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Local search ranking factors (Distilled down for consumption)

local-search-ranking-factorsWhat does it take to rank locally? Just like traditional SEO there are potentially hundreds or even thousands of factors that combine together and influence why you show up on page one vs. your competition. We only have so much time in the day and so much budget in the bank. So how do we attack it?

David Mihm has done an excellent job for the last few years working with the local search community to identify the local search ranking factors. This is a comprehensive, exhaustive and valuable collection of information but it’s a lot to digest. Most business owners and SEOs need a real-world way to attack this today.

So, I’ve taken it upon myself to distill this into a list of priority factors that you can use as a checklist. For most business owners and SEOs, this is your action list. This is probably all you have time for. Honestly, this is more than even most professional SEOs have time for unless you’re working with a company that has a signification budget. If you’re that lucky then please refer to David’s list. If you’re like the rest of us I hope you find this useful.

Unfortunately you find that some of these things you can’t control. But you can do things to encourage people to do the right things. That’s all I say about it for now because that’s the subject of another post.

So without further ado, here is my list. Attack at will:

Business NAP: (Name, Address & Phone)
– Address in city with proximity to centroid
– Local phone number
– Product, service and location keyword in business title

Google/Directory/Citation sites:
– Owner verified/claimed listings
– Complete listings, including keyword-rich description and photos
– Highly relevant categories
– Quality/quantity of reviews
– Product, services and location listed in reviews

Citations:
– Consistency of NAP
– Quality and quantity of structured citations (IYPs, Directories)
– Quality and quantity of unstructured citations (Newspaper, blogs, etc.)
– Authoritative unstructured citations (BBB, Local Chamber, etc.)

Your Website:
– Product, service and location keywords in URL
– Address on website that matches other citations
– Location keyword in business title
– Website domain authority
– City and state in landing page title
– Product, service and location keywords in title tags
– Product, service and location keywords in h1/h2 tags

General SEO:
– Quality and quantity of inbound links
– Quality and quantity of inbound links from local websites

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Chris Auman is a veteran Internet marketer, website developer, and designer with over 20 years of experience in the trenches. As President and Senior Strategist at Sanctuary, Chris has successfully guided the online marketing efforts for companies large and small. Chris’ clients range from family owned & operated retail operations with a local footprint of 1-10 stores to multinational Fortune 500 companies.

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