businesses. Where-

  • The first three and last three are paid results (advertisement).
  • Four results are Maps. Digital marketing companies with contact and location appear there. Of them- three are organics, and one is a paid result.
  • Four review articles from blog sites that are not digital marketing agencies.
  • Eight are digital marketing company websites.

Here, eight companies or agencies have organically appeared on Google’s search engine result page (SERP), and three have ranked in the form of a map pack. These organizations have become more valuable than their competitors in the eyes of Google and have ranked on the SERP. So, here is the ultimate guide for you to be valuable to Google and rank on Google’s local SERP.

Create and optimize your business profile on Google My Business (GMB)

Google My Business profile will ensure your relevance and prominence to Google. Besides, Google will ensure that your location is accurate and your website is not engaged with spam.

I have mentioned before in my example that there are organically ranked three businesses with map schema on the research result page. This result and another eight companies have ranked because they have a very affluent profile on Google my business. When there is no significant competitor, even a business without a website can rank on Google local SERP because of a good profile on GMB.

Here are some essential tips for GMB listings:

  • Make an attractive description of your business focusing on local keywords.
  • Fill out all the forms of GMB and provide as much information as you can.
  • Ensure that your provided information is accurate and that your name, address, and phone number are the same as on your website and other directory sites.
  • Constantly update information, reply to questions, and comment on the reviews of the people.

Optimize your Business website

Both on-page and off-page optimization are essential for ranking on Google SERP. On-page optimization will help the robots of the Google search engine to understand your website and its contents. Here are some essentials for the optimization of your website.

Optimize the site with local keywords

It would be best to use local keywords to optimize both the front-end and back-end of your website. If you are a service-providing business, list the services you offer on the landing page. If you sell a product, optimize the product name with local modifiers. I.e., “Indoor plants delivery at Nashville,” “Indoor plants at best price at Nashville.”

You must use the name of the location at –

  • Title, H1 tag, and meta description of landing page
  • The home page and about us page.

Make your website mobile responsive.

You must ensure that your website is mobile responsive. To rank on the Google SERP of mobile users, you must have a mobile responsive website.

Optimize your website for voice search

Now, many mobile users are fond of using the voice search option of Google. Optimization of your web pages to make your site voice search-friendly will be a plus point for you.

Optimize your contact page, about us page, and footer

  • Don’t ignore mentioning your location and contact details in the footer section of every page of your website.
  • If you serve multiple locations, list all the locations on the contact page. Another option is making different landing pages for different locations and optimizing landing pages with the geo-targeted keyword.
  • Embed a Google map pinned with the exact business location to your about us page.

Besides that, you must keep an eye on general SEO guidelines. The page loading speed must be minimum, and the site must be mobile responsive.

Create useful and quality content focusing on local keywords

Content still is one of the most influential ranking factors of Google. To rank on Google, you must beat your competitors with improved content. You can achieve brand authority to the local searchers by publishing useful content focusing on local keywords.

  • Location-based keywords: Profitable local keywords for your businesses are niche-related keywords that local people of your service area search. Using modifiers like place name, near me, fast delivery, best, and one-day delivery is an excellent way to find local keywords.
  • Implicit keywords: Some keywords implicitly have local intent. The artificial intelligence bot of the Google search engine can understand the intent. For example, by searching “Cleaning Company” in Google, you will find local businesses on the result page. So, it will help if you focus on implicit keywords to increase your ranking position on Google.

However, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz, Semrush, or any reputed keyword research tool to find local keywords targeting specific locations.

Amplify Social Signals and Manage Positive Reviews

If you have good engagement in social media, you can get direct visitors from these social platforms. Google gives priority to a popular business. Social shares and increased visitors to your business website will also increase your value and ranking on Google. On the other hand, positive reviews and ratings on GMB profiles, directory sites, and social media pages will also give you competitive advantages. If you can beat competitors with positive reviews and social engagement, you also can beat competitors on SERP.

Use Unique NAP Citations

The full form of NAP is – Name, Address, and Phone number. Google gives ranks to authentic and relevant sites. You should cite the name, address, and phone number of different directories, apps, and social platforms. Google will get a signal of your relevance and prominence from these listings. Google itself was a directory site initially, and still, Google loves them. So, Google will see you with a good eye if you are listed in the local directory sites. Some examples are-

  • Local chambers of commerce
  • Yelp
  • BBB

There is another effective option for ranking. On the Google SERP, some review sites appear- for example, content on “Top 10 digital marketing agencies in Nashville” appears on the first page while searching with “Digital marketing agency Nashville.” If you reach out to the editor of the review site and convince them you are one of the best, you can get listed in the top 10. However, you must ensure that all sites have correctly cited in your NAP and the category of your business.

Google is keen to rank the most relevant local business for local search intentions. Google always shows location-specific results.
To appear on the first page of Google SERP, you must introduce your business’s location to Google by adding it to Google My Business. On the other hand, your site speed & structure, contents, backlinks, and reviews will express your relevance and prominence.
When you successfully beat the relevance and prominence of your competitors, you will beat them on the Google search engine result page.