How to get more prominent on Local Search
Prominence is one of the main local ranking factors. This article is to help you learn what you can do to overcome proximity, leverage relevance, and level up your local SEO skills to eventually master prominence and get better local rankings.
How to become more famous as a local business
Google has recently started to favor proximity (aka distance) and decrease the influence of the other two ranking factors, prominence, and relevance. Now, before everyone starts to bury their heads in the sand, there is hope: Becoming more famous in the local area by implementing some powerful local SEO strategies.
What is considered prominence in local search?
Before we can clarify what prominence means in local search it can help to throw an eye on the definition of the general term. Prominence is a synonym of celebrity, which “is a condition of fame and broad public recognition of an individual or group as a result of the attention given to them by mass media”.
If we apply that definition to the business world in general and local search in particular it means that our local business needs a certain amount of fame to keep its prominence high. I found the following factors most relevant to increasing local SEO prominence.
A prominent business relies on these six factors:
Prominence Ranking Factor Network
The quality and quantity of these six prominence factors are crucial to success in local search. These factors are normally found in the offline world but can be applied to an online environment as well.
Note: These factors should be seen as a network rather than isolated factors, as they often depend on each other. For instance, just because your reach increases, doesn’t mean your popularity will too.
How do I finally become more famous???
6 critical prominence key performance indicators
A citation is usually referred to as a NAP entry on directories, social media, and other sites across the web. NAP stands for name, address, phone number. The more NAP mentions a business has across the internet, the more reach it can gain, among other things. (quantity)
Google is constantly crawling the web for business information. The more consistent the business information in those citations, the easier it is for Google to assign the citation value to the specific business. (quality)
What to do?
Be sure to add your business to as many relevant business directories and sites as possible. However, you don’t need to add it to thousands of low-quality sites. A great way to build them is through the next indicator, branded searches.
2. Branded Searches
A branded search is a search query that includes the name of your brand or company. Usually, customers perform branded searches when they search for information about a business.
What does a branded search have to do with the prominence of your business? It’s simple, if the number of people that search for your specific brand online increases, that’s a sign to Google that your business is publicly accepted – since many people search for it.
What to do?
You can start collaborating with other local brands and become active in the online world. The reason why collaboration can be powerful is that you can influence part of their audience to check out your business as well. And the first thing they do when they notice your brand name is look you up on Google, which eventually increases the number of branded searches.
You can create guest posts, feature other businesses on your website, create interesting content on social media or your blog, and encourage people to share with others. Not to mention that you should aim to rank those blog posts.
Reviews help your company understand overall satisfaction in the first place, but it also mirrors your general reputation to Google. Google’s algorithm will then try to solve the following problem: Do the people around the business think of your business as a helpful, friendly, and efficient solution to their needs, or do they want to try their luck with the competition instead?
Great reviews can help make your business more credible to the outside world. But don’t worry, negative reviews are also considered social proof and contribute to your prominence as well. Even negative reviews could work in your favor, at least prominence-wise.
What to do?
Get more excellent reviews and remember, you need more than 30 5-star reviews to make up for one 1-star review. Meaning, the more 5-star reviews you can get the better. It will also increase the click-through rate of your Google Business Profile and other listings.
4. Word of Mouth
This one is simple, the majority of consumers believe recommendations from friends, colleagues, and family over other marketing channels. If you get a recommendation from a friend, you’re way more likely to buy a service or product than when you’re just seeing a Youtube advertisement for the tenth time.
When using the term “word-of-mouth” I’m referring to the business term “word-of-mouth marketing”. It refers to actions brands take to get customers talking about their products and services with other consumers.
What to do?
Start to connect with your customers. Having a million followers will not help you get ahead of the competition that is doing just the same as you do: Getting followers instead of engaging them. Try to figure out where your customers hang out on the internet and start communicating with them.
We’re lucky that we live in a world where almost everything has been researched by someone else. And so are the six key factors that drive what people talk about and share, researched by Jonah Berger. You can use them to boost your local word-of-mouth marketing.
Now you have a guide about what to work on to become most famous in your local area. Be sure to not neglect relevance as well – people who search for your products and services should still recognize your company as someone who offers a solution to their problem.
5. Brand Mentions
As stated a few lines above, Google is constantly crawling the web for information. It is not only crawling for links or NAP but also general mentions of brands or company names. The more brand mentions Google discovers from well-established sites the better.
Because usually what happens is when you get more and more brand mentions that you create more brand awareness and visibility and your overall popularity increases. When people recognize that, Google will recognize that too.
What to do?
Brand mentions aren’t really in a business’s direct control. It’s more of a side effect of word-of-mouth marketing and great push marketing like content marketing or social media advertising. The better your branding strategy the earlier you will see your brand mentions increase.
6. Link Building
Everyone knows that building backlinks is considered to be one of the most impactful ranking factors in the SEO world. However, most people don’t know why backlinks are important in the first place, they only know that they’re important.
A backlink is like a vote you get from someone. If you run for the presidency in your local bowling club you’ll need votes to become the famous person you want to be. The same concept applies to backlinks online. Your website needs votes to win the presidency, the number one ranking position on the search engine. Backlinks signal to Google that other websites recognize your content or business and therefore vote for you by linking back to your website.
The website is directly related to your Google Business Profile and can affect not only your local organic rankings but also the ranking position on Google Maps.
What to do?
There are countless ways to build backlinks. However, here are three link building ways that promise great results. (other than citation building)
a. Offer Guest Posting
Offer guest posting to local businesses around you. Every guest post has a link pointing back to your own site. This is considered a local link as it comes from an entity in your local area. Local links are important, as they signal to Google that your business is voted for by people in your neighborhood. Also, most of the local businesses don’t have many outgoing links, which makes the link in your guest post even stronger.
b. Broken Backlink Building
Broken backlink building. This is an old trick, but one that is still gold. You’d be surprised how easy that is. All you need to do is get a Screamingfrog subscription, crawl through some of the major news sites for relevant topics (relevant to your business), and export a list of their outbound links that lead to a 404 error.
Then you can go to expireddomains.com and see if the domain is available. If it is, buy it and redirect it to your desired page. Probably not 100% of the link juice will be passed, but certainly a good portion of it.
c. B2B Networking
Take advantage of your B2B network. Figure out if the local companies that you may have hired in the past list their clients (you) on their site as social proof. If they do, create a piece of content that fits their site’s needs, or if they don’t, offer them to create an extensive review and tell them that you’d appreciate a link pointing back to your site.
Local Prominence Conclusion
Now you know what to do to improve the local ranking factor “prominence” on local search. If you still think you need more business and feel a bit impatient when it comes to all the prominence optimizations, you can still open up new business locations in areas that aren’t yet penetrated enough by other similar businesses and assign them Google Business Profiles.
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