Pigeons Always Return Home: Top 5 Ranking Factors For Local SEO

Pigeons Always Return Home: Top 5 Ranking Factors For Local SEO

Local SEO | BlueprintEver wondered what is local SEO is and which websites it applies to? Just like national SEO, search engine optimization for local businesses require on-page optimization, links, social media and other marketing strategies. The only additional factor that local SEO adds to this list is the geographic location of the business, such as the physical address of a company.

Over the past few years, small businesses’ websites suffered greatly when competing for high-end keywords with large brands. Over time, webmasters either focused on national keywords instead of keywords that would actually bring conversion or did local SEO improperly. Many web owners were greedy enough to aim for local rankings for locations in places where they were not in business, leaving search results up to the search engines decide the fate of their sites and SEO efforts.

How to Rank For Local SEO?

On-page Optimization

  • Use Google’s keyword planner to search for keywords and their monthly volume for title tags, h1s, meta descriptions and content. Choose wisely because keywords make or break website traffic and conversions.
  • Not all high volume keywords are winners: There are a lot of general keywords that look promising, but very hard to rank for. No matter how high the volume of a keyword might be, a geographic location is one of the most important things to consider, especially for businesses with physical locations. See the below example:

Search Rankings Local Seo Blueprint

  • From the above example, even though the keyword “chiropractor,” has a high volume, it is still better to use “Atlanta chiropractor” or “chiropractor in Atlanta” for a local chiropractor to drive local traffic to the site and eventually the clinic.
  • Simply adding “Atlanta” to the keyword will help you avoid bounce rates from people looking for general information about chiropractors or chiropractic care.
  • Dream high. Some of the high volume keywords are hard to rank for, but it doesn’t mean they are off-limits. These keywords are ideal to be used in other marketing tactics including social, blog posts and content. Using the top example, the keyword “chiropractor” is not good for on-page optimization, but will be great keyword for content or an informative topic for a blog post.

Join Directories

Create and claim a local profile on Google and other local listings. Apart from joining directories for back links, it is important to build connections to other local business sites in your area or websites within your industry. Local directories will help search engines associate your website with the location of the business.

Always start with major directories like Yelp, Google Places, Foursquare and many others, and then join local citations in your area and those that relate to your industry. Yext is a very helpful source when it comes to discovering directories that your website joined and directories you should join next.

How to Join Directories Effectively

  • Use the Same Name, Address and Phone number (NAP): Be consistent when presenting your website or brand online to increase user experience. Don’t forget to update your NAP whenever you move of change phone numbers
  • If you have different NAP for each citation, search engines will blindly select any information available which may, or may not be the correct contact information.
  • Always keep records on the directories you joined as well as their logins and passwords used
  • Join directories that you can include a link to your website, so they can also act as a back
  • Changing wrong or misspelled business names, phone numbers and addresses in different directories is hard and time consuming, so make sure you get it right the first time!
  • Don’t trick Google! They can tell that the address you are using is a residential home and not the actual business.


The number of reviews  from your clients will boost your local SEO rankings. Reviews show that your site and business is legitimate, thus the search engines may award you with good rankings.

Getting reviews is not as easy as it sounds. It is important to keep in mind that most people a less likely to leave a review on your website for nothing in return unless they are extremely satisfied or unsatisfied with your services.

How to get Reviews?


You can offer a service, discount on your services, gift card, or anything to appreciate the time your customers use to write a review.

Make it easy

The best way of getting review is to have your clients write reviews during their visits. Give them clear information on how to review your business and reward they could get after reviewing.

Increase Visibility to your Site

Create Social Profiles

The NAP listed in social profiles will improve the local citation of a site. As long as the NAP is the same everywhere, your website will rank for the location you are going after.
Tip: Use the same NAP and remember to update social posts regularly.

Blog Posts

Create optimized blog posts regularly in order to increase local visibility. Blog posts will help you explore other keywords that you were not able to use on your landing pages.

Invest in a Mobile Site

Due to Google’s new Pigeon algorithm and the fact that most people use smart phones and tablets to search for different things, it is crucial to have your website optimized for mobile use.

You will have an advantage when people search for your services while they are in, or close to your location. For example, there is a big chance of a person looking for restaurants while using their iPhones in your area and see your site first just because they are searching for restaurants near them.

It is easy to rank for local SEO for businesses that include physical locations on their websites. The Take away point is that search engines update their algorithms in order to improve user experience. Therefore, focus more on improving user experience than only rankings and you will not suffer any penalties.

By: Naima
  • Elizabeth Weaver

    Awesome article, Naima! I completely agree with your point about businesses optimizing their sites for mobile. So much of local search is done on the go, making this component critical. Great job 🙂

  • LilitM

    Does local SEO apply to the enterprises of any size? If so, how should NAP be used for different locations of one company?

  • Joshua Bains

    Getting into the readers heads is key, which is why getting a review is hard if you don’t find out what busy people want in return. It’s interesting that brand loyalty doesn’t translate to our leaving reviews – at least with big brands. I think it’s more likely that people offer reviews to smaller stores, because of a sense of responsibility and a relationship. But, when a brand gets quite big, it’s difficult to feel that your review is making any difference to the brand.

  • Chuniq Inpower

    Reviews are tricky… as its often difficult to get users to naturally share experiences that are positive; its a known trend to only share reviews when service is poor. If companies can find honest and ethical ways to collect reviews, this can not only help SEO, but also guide purchasing decision in their direction.

  • Rebekah Faucette

    Great blog Naima! Optimized blog posts are an amazing way to not just boost keywords, but also integrate the company further into a community. If a business writes on local events or trends, it will appeal to a regional audience and encourage a hometown loyalty that often equals more customers returning.

  • John

    The tips here are very helpful in understanding how local SEO is accomplished, not just learning what it is. Awesome work!

  • Caroline Ripa

    Great article! This gives out a lot of great tips to help businesses with SEO work. I like the part about reviews, and I agree completely. As a consumer myself, I always look at reviews on a website to make sure they are legit. I will look at another competitors website if the one I am on currently does not have any reviews.

  • Adam Baxter

    Reviews are always going to be difficult and somewhat risky, but are clearly the best way to establish trust with your target audience. Unfortunately, I feel as though one bad review counts for five good ones! Alright maybe its not that bad, but its certainly a buzzkill for any business owner.

  • Samantha Torres

    Not only do businesses need to optimize their site for mobile users just for the user experience, they also need to do so for Google’s latest updates. The search giant recently added a new feature in mobile search that will point out “mobile-friendly” sites to their customers. With this, mobile load speed and experience will only climb as its importance in ranking factors.

  • Alfredo J. Rodriguez

    Keyphrase strategy is one of the bastions of SEO and so hard to do on your own. It takes sweat, trial, lots of errors, and probably a good amount of tears. But as with all things SEO the best KP strategy is about being realistic about what you can ‘win’, then shooting for the stars for certain terms. Thanks for writing this realistic and informative guide, Naima!

  • Informative! Really informative~!