List of Top 10 SEO Ranking Factors for Your Chicago Business
Want to give your local Chicago business a boost? Make your pages rank and reach local customers with local search engine optimization (SEO).
This article talks about the top ten local SEO ranking factors:
- Customer behavioral signals
- Google Business Profile
- Google Business Profile categories
- Localized content
- Localized landing pages
- Online customer reviews
- Online directories and citations
- On-page ranking signals
- Searcher’s location
A Chicago local SEO agency optimizes websites using these ranking factors. Learn more about these in this guide. Let’s go!
Watch this video to learn about the Digital Authority Partners approach to local SEO!
Backlinks, or inbound links, are from other websites that point to your site. Google uses backlinks to determine a website's relevance, authority, and popularity. When a site has many high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites, it signals to search engines that it is a credible and valuable source. Consequently, search engines are more likely to rank the website higher.
Take note that some backlinks have higher quality than others. Search engines consider the quality and relevance of the linking website and the anchor text. Having too many low-quality or promotional material backlinks can harm a website's SEO.
Here are some SEO tips to increase Chicago business traffic and promote an effective backlink strategy:
- Build relationships with local businesses and organizations and see if they would like to link to your website.
- Participate in local events and sponsorships to acquire local press coverage and backlinks from event or sponsor pages.
- Create local content such as guides, news articles, or interviews with local experts. This can attract backlinks from other local websites and increase visibility.
- Use social media to engage with local audiences and promote your content to attract backlinks from local bloggers and influencers.
2. Customer Behavioral Signals
Customer behavioral signals are actions on a website, such as clicking, scrolling, or spending time on a page. These signals are ranking factors because they tell search engines how users interact with a website and its content.
Positive user engagement signals to search engines that the website provides value to its users. This can lead to higher rankings in search results for relevant queries. Negative user behaviors can signal to search engines that the website is not providing a good user experience and lead to lower rankings. Here are typical customer behavioral signals that are important for SEO:
- Click-through rate (CTR) - a percentage of users who click on a search result to visit a website. A high CTR indicates a website is relevant and valuable.
- Dwell time - the time users spend on a website or a page. A longer dwell time indicates that users find the content valuable and engaging.
- Bounce rate - the percentage of users who leave a website after visiting only one page. Getting a high bounce rate indicates that users did not find the content relevant or engaging.
3. Google Business Profile (GBP)
GBP is a free listing from Google that helps businesses appear on Google's search engine and other platforms, such as Google Maps and Google Local Pack. By creating and verifying a GBP listing, businesses can ensure accurate information about their business.
A business's or organization’s GBP is a ranking factor because it provides Google with valuable information about its location, services, and local reputation. By verifying and maintaining a GBP listing, businesses improve their chances of appearing in local search results and Google's Local Pack. Here are ways that companies can optimize their GBP listing:
- Claim and verify your listing. Once your listing is verified, you can add details and optimize it.
- Provide accurate and complete information, including your business name, address, phone number, website, and hours of operation.
- Add high-quality photos and videos that accurately represent your business.
- Encourage customer reviews. Respond to reviews promptly and professionally to build trust and credibility with potential customers. (More on customer reviews as a ranking factor later.)
- Use GBP features such as posts, Q&A, and messaging to engage with customers and provide more information about your business.
4. Google Business Profile Categories
GBP categories classify businesses and help Google better understand them. When you create a GBP listing, you can choose one primary category and up to nine additional categories that best describe your business.
Google uses these categories to display the business in relevant search results and thus impact local rankings. Therefore, choosing the most relevant categories for your business can improve your chances of appearing in local search results for relevant keywords.
A Chicago local SEO agency can help create and optimize your GBP profile and select the correct local business category. Here are that techniques experts use to categorize businesses in GBP:
- Start by searching for the primary category that best describes your local business, such as "dentist" or "dental clinic" for a local dental professional.
- Use subcategories to refine your search. Returning to our example: "pediatric dentist" or "children's dentist."
- Check Google's guidelines for categories to ensure you select categories that are allowed and relevant to your business. Violating Google's guidelines can result in your listing being penalized or removed.
- Use Google's category suggestions based on your business type and location.
5. Localized Content
Localized content refers to content that is specifically targeted to a particular geographic location or region. This can be blogs, emails, videos, or infographics with local keywords and mentions of area landmarks or events. Content in the local dialect or language is another example of localized content.
Websites with localized content help search engines, like Google, understand the relevance of their content to a particular city, town, or region. This also improves the chances of appearing in local search results. Follow these easy strategies to create localized content:
- Research local keywords relevant to your business and incorporate them into your content. For example, "Dentist in Chicago" or "Chicago dental clinic."
- Mention area or neighborhood landmarks and events to signal to Google that your content is relevant to a particular location.
- Use local dialect or language in your content to resonate with local audiences and improve visibility in local search results.
- Create location-specific pages for each location where your business operates.
6. Localized Landing Pages
Localized landing pages target users in a particular geographic location. These pages are optimized to include local keywords and specific information about the area. These landing pages improve visibility in local search results and attract customers in a particular place.
Having localized landing pages improves ranking because they promote relevance. Aside from content, localized pages have the business's contact details, a local map, photos and videos of the store or office, and other site features. Here are some SEO techniques to create localized pages that boost traffic:
- Include local information specific to the area, such as local events, weather, or news.
- Highlight local reviews and testimonials from area customers to help build trust and credibility with local audiences.
- Optimize for mobile devices as many users search for nearby businesses using their smartphones.
- Ensure that business contact information is consistent in all customer touchpoints, such as your web pages, GBP, blogs, online directories, social media sites, etc.
7. Online Customer Reviews
Online customer reviews help rank a local business by providing valuable information to search engines about the quality and credibility of the company. Google places a high value on user-generated content, and customer reviews are one of the most important forms of this type of content.
Customer reviews impact a business's search ranking in many ways. Positive customer reviews promote a business and are more likely to appear in local search results and on Google Maps. These reviews often include keywords relevant to a business's products or services, which can help improve its relevance to search queries.
In addition, Google prefers websites with fresh, regularly updated content, such as customer reviews. Encouraging customers to leave reviews builds your online reputation. Here are ways to do it:
- Ask for a review after a customer has purchased or used your services.
- Make it as easy as possible for them to leave reviews.
- Offer an incentive, such as a discount or a gift, to customers who leave reviews.
- Follow up if a customer is willing to leave a review.
- Respond to positive and negative reviews to indicate that you value customer feedback.
- Display reviews prominently on your website and social media profiles, which can encourage more customers to leave reviews.
8. Online Directories and Citations
Online directories are sites that list businesses and their contact information. Citations mention a business's name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites, even if no link exists. These local sites are ranking factors because they increase visibility in local search results and help potential customers find businesses.
Citations with consistent NAP information across the web signal to search engines that your business is legitimate and reliable. Additionally, some online directories allow companies to include links to their website, which can help with local link building and improve ranking. Here are techniques to optimize online directories and citations:
- Get listed in reputable online directories relevant to your industry and location.
- Ensure NAP information is consistent across all directories and citations.
- Include location-specific keywords in the business's listings and citations.
- Monitor for incorrect or inconsistent NAP information and update as needed.
- Consider partnering with other local businesses to build links and citations together.
9. On-Page Ranking Signals
On-page tracking signals are various elements on a web page that impact ranking. These signals are essential ranking factors, showing page content relevance and quality. Here are the most relevant on-page tracking signals:
- Title tags - an HTML element that concisely describes the content on a web page.
- Meta descriptions - a summary of the content on a web page that appears below the title tag in search results.
- Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) - HTML elements that indicate the hierarchical structure of the content on a page.
- Content quality - pages with high-quality, informative content are more likely to rank higher.
- Keyword optimization - relevant keywords in the content, title tags, and meta descriptions can help search engines understand the page and rank it accordingly.
- Page speed - pages that load quickly are more likely to rank well in search results because these provide a better user experience.
10. Searcher’s Location
When a user searches for a product or service, search engines show results that are geographically relevant to the user's location. Users are often looking for nearby businesses to meet their needs quickly and conveniently.
Local businesses near the user's location are more likely to appear in search results, which can increase their visibility and attract more customers. Optimize for the searcher's location using these tactics:
- Ensure that the NAP is accurate and consistent across all online directories and citations.
- Use location-specific keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions in the website content.
- Create location-specific landing pages on the website to target users in specific geographic areas.
Search engines, like Google, regularly update their ranking factors. Businesses can leave website ranking to experts by partnering with a Chicago local SEO agency. An experienced partner knows how local SEO promotes rankings and ensures that your local business gets the exposure it deserves. Contact Digital Authority Partners (DAP) today and start optimizing for local SEO.
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