The Challenge that is SEO

SEO FactorsLet's face it, SEO can be a beast to understand. If you are a small business owner or you work the marketing campaign for a larger company, you understand perfectly that SEO isn’t as straightforward as 1,2,3. But don’t worry - it’s not a completely scary concept to understand. There are some basic concepts to follow to achieve the top rank for local search. But before you can even move on to the techniques of a SEO campaign, you first need to understand the ranking factors that affect local SEO.

First things first, we need to figure out what affects your SEO. This will help you better develop techniques to fix any problem areas you might have to improve your search factor. And perhaps more importantly, with this background knowledge, you can better arm yourself against future issues.

1. The Big Picture

The biggest overall ranking factors are on-page signals and link signals. Your on-page signals contain your domain authority, keywords in titles, etc. The higher your domain authority, the better your site will rank. Target keywords in your titles have always been a big factor in rising the ranks of search. The better you learn to target keywords amongst your titles, the better your chances to be recognized by Google.

The second biggest overall factor is link signals. It’s important to build quality backlinks if you want to boost your local SEO. But here is where you need to be careful. You want link backs from authority sites that will increase your chances of getting a higher ranking. Be careful of suspicious sites, these will actually harm you in the long run. It’s more about quality than quantity. However, with that said, if you are receiving  quite a few link backs from mid-range to high authority sites, your chances of increasing your rank are very high.

2. Localized Organic Ranking Factors

The third most important ranking factor for local SEO is having your city and state in the landing page title of Google My Business. This page will allow you to write all kinds of information about your business in order to help Google better identity your business. Make sure you have a street address and not a PO Box. It is your physical address that will improve local SEO. Other localized ranking factors that are of importance are the click-through rate coming from search results and the relevance of keywords to the domain content.

3. Not So Good Ranking Factors

While there are many important ranking factors to consider for local SEO, there are some negative factors that can result in poor ranking for SEO. You need to understand what these factors are in order to correct and prevent them in the future. The biggest negative ranking factor to avoid at all costs is choosing an incorrect business category under Google My Business. For example, if you deal with medical insurance, but you list your business under “medical clinic” or “medical lab”, you could be harming your local SEO rankings.

Your business address and contact information are very important to Google as we briefly mentioned above. If Google senses a false business listing or an incorrect address, your rankings will fall significantly. Mismatched name, address, and phone information is another downfall. Read over your business listing carefully to make sure your contact information is listed correctly. If you are a small business owner in Seattle, your address should be based in Seattle with a correct physical address.

The takeaway is this: there are positive and negative ranking factors that can affect your local SEO. It’s important to be knowledgable of both in order to form the correct SEO strategy. You now know that your domain authority and building quality backlinks are top priority. You also need to double check your Google My Business listing to make sure everything is in proper order. If you don’t have a Google My Business page, it’s time to create one. In our next blog article, we will discuss how to rank your business with positive SEO practices and we will also take the time to delve into the Google My Business page. We will show you how to properly optimize for best ranking in search.