A high ranking in local search has a crucial role to play in the success of any business, whether a local business or a global brand. It boosts the visibility of your business among local searchers, which enhances your chances of drawing more local traffic. However, it’s quite tricky to optimize your site for local search, and your efforts might not be successful if it’s not done right.
The Relevance of Local SEO
In today’s digital times, we are increasingly looking for specific solutions and answers that hold relevance in certain situations. Google responds to our searches by showing us local search results. Two conclusions can be drawn from this:
- Local SEO is incredibly essential for local businesses.
- Your business’s mobile website is strongly connected to local searches.
It should be noted that consumers that do local searches are action-oriented since they need a shop quickly in the area. Local consumers taking action online are more willing to make the purchase, converting more. So, online marketers and entrepreneurs should focus more on local SEO to boost their local search ranking.
Before delving into how to optimize your website to boost its local ranking in Kolkata, let’s first understand the factors that influence your local ranking.
4 Factors Influencing Local Ranking of a Website
Local SEO has its challenges; nevertheless, there are ways that can help you improve your local search ranking. This starts with understanding all the key factors affecting your ranking. As per a report by Moz, following are the top factors influencing local search ranking:
1. Link Profile
Similar to regular SEO, you need to build a sound link profile for local SEO. The quantity and quality of your inbound links have a vital role to play in your site’s local search ranking. Focus on building high-quality local links, and take the help of reputed local publications and websites for this.
The relevance, quality, and quantity of keywords you use also influence your local ranking. It’s important to use a relevant and high-ranking keyword, and use the name of your target location as the main keyword. Then, distribute this keyword throughout the content, like meta descriptions, meta titles, H1s, H2s, etc.
3. GMB Signals
Make sure you update your business information completely and accurately on GMB (Google My Business).
Hence, details such as state, city, categories, and proximity play a major role when it comes to ranking well in the search results of a user.
4. Social Signals
Social presence of a business plays a crucial role in its local search ranking. A high rate of engagement and a large following can boost your social presence, thereby improving your local ranking. Acquire more followers through engagement with influential people on social media. Moreover, generate content that’s highly engaging and interesting.
Besides these factors, there are others too that can influence the local search ranking of your business. The other factors include Domain Authority, anchor text quality, review signals and more. Understanding these factors well and trying to improve them will help boost your local ranking.
Tips to Improve your Business’s Local Search Visibility
Now, let’s look at what you can do to improve the local SEO of your business in Kolkata, thereby increasing its local ranking.
1. Insert Keywords in Multiple Listings
In local SEO, it’s important to get brand visibility through multiple local listings. Add your local keywords in unique descriptions across various listings. Ensure that you include current photos and your business category. After a list is compiled, promote it. Reviews are important to improve your ranking as well as for encouraging visitors to take action.
2. Attain Local Coverage
An effective technique of improving your SEO is appearing in prominent publications as Google indexes them quite high. For improving your local SEO, try getting coverage by the top local publications. Build and strengthen relationships with prominent local journalists to get your news covered by them on a constant basis. Once you attain that coverage, you’ll see substantial improvement in your local SEO brought by these links.
3. Improve your Internal Linking Structure
The website architecture of most local businesses is not sound enough, often with the important pages being linked to only from the footer or main navigation. Wherever relevant, add internal links from within the content of your pages, including chief service pages, informational pages, and blog posts. Improving the internal linking structure of website results in boost in rankings, both organic and maps.
4. Get High-Quality, New Links
The quality as well as the number of links that are directed to your site significantly impacts its local search ranking. To get quality links, consider publishing an article online, giving a presentation at a local college to business students, or leading a discussion at meetings of regional business organizations. Ask the associated organizations to link to your business website.
5. Optimize your Title Tags with a Local Keyword
To improve the local ranking of specific pages, optimize the title tags with a local keyword. An example of a title tag can be – restaurant in Kolkata. This title tag signals search engines that the corresponding page is related directly to Kolkata. This page is more likely to appear in searches carried out from your geographic region as well as searches explicitly done for this local term.
6. Claim your GMB Profile and Optimize it
A simple way of improving local SEO is to claim your GMB (Google My Business) profile. Your GMB profile is a business listing which appears for local searches. To claim or set up a listing, your business should have a street address and a physical location. Optimize this profile with business hours, images, contact information, and category, to improve your local search considerably.
7. Make Local Business Profiles
Build your presence on your industry’s prominent review sites, such as Yellow Pages, Just Dial, Four Square, Hotfrog, Indiamart and other business listing sites in India. Every local profile created by you serves as another “platform” where local visitors land on. This is an amazing opportunity that lets you establish social proof and better your local SEO, which in turn, would drive visitors back to your site.
8. Tie your Business with a Geographic Area
Tie your business with the area you operate in by starting with Google Maps and finishing with local listings, citations, and your website. Without being spammy, convey to the search engines which area your business wants to dominate, as well as your full-service area. The job may not be simple, but would certainly work.
9. If you’re a Multi-Local Brand, Create Hyper-Localized Content
If you’re a multi-local brand, lay emphasis on generating hyper-local content. For many businesses, the location page content is same for all locations. Avoid this and create unique content for every location page. Instead of merely replacing the city name in the pages, conduct some research and generate content that’s engaging, relevant, and useful for every location’s neighborhood.
10. Be Authentic with your Business Details
Be completely authentic when you list your company on sites like Yelp, Bing, or Google. Fill in your business description and update regularly. Upload high-quality and current photos. Also, keep in mind that photographs that seem to be photoshopped can affect your SEO ranking adversely. When you find someone reviewing your business, whether negatively or positively, always respond with a proper, constructive feedback.
11. Don’t Ignore Small Tags
Small details are often overlooked while uploading an image or posting a blog; nevertheless, avoiding this makes all the difference. HTML elements like titles, meta description tags, and alt tags are as important as the content or image. These details appear in the search results, and so make sure the verbiage is relevant and concise to your local market.
12. Provide Google Virtual Tour
Google Virtual Tour is a new tool related to local SEO for businesses. Now you can include your business’s 3D photographic tour to its Google profile, which would appear when your business is searched on Google Maps. Search results that have photos have more chances of drawing interest. Moreover, the search algorithms of Google provide preferential treatment to profiles that have included this feature.
13. Focus on Reputation Management
Be proactive about your business’s online reputation management for improving your local SEO. You can use various tools to proactively garner, manage, and track reviews; however, your focus should be the reviews on your GMB page. Good reviews enhance your business visibility.
14. Manage Citations Efficiently
After claiming the Bing Places, Yelp, Google My Business, and other listings, business owners should claim their business with major Indian business directories like Just Dial, Indiamart, Sulekha, HotFrog and Express Business Directory. Ensure that your name, address and phone number (NAP) are correct. These serve as the chief data providers for a major section of business information available online. In case these data providers don’t have accurate information about your business, the incorrect information may reach other citations.
15. If you’re a B2B Marketer, Address Customer Needs
Most of the B2B buyers don’t search your service, product or brand. Such buyers use search phrases which are need- or problem-oriented. Ask your customer-facing coworkers about what are the most common information requests made or questions asked by customers. Identify about 3 to 5 chief customer pain points that your business helps to solve. Organize your content and navigation around those.
16. Optimize your Website
Use high-ranking and relevant keywords with your location names for optimizing your website content. This involves optimization of titles, URLs, image alt attributes, and meta descriptions with keywords and relevant location names.
17. Make the Physical Address of your Business Visible
If you wish local searchers to find your local business in Kolkata, it’s necessary for them to know where your business is located. So, it makes sense to clearly mention your business name as well as its exact address on your site. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising that how many businesses don’t do this. Let your address be completely local. This implies that your address should be very close to the location for which your business needs to have visibility in local search results.
18. Put your Location on Google Map
Put the location of your business on the map. Include a map in your website, on the ‘Contact’ page, with the help of Google Maps. This would enable visitors to instantly see the location of your business on the map. A new map can be created easily through Google My Maps.
19. Leverage Social Signals
Consider setting up automated daily social shares with the help of a Buffer subscription of $10. In case you don’t have any idea for content, simply share your reviews daily – one each day – linking back to your reviews page or website. No need to use every platform for sharing, but consider using the platforms Twitter, Facebook business page, and Google+ at least.
20. Schema Up your Website
Schema.org (also known as Schema) is a semantic tag vocabulary (or microdata). Adding the schema to your HTML improves the way your page is read by search engines and represented in SERPs. If your website uses WordPress, you can follow these tutorials on schema Markup: Advanced Schema Markup and Basic Schema Markup. Irrespective of Schema, include your NAP on each of your website pages, preferably in the footer.
While global SEO is always important, local SEO cannot be underrated, for it has its own unique advantages. Research shows that 50% of consumers that carry out a local search through their mobile phone visit a shop the same day. If your local business in Kolkata doesn’t have a high search engine ranking in your region, your physical store may lose out to competitors.
The local search optimization tips discussed above, when applied right, can immensely help your business rank higher locally. So, start implementing these tips today and watch your local ranking soar higher!
Reshma Banerjee is a Web Content Writer, currently associated with 1 Web Street. She has over 7 years of experience in online content writing covering a wide range of topics, from digital marketing to travel. When she is not working, she loves reading and admiring nature’s beauty.