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Recent Survey Reveals the Top 3 Local Search Ranking Factors Your SMB Needs to Thrive

local search ranking factors

As the digital marketplace becomes an increasingly competitive space, it is difficult for many startups and SMBs to determine the best strategies to attract new customers and boost growth opportunities. Fortunately, the recent results from Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors survey delivered important data revealing which online marketing elements currently impact search results most heavily. Moz’s study, based on input from experts in the SEO and marketing communities, determined that the three resources below may be the most effective ways for businesses to generate higher rankings and outperform the competition.

1. Harness the Power of Google My Business

Moz’s survey results, based on feedback from a wide range of industry-leading SEO professionals, determined that Google’s My Business (GMB) now reigns supreme as the number one factor driving local search results. In fact, according to Moz’s results, GMB signals constitute over 25 percent of the local pack/finder pie chart from this study. This data represents a rapid rise in GMB’s popularity when compared to the 2017 results.

All indicators point to the fact that Google continues heavy investment in the future of GMB through the addition of features including:

  • A question and answer section
  • Google posts which offer the ability to embed photos and video
  • A wide range of flexible messaging functions
  • Website builder programs and much more

Since many SMBs have yet to capitalize on the plethora of advantages GMB offers, now is the right time for your startup to get ahead of the competition and craft a plan to incorporate this valuable tool into future marketing strategies. At a minimum, be sure to take full advantage of GMB’s features by:

  • Hosting relevant information for potential customers in your Q&A section
  • Routinely posting fresh content and engaging with clients
  • Embedding photos and video files in your content
  • Ensuring your GMB profile includes your phone number, address and hours of operation

2. Invest Time Into Soliciting and Featuring Customer Reviews

Reviews are another powerful factor which weigh heavily on local search results. Reviews help SMBs build, enhance and manage a business’s reputation by featuring customer comments concerning multiple aspects including:

  • Quality of goods and services offered
  • Timeliness of delivery
  • Friendliness of staff members
  • Price compared to value and much more

To maximize the search ranking potential of reviews and help drive conversions, businesses must make a habit of soliciting feedback from customers. By directly seeking feedback, startups take advantage of the opportunity to address unhappy customers’ concerns before they leave a negative review. Additionally, conversing with customers and asking for feedback offers the chance to help shape review content by encouraging the use of specific keywords and phrasing which have SEO value. Take full advantage of these reviews by ensuring customers post them to Google and then be sure to feature them on your social media pages including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more.

3. Incorporate a Link Building Strategy

In addition to capitalizing on GMB’s tools and investing time in soliciting and managing customer reviews, another strategy that Moz’s 2018 survey discovered yields higher search results is link building. Despite its endurance as a viable strategy to drive better search results, many businesses continue to struggle with building links due to lack of technical expertise. However, when link building is done right and includes local news, community events and related blogs, it can provide a wide range of benefits such as:

  • Boosting traffic to your website
  • Generating lucrative opportunities from new leads
  • Driving new customers to your landing pages

Incorporate SEO Best Practices to Drive Your 2019 Marketing Campaign

With 2018 drawing toward a close, now is the ideal time for small to medium-sized businesses and startups to plan strategies to take advantage of growth opportunities in 2019. Although the SEO landscape is ever-shifting, the three resources and strategies outlined above show exceptional promise to help drive exciting new growth opportunities. Take some time to consider how your startup can make the best use of your resources to drive maximum results and help outperform the competition in the new year.

Shawn Stalter

Posted on 27th November, 2018 by Shawn Stalter

About Shawn Stalter

Shawn Stalter is a Dallas-based content writer and retired military intelligence officer.

View all posts by Shawn Stalter