What are the 3 most important factors in real estate?
If you ask the cast of Million Dollar Listings New York (please tell me they’re filming another episode soon!), then I’m sure they would all agree the answer is location, location, and location. Every real estate agent knows that location is far and away the biggest selling point for a home. A crappy studio apartment in Chelsea can sell for more than a fully renovated 2-bedroom in Harlem.
And if you own a business that depends on local customers, then you know location is also a critical factor. Clearly, businesses near Super Bowl Boulevard are going to attract more customers simply because of their proximity to the Super Bowl festivities this weekend.
The same is even true with local SEO. A business located near the industry hub within a city has a greater likelihood of ranking high in the local Google results (aka the Google+ Local results). This is known as the “centroid bias.” So if your office or store is located too far away from where Google thinks is the hub of your industry, then you’re going to have a harder time ranking in the local results.
Location Is Not Enough
Take a minute and re-read what I just said above about the centroid bias. It’s a bit technical so make sure you fully understand it before moving on.
Now blink your eyes twice.
OK, the online marketing landscape has just changed in the time it took you to read this far! I know, it’s frustrating. As soon as you think you’ve figured it all out, Google goes and changes everything!
Location is not enough to rank high in the local results. Sorry, it’s going to take a little bit more work.
The 3 C’s of Local Search Engine Optimization
Google changed the rules of local SEO when they decided to migrate Google Places to their social media platform, Google+. Google Places was fairly straight forward because there simply wasn’t much you could do. It was a static business page with contact information and customer reviews.
Now, take a look at the new Google+ Local pages and you’ll see text updates, pictures, videos, reviews, and even conversations between the business and their customers and prospects. The businesses ranking and getting the most out of their local SEO investments use what I call the 3 C’s:
Citations are mentions of your name, address, and phone number on other websites. Citations have always been important for local SEO because search engines use them to verify the accuracy of your business information. Generally speaking, the more citations you can get for your business, then higher you’ll rank in Google because Google will have more confidence in the accuracy of your business information.
As I mentioned above, Google Places was migrated over to be part of Google’s social media platform, Google+. Google is still ironing out all the kinks of this overhaul, but we can see that local SEO is clearly merging with social media. Community is now a factor in how your business is going to rank in the local results.
By community, I mean your Google+ Local followers, shares, +1’s, and reviews. The stronger the community, and the more activity on your business page, the better.
The new kid on the local SEO block is content. This is good news to anyone already using content marketing for non-local search engine optimization. For traditional, non-local SEO, content has always been king. Now it’s even a factor in your local SEO rankings. Great content will get you more high quality links from other websites, it’ll help you build community on your Google+ Local page, and it’ll improve your Author Rank. All of this will in turn help you rank higher in the local results.
Coming Soon: Intro to Local SEO
In a couple weeks, I’ll be presenting a live online training called: “The Local SEO Formula.”
During this training, I’ll walk you through the exact process we take to help our clients reach the first page of Google’s local search results.