“Does social media make an impact on local search?” // “Does NOT doing social media HURT my local rankings?””
Google won’t give you a precise yes or no answer to this question but there have been many tests run that show that maintaining active social media accounts can have a positive impact on your organic local rankings.
Social Media Profiles for Businesses Can Have a Positive Impact on Local Search Rankings
Social sharing does not equate with increased local rankings, but having a solid social media strategy can and will help your overall brand visibility in the following ways.
Increased Image Visibility via Geotagging
When you geotag a photo you add the EXACT geolocation that the photo was taken. Google can interpret that and include your images for local searches in that area. Most commonly used on Instagram, geotagging permits users to tag the exact location of your business while mentioning it in a post.
The result? Prospective clients who, now in one in-app click, can visit your profile and view your location in one swoop. This works to generate local visibility.
‘Hacking’ Local YouTube Searches
Another method of utilizing geotagging for local search? Geotagging your business’s videos on YouTube.
YouTube is beneficial for bolstering local SEO for myriad reasons:
- As mentioned above, geotagging: by both inputting the full name of your business and implementing geotagging, it is eligible for local in-app and Google findability
- Keywords: optimize your YouTube channel’s descriptions, keyword fields, titles, and captions for SEO in order to unlock the ranking potential of video
- Link your videos to your Google Places listing: for added visibility, YouTube videos are easily shared to Google Places where they can be re-shared to further local visibility
Google My Business IS a Social Media Platform
While you’re more likely to think of Google Places/ Google My Business (same thing) as a map listing, you can also use your listings to post updates and new the same as you would on Facebook. Google My Business is an invaluable tool for business owners: as one of the most efficient ways to rank on Google Maps, which is integral to local search, a Google My Business listing has only grown in importance over the years.
Make sure you have your listing verified and then hop into the “Posts” section to post your latest news and updates.
Pro tip: Use the “COVID Updates” post to get prominent visibility of key business updates directly on your Google Maps listing.
What else should you be optimizing in Google Places to help with local search?
- Ensure that your NAP (name, address, phone number) uses a phone number local to your business
- Categorize your listing
- Collect photos and reviews
- Fill out all available descriptions and keep them updated
More About NAP...
Because a business’s name, address, and phone number (commonly shortened to “NAP”) makes up one of the many local search ranking factors, social media provides an opportunity to streamline it across multiple platforms.
Pro tip: while having your NAP be consistent across each of your business’s websites, social media profiles, and listings will prove to be an algorithmic benefit, the opposite occurs when they are not consistent. Triple-check that each of your platforms displays the exact same NAP!
Local Search Doesn’t Stop at Social Media
As of 2021, the following are some of the non-negotiable factors of ranking locally (that have nothing to do with social media!)
Localizing one’s content across both on-page and behind the scenes is crucial for localizing search results and upping local click-through rates.
What are examples of localized content?
- Orbiting keyword research around local search queries (such as “digital marketing (New York)” vs. simply “digital marketing”)
- Using localized search queries as keywords in meta descriptions, titles, sub-headers, and image alt text
- Pairing localized search queries with local anchor text in your written content
- Writing content about local news, events, or organizations
All of the above, however, needs to be combined with sufficient…
One of Google’s leading ranking factors, local or otherwise? Site speed and responsiveness.
Specifically, more than half of reported users “abandon” a mobile page if it takes over 3 seconds to load.
Maximize Your Local SEO (Without Hurtling Towards Burnout)
Juggling local SEO efforts can feel like you have too many balls in the air, often with little reward if you aren’t certain about the efficacy of your actions. Reach out today to learn how working with a digital marketing agency can tangibly boost your SEO results (and take a weight off your shoulders!)