Local SEO is increasingly important to small businesses.  Most small businesses have very well defined and finite areas of service.  So it is important that they appear in search results relevant to these markets.

SEO is basically a giant spiderweb of relationship and relevancy equations.  There are a variety of factors that drive local SEO.  Some of these factors are driven by on page data and some of these factors are driven by external data.  According to research conducted by MOZ, there are 8 primary categories of factors that drive local SEO.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

Announcing the 2014 Local Search Ranking Factors Results: https://moz.com/blog/local-search-ranking-factors-2014

In the graphic above, you can see that only 35% (On-Page Signals and My Business Signals) of the local SEO score is derived from information directly on the page.  Everything else is coming from external sources.  NAP (Name, Address, Phone) directories, review sites, and Social Media make up another 30% (External Loc. Signals, Social Signals, Review Signals) of the SEO strength of a page.  This is an extremely over-looked segment of local SEO.

Directories (NAP) make up half of this influence and this is driven primarily by consistency between the NAP data found in the directories and the NAP data on the  page.  Making sure this data is synchronized has a dramatic impact on local SEO.  Consistency equates to accuracy and therefore relevance in the eyes of the search engine.

The directory sites may have started with simple NAP data.  But many of these directories have expanded well beyond simple contact information.  Many of these sites include website and social links as well as descriptions, hours of operation and other relevant data.  Ensuring consistency with this data is also important.

The problem comes from the sources of much of this data.  While there are 4 primary data providers, their source data is often outdated and inaccurate.  These inaccuracies translate to inaccuracies with many of the directory sites.  Moving to new locations, changing phone numbers, business sales or name changes; all of these things have the potential to create inaccuracies that can take months, even years to be fully realized out across the internet.

Managing the data at these primary providers is important and an easy way to clean these inaccuracies up over time.  But it  can be slow.  Many of the most popular directory sites also have mechanisms for claiming a listing and updating inaccurate information.  Making it easy to get this data updated.  But it can be a time consuming process.

The process of cleaning up a business’ identity does not need to become a full time task.  There are tools and services available to help improve the efficiency of monitoring and updating the data that is out there.

MS Digital Solutions can help you take control of your business’ identity.  For information about the tools and services available, please contact Matt Swanson (matt [@] msdigitalsolutions.com or call 260-223-9202.  For a free analysis of how your business appears to your customers online, register for a free Digital Footprint Analysis.

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