Question: How Do You Improve Local Search Rankings?

Answer: Proximity, prominence and relevance. 

The process to improve local search rankings begins with three pillars. proximity, prominence, and relevance 

​SEO, search engine optimization is a process of making your website more attractive to Google and other search engines. If you are like many small businesses, ranking nationally against larger firms is not possible.  You can however increase visibility in local organic search engine results.

The goal of local SEO is to convince search engines that your business should be prominent in their results as a relevant answer to online searchers in close proximity to each business location.

Proximity – Lots of people thing that talking about proximity with relationship to SEO refers to how far away the business is from the searcher’s location  (that is important) but it also refers to the distance between the individual keywords that make up a search.

So for example a heating company might be trying to rank for a phrase Boston Furnace Repair.  If the opening sentence on the page is he page title is: Your Boston source for installation, repair and maintenance of gas, oil and electric furnaces.

All the words are there, but they are separated by too many other words.  The search term proximity between “repair” and “Boston” is three words, between “Boston” and “furnaces is eleven five words.

The smaller the distance between a search term’s individual keywords, the more relevant it will be from a search engine‘s point of view. By trying to cram everything into one sentence you miss a chance to be relevant for anything

Prominence – this refers to where your keywords or phrases are placed on a web page.  Prominent placement may be in the page header, subtitles, meta tags, opening paragraph, start of a sentence or title of an image on a page.  So if you serve multiple communities you will want to prominently list them on a service area page, and perhaps create unique pages which talk about each of the market areas.  (Note, I said unique pages, not the same page copied over and over.)

Relevance –  This refers to how important the keywords or phrases are to a specific page on your website.  Search engines use relevancy to figure out what a page is about, and that is in part what they will use to determine what keywords you will rank for when doing a search.

Frequency of a particular word will contribute to the relevancy score, but so do related terms.  As you talk about your geographical area, consider variations, such as Indianapolis and surrounding counties, central Indiana or listing each county by name. Those related terms establish your relevance for the service area. 

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