WordPress Local Vid Pro: How To Optimize Your Site (And Citations) To Rank Higher In Google Maps/Localized Results
Ready to rank high in local search results and Google Maps?
We are going to follow Google’s local search ranking factors which Moz reports every 2 years. I broke these down on and off. Citations (online directories such as Yelp, Superpages, and Axciom) are about 25% of Local Vid Pro, so it wouldn’t be fair to leave these out.
This guide assumes you’re using the Yoast SEO Plugin. I suggest installing it configuring my Yoast settings that are recommended if you don’t have Yoast. Additionally, it assumes you have a physical address in your city that is targeted which is not mandatory, but is the #1 factor in Maps.
1. Local Search Ranking Factors
Here are Google’s 2017 local ranking things. The main variables are Google My Business, citations (directories), testimonials, geo-targeted pages, mobile optimization, and of course — links.
These are from 2015’s local search ranking factors, but the majority of them haven’t changed…
Google your primary local keywords and see which results you would like to target…
2. Localized Keywords
I have a separate tutorial on picking Yoast focus keywords optimization that is light but I will discuss this briefly.
To find even more keywords, try using different variations of the keyword, like plurals…
Use different word ordering for even more ideas…
Word Ordering Keywords
Same thing with web design… you can target both Chicago Web Design and Chicago WordPress Design that both show up in Autocomplete. For dentists, you may have Chicago Dentist, Chicago Dental Implants, Chicago Emergency Dentist, etc.. Relying on 1 single key word for ALL your visitors is never a great idea.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Use Moz Keyword Explorer to be sure you’re not missing keywords. This is similar to Google Keyword Planner only it’s completely free (you don’t need to sign up for AdWords), and you can group related keywords so you are not browsing through the exact same ones.
Moz Keyword Explorer
You should see a wonderful list of keywords as well as the quantity (monthly searches). Note phrases you DIDN’T find in Autocomplete.
You can use the MozBar Chrome Extension to Google any key word and learn it is competition. The higher the PA (page authority) and DA (domain authority), the higher the competition and the more effort required to rank for it. Try to stay within your own DA range.
3. Blog Post Keywords
Blog posts usually draw the most links to your site (a massive ranking factor) since people naturally link to USEFUL content (not promotional service pages) that benefit the rankings of your entire WordPress site. Just like we researched keywords for pages, find as many informationalblog keywords as you can, then write a post for each topic.
4. Geo-Targeted Pages
Create a page for each keyword — target your primary key words in your homepage, and then create another page for Chicago Indian Wedding Photographer and other specific services. Average Price Of Wedding Photographer are a good article on your site.
Optimize content with Yoast — you can get green lights all you want, but designing a pleasant (ideally lengthy) page with amazing photos, testimonials, video and other useful content — is the center of content optimization. So even if that specific light is not green (eg. Keyword density), you can dismiss it provided that a version is present. Synonyms are encouraged.
Yoast Content Analysis
Presence of NAP — each location page should have telephone, address, and your business name . If you only have 1 place you may add this in a footer widget or your copyright area at the very bottom of your website (like I do) so it is present on each page. For several locations you need to add it somewhere in the content body.
Permalinks — use permalinks with your keyword in it.
Keyword Density — include your key word in the first couple sentences and a few times in your content body (obviously ). Sprinkle LSI key words (synonyms) on your content instead of using the same keyword repeatedly. These can be keywords you want to rank for.
Alt Text — tag your pictures before uploading them to WordPress since the visual editor automatically uses the image file name as the alt text. This should simply describe the picture — don’t stuff keywords. Images in widgets and page builders may not do this check the HTML:
Internal / External Links — Google follows links on your own webpage to learn what your content is about. The important thing is linking to useful content your visitors will actually find helpful (such as a blog tutorial). Interlinking blog articles/pages is also a natural way to build links to your own site but outbound links are good too since it’s kind of like mentioning sources to Google. Finally, always use descriptive link text (called anchor text)… never use words such as”click here.”
SEO Title — use a modifier to spice up your headline so more people click your link in search results…”Award Winning Chicago Wedding Photographer — Tom Dupuis” is a good example. Also make sure your SEO title has a decent length (the pubs in Yoast should be green).
Meta Description — the goal of the meta description to lure people to click on your connection. This and the SEO title are the first thing people see in search results spend time. It should include your Yoast focus key word, plus a keyword that is secondary if you have one.
Post Long Content — Google measures”average time on page” that is why videos and other engaging content is crucial. Long, organized content ranks higher than short content.
Social Media Optimization — this ensures that your page will display a image that is properly formatted when shared on Twitter and Facebook. Click the”share” link in Yoast and upload custom images where it tells you to. If you don’t see the tabs, then check your Yoast social settings to enable Facebook and Twitter meta info. Yes, this means you need to design 2 different pictures for Facebook (1200 x 630px) and Twitter (1024 x 512px). I leave the fields blank that let you write a custom headline and description when it is shared on Facebook/Twitter.
Rich Snippets — create by adding snippets that are abundant to your articles, your snippets stand out. I use the premium WP Rich Snippets plugin that supports all rich snippet types except for events (use All In One Schema.org) and videos (use Schema plugin. WP Rich Snippets looks way better and has more choices , and they have if you’re performing any type of snippets. Here is my WP Rich Snippets review that’s definitely worth the money if you have.
5. Google My Business
Google My Business is your most important directory (citation) since these are the real listings in Google Maps. You need 1 page per location and also to delete any duplicate listings.
Create Your Page — create a Google My Business Page if you do not have one. To check for duplicate pages (you should do this anyway) follow the “search / destroy” section below.
Destroy Duplicates — duplicates can penalize your page. Proceed to Google Map Maker and search that location’s phone number. If you see pages report ALL pages. Each dentist should NOT have their own Google My Business page In case you have an office full of dentists or it will cause duplicates. For those who have multiple locations then search / destroy duplicates so you only have 1 page per location. You can also click”delete this” (see below) if the place doesn’t exist. Be sure that you send Google a comment of why you want the page taken down (it’s a copy ), your right Google My Business URL, and proof you’re affiliated with the business (include @yourdomain email) on your comment to them.
Report Duplicate Goolge My Business Page
Make Your Profile 100% Complete And Consistent — visit your My Business login –> manage location –> edit profile and fill out everything. Taking professional photographs and using consistent information as listed on your website is super important. “Citation consistency” is the #2 ranking factor in Maps.
- For many locations, list the location page (website.com/locations/chicago)
- Upload team photographs, and all photos including identity, interior, exterior, at work
- List ALL categories that are relevant along with your category listed
- Write a unique 250+ word introduction, preferably 400 words
- List your website’s www version
- Verify your page
- Set a custom URL
- Get a 360° virtual tour from a Googled favorite vendor (optional but helps)
- Talk for help to a Google specialist
Orders And Appointments — make appointments or allow customers to place orders. You will need to be using a third-party booking and ordering service, like seamless.com. Then fill out this form and let Google know about it.
6. Moz Local
Since citations are 25% of Local Vid Pro, this measure will allow you to make and fix your top 15 citations. Just like you did with Google My Business you will make sure profiles are 100% complete, copies are deleted, and ensure consistent information is present. Run your site + zip code through Moz Local and look under”choose the most accurate listing.” Yes, you’ll need each profile’s login info.
Moz Local Profiles
Correct Incomplete, Inconsistent, Duplicate Citations
Once you click your record you will see inconsistent, incomplete, and replicate tabs. Go through each one and resolve all items. Profiles are fixed by uploading more photos or adding categories. Inconsistencies can be as simple as correcting the www website version or using”st” rather than”road” in the address. By deleting them duplicates are fixed. Moz Local includes links to your profiles which makes it simple to repair, delete, and report profiles.
Sometimes you will only have 1-2 categories (eg. Photographer + wedding photographer) so it’s not always possible to get your profiles 100% complete. Just do whatever you can.
Chicago Wedding Photographer) the more citations you should build.
Whitespark has lists of top citations by class, country, and city, or use their citation building service. Google’Whitespark Canada’ and you will see they have over 120 reviews using a 4.9 star rating. I’ve invested over $2,000 in their citation construction service and have jumped from #8 to #3 in Google Maps. Read my Whitespark citation building review to learn the procedure, but you basically fill out an intake wait 2-3 weeks for them to send a report of the citation URLs and 1 universal login.
Free citations can cause phone calls and sometimes spam emails. Rankings improve, but it is a tradeoff. Here’s a response I got from Darren Shaw, owner of Whitespark:
@TheDupMan When citations are built by you, you’re going to get sales emails and calls. No way around it.
8. Mobile Responsiveness
The best way to test for mobile errors is to set up Google Search Console and use the usability section. This checks for ALL errors on your WordPress site (instead of just 1 page) which is just what Google’s mobile testing tool does. If you’re using a WordPress theme that is responsive you can still have errors that are mobile! So it’s certainly a good idea.
9. Mobile Speed Optimization
Most companies doing Local Vid Pro have a good quantity of cellular visitors (you can check in Google Analytics beneath Audience –> Mobile –> Overview). When you haven’t read my W3 Total Cache tutorial that shows you how to configure MaxCDN, Cloudflare, and the performance tabs, I would start with that. Then you can optimize images and make other optimizations. This helps you fix things in your GTmetrix report (the speed testing tool I recommend using) and improves page load times for both desktop and mobile.
To make your WordPress site load quicker especially on mobile, you can use AMP pages (accelerated mobile pages) using the AMP plugin and Paste for Yoast SEO & AMP. You can read Yoast’s AMP tutorial but this will basically add an”AMP” sign to your mobile search results…
Hosting is the #1 factor in the official WordPress optimization guide. SiteGround was the #1 WordPress server in a popular Facebook poll taken from the official WordPress Hosting Facebook Group (they were #1 in last year’s poll also ) and got me