When it comes to ranking your web pages for local search traffic, it’s easy to assume that the same factors affecting global search rankings will also affect local search rankings, but that may not be the case. Certainly, I think on-page content is one factor, and inbound links, to a certain degree, are also a factor. But what else can be a factor?
It seems obvious – at least to me – that local links are more valuable than what are generally termed “relevant” links. In other words, if you are a local real estate broker, a link from your Chamber of Commerce will likely carry more weight than a link from a national real estate website.
I also believe Web citations could prove a factor as well. A Web citation is any place off of your own website that mentions your business, web address, or Local business listing information without an accompanying link.
So how can a non-link affect your search rankings? If you’ve claimed your business listing in Google Places, Bing Local, and Yahoo! Local, then the search engines know your business address and phone number. They also know some other basic information about you. If that information also appears on another website – say, your local Chamber of Commerce or BBB website – then it adds a level of credibility to your business. A link isn’t necessary.
So here’s my tip for today. If you are a local business trying to rank better for your search terms and a geographical targeting metric, see if you can get a few local Web citations, with or without a link.