Where your office physically exists is one of the most important factors influencing your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.
We would all love to rank in the top of the search results no matter where people search from. The reality, though, is that locality is and should be the focus of how search results are displayed. Optimizing for “local search” is the focus of this blog post.
A Brief History of Local Search
Back in 2016 and again in 2019, Google released updates to its search algorithm. With these updates, Google decided that one of the most important factors in ranking was the location of a business and the location of where a search originated from, meaning the searcher’s physical location.
The reasoning is simple. The majority of searches are some variation of “service + city” or “service + near me” and Google is always trying to deliver the best possible results for search queries.
Optimize for Your Location
Two people searching for the same thing but standing a mile apart may get two completely different sets of results.
Consequently, it is imperative that you optimize for the community in which your business is physically located. When creating content for your website, make the city or town the focus. By all means, include neighborhoods around you, but the further out you go, the more difficult it will be to rank well in search results.
Relevant Information is Crucial
With location being so important, the information posted about your business online must be thorough and accurate.
As more and more directory listing websites have come into the mainstream, they’ve provided additional signals to Google about where your office is located.
Unfortunately, many of these sites pull from other sources so if the information is inaccurate on 1 directory, chances are, it’s off on others as well. If Google can’t locate your correct address and other business information, your overall presence may be penalized, meaning your visibility in relevant search results could decrease. To summarize, making sure that your directory listings are correct will help you with local search results.
The Role Played by Directory Listings
Speaking of directory listings, one of the most important aspects of your local search rankings is your Google My Business profile. This profile literally tells Google exactly what your business does and where you do it.
When it comes to local SEO this is obviously incredibly important. The information included within Google My Business is the #1 ranking factor for determining how your business appears on search engine results pages that feature a map (also known as map pack or snack pack).
The most important step is to make sure that you have claimed and verified your Google My Business profile and all of your core business information is correct. The more information you can add about your business, the better chance you give yourself to rank in the map pack.
SEO is ever-changing as search engines try to deliver the best possible results to their customers. However, one static factor is your practice’s physical location and the prospective patients looking for it. Making it easy for the search engines to understand your location and target audience is a necessary step for maximizing your visibility on results pages!
—Phil Horton, Sr. Search Manager, Sesame Communications