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What’s Important For Local Ranking in 2017?

With the amount of releases and algorithm updates from Google, you can bet that your marketing team or SEO analyst always has something to do in order to keep your site ranking. It’s important to note that while every single piece of online marketing is crucial, there is often one signal that will stand out above the rest. Every year, digital forums and companies like Moz release their take on what the top ranking factors are with regards to local search. These reports allow online marketers to adjust their approach, even if just the slightest bit, to help sites gain traction and overtake the competition. 

How Can My Business Be “Near Me?”

If you’re like the vast majority of “googlers,” then you’ve probably typed in “near me” when completing a search. For example, you’re really craving chinese food, so you type in “chinese food near me,” and then pick the first one because, well, it’s the closest! One of the top things online marketers are attempting to do today is figure out how to convince Google that your site is better than your competitors and should be ranked first. So, how do you do it?

Local Ranking Factors in 2017

You’ll Rank High, If You’re Close By

This year’s number 1 ranking factor for local search was none other than PROXIMITY.  While it seems like a no-brainer, SEO analysts found that Google really does pick up on how close you are to a business. If you were to search “OBGYN” at this moment, there’s a high chance that you’ll find the nearest OBGYN practice to you, regardless of if they have a website or not. If you’re a medical or dental practice, it’s important to make sure that your Google My Business listing is in tip-top shape, since you could be the first one that people in a 20+ mile radius around you may find.

What should you do?

  • Make sure you have your address and city within the listing
  • Have dominant photos of your practice
  • Have a consistent name (same as what’s on your site and other listings)
  • Make sure your categories are relevant
  • Fill out all information areas (hours, website, etc.)

But, that doesn’t mean you should pay any less attention to your site…

Don’t Give Up On Your Organic Ranking

So, you’re telling me that another business can literally do nothing and still beat me?  

Could they remain above you in a local pack (which is the top 3 listings you’ll see under a Google Map on your search)? Possibly. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to convert into a great customer for that practice. As the internet becomes smarter, so does your average searcher. Even if that company has a high ranking Google My Business listing, a searcher will want to see a great website, a quick contact source, and reviews in order for them to make a decision. Focus on making sure your presence is strong. As with any part of online marketing, you cannot rely on just one thing to attract searchers. 

Your Domain Holds A Ton of Power

One of the ranking factors that has held consistent over the years is the fact that your domain will hold a great deal of power. In addition to it being a front-facing part of your brand, it’s also the nucleus of your links, and can result in a disaster if spelled wrong or not directed properly. 

Keep Your Inbound Links Plentiful and Diverse

If you’ve got a great online marketer working for you, there’s probably a huge focus on gaining links back to your site–as there should be. Both the quantity and quality of inbound links are shown to be in the top five ranking factors. However, this doesn’t mean you should go into unethical, black-hat link building, or you’ll destroy your current presence. Focus on getting all of your listings claimed, even the minor ones (think diversity in your link building!) and look for sites that may have mentioned you at some point. It can’t hurt to ask, and you just might get a link out of it!

If You’re Not Mobile You’re Losing Traction

I cannot stress this enough: if your site is not responsive/mobile-friendly, you are losing traffic as we speak. Not only is this terrible in the eyes of Google, it’s even worse in the eyes of your searchers, and i mean that literally. Think about how many times you’ve had to pinch and zoom on a website. The more annoying your website is to look at on mobile, the quicker a user will jump off of your site. Do yourself a favor and contact Practis to get your site in order!

Overall, 2017 is going to be a tough year to fight the competition, but there are guidelines that will help you reach the top. Search Engine Optimization is a process, not a product, and should be treated as such. Get with a reputable marketing firm today and discuss how you can take steps to really make your online presence grow. Don’t let it sit or you could miss out on easy business coming your way.

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