Q&A: How to rank on Google for local search?
Someone asked a good question this morning in a Facebook help group for Internet Marketing that I participate in:
“Is the general consensus that you can’t do a lot to get listed within a (search) result (‘Dentist Woodridge” for example’)? Or are there steps that greatly improve your odds? I used to think reviews were huge – but the more results I see the less reviews (if any) the other listings have”
This post isn’t meant to be a philosophical discussion on Google’s search results algorithms or the perceived randomness of search result positions for local search or an all-encompassing local SEO guide, but hopefully it can provide some food for thought and get people doing some more in depth research on some of these areas.
I included some links in the text to articles that I feel do a good job expanding on particulars. Without further ado, here was my reply to the question.
What you can do to rank for Local Search:
“There’s so much more that goes into ranking for local search than can be explained in a Facebook thread, but let me try my best here to explain the approach that I take (others might have different ways of doing it).
I start with the question: “What can I do that will send signals to Google that I am a Woodridge Dentist that does a good job?”
For on-site factors, that usually involves putting your target keywords in headers and paragraphs (in the context of writing quality content for site viewers), alt text on images, your address in the footer and other places, etc.
Blogging can be a huge boost. See if they are down to write about topics related to dentistry (things like ‘Proper flossing techniques’ or ‘How often do I need to see a dentist’). It doesn’t need to be groundbreaking stuff, but it’s great to have useful posts related to the trade (for users and Google).
Off-site factors include adding info to your Google Places for Business, getting listed in directories related to dentistry in Woodridge or businesses in Woodridge, and sharing those helpful blog posts on social media channels.
If you’re seeing a lot of maps results on the first page of your target keywords, you’ll want to emphasize getting reviews, trusted directory listings, and making sure your Google Places profile is kept updated, and consistent with all your listings.
Lastly, it’s important to be patient and diligent. Ranking can take some time and is never as easy as some formula that makes you rank #1 for all your target keywords.
Hope that helps. There’s a lot more good free stuff floating around the interwebz expanding on some of these areas and probably going over some things I didn’t mention here.”
What else do you do to show up in the search results for local business? Sound off in the comments!