Whether you’ve been an entrepreneur for five decades or five weeks, you know the importance of getting the word out about your business. One way to earn credibility and set yourself up as a subject expert is to get featured in the media. If you know how to use HARO (an online service that connects journalists and sources), you’ll be better equipped at getting your business noticed both offline and online.
But, what is HARO and how can it get your business media attention? I’m sharing everything you need to know about HARO below, along with how you can use it in your business practices. Keep reading to learn more.
What is HARO?
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It began as a Facebook group in 2008 to help reporters and journalists gain feedback directly from the public. It later transitioned into a mailing list and was ultimately acquired by Vocus, Inc., which later merged with Cision Inc.
Before HARO was around, businesses often had to pay a publicist or public relations firm thousands of dollars to be featured in a media outlet. They may have also written and sent out their own press releases in hopes of getting lucky enough to get the attention of a journalist.
These days however, getting media attention can be as easy as answering queries sent to your email via HARO. It’s essentially a media and source matchmaking platform, where people can sign up as either journalists or sources.
A business can benefit from both options by strategizing connections accordingly. I’ll explain how to use HARO in more detail below.
How to use HARO as a journalist
When journalists sign up for the platform, they can post queries related to content they are developing. This content can be:
Television programs and more
If you’re learning how to use HARO for the first time, it might help to view a visual breakdown. Here’s a peek at what a blank query looks like from my own account:
The journalist shares what media outlet the content is for and the outlet’s URL. They can then choose whether to remain anonymous or publicly share where the content will be published.
Next, they will include a short summary of what they are looking for, followed by a more in-depth query. The section beneath the query is reserved for requirements that sources must meet if they hope to be selected as a contributor.
Finally, journalists will fill out the deadline and submit their queries to HARO for approval. If they are approved (and not all of them are), the queries are then sent out to an email list of potential sources.
Typically, HARO will approve or deny the query about one or two business days prior to the deadline. If a journalist has a quick deadline and needs answers the same day, they can click “Urgent” and HARO will post the query on Twitter to get instant responses.
How to use HARO as a source
When a source is exploring how to use Haro for the first time, they’ll begin with the three step sign up form. Here, they can choose the frequency of emails they receive. Emails are sent out Monday through Friday in the morning, afternoon, and evening. They are then broken down into different categories that include subjects like:
Business and Finance
Biotech and Healthcare
Energy and Green Tech
Lifestyle and Fitness
Entertainment and Media
Public Policy and Government
The queries in the emails vary greatly depending on what journalists are seeking sources for. Some sample topics might include:
How to be successful with cryptocurrency
The best holiday gifts for men over 40
Tips from relationship counselors on how to find a date using online dating services
I’ve also seen generic queries and ones that are so hyper-specific, I wonder if the journalist was able to even find a source at all! You honestly never know what will pop up as a query. Plus, anyone can sign up and learn how to use HARO for free.
Alternatively, Cision also offers premium subscriptions starting at $19 a month. This paid option gives you additional opportunities to increase your chances at getting featured. But It’s worth noting that a paid subscription doesn’t guarantee you’ll be chosen as a source.
My experience using HARO
As a journalist, I’ve learned how to use HARO for many different types of stories — including this post. Some of the queries I’ve sent out include:
Podcast promotion tips
Travel agent success ideas
Tax deduction advice for small business owners and more
The reason I love HARO so much is because you can be as specific as you’d like with your query. You can then find the exact sources you’re looking for to help enhance your content and add credibility to your posts.
Why I like HARO’s anonymous feature
One you understand how to use HARO a little better, you might decide to utilize their anonymous feature in the settings. I always opt to make the outlet I’m gathering materials for as “anonymous” because I don’t like to share posts until they are live – or at least guaranteed to go live. Sometimes stories get killed midway through production and it can be very frustrating when you get an email from a source wondering what happened to the post.
Breaking the news that a post never went live could be quite disappointing for any sources involved.
I’ve also noticed that disclosing your outlet’s name sometimes skews the responses you get. For example, everyone wants to respond to a query from Forbes, but they may not want to respond to a query from a smaller website.
Note: If you are a journalist representing an online-only or business website, make sure to check out the HARO rules for journalists before getting started — especially if you’re not sure how to use HARO. You don’t want to violate any rules that could deny your query or ban your account.
Keys ways HARO has helped me
I’ve also used HARO as a source for both myself and for clients I ghostwrite for. It’s a fabulous tool for:
Getting backlinks to your website
Establishing yourself as an expert in your field
Contributing to the content that matters to your niche
When the queries go out in the morning, afternoon, and evening, there could be 50 or more responses per email. Again, queries are all broken down by category, so sources can skip to the subjects they want to contribute to.
I’ve never personally paid for HARO’s premium plans, and don’t know anyone who has either. But if you want to know how to use HARO with additional subscription-based features, here’s a glimpse at what they look like and what they offer:
What niches benefit the most from HARO?
I’ve yet to see a niche that wouldn’t benefit from learning how to use HARO. Because of the different categories, and the wide variety of queries created across all of the categories, I would bet that any business could find some kind of query to respond to – even if your business isn’t directly related to a category.
And, if your business doesn’t have anything to contribute the first time, you can always expect a new query within the next day, week or month.
It’s okay to hold out for the best queries you feel are a match.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of HARO, let’s take a closer look at how to use it to get your small business in the news!
How to use HARO to benefit your small business
First, the bad news. Don’t jump into HARO expecting to land a feature in Forbes the first day. While this can certainly happen, it’s highly unlikely. There are many small business owners just like you who know how to use HARO to get media attention.
Perhaps Sharon Geltner, a successful multimedia journalist who’s written for publications like Forbes and the New York Times, says it best:
“I won’t kid you, using HARO means I kiss a lot of frogs before I meet the prince. But it is well worth sorting through amphibians to eventually ascend to national media outlets – which would otherwise be very hard to do.”
With this in mind, here is my best advice on how to use HARO to get in the media:
Have a website up and running. Make sure to have an “about” page available, so journalists can learn more about you.
Sign up for an account as a source on HARO. This will grant you access to media queries you can respond to.
Choose the frequency of emails you would like to receive. Email newsletters are sent out to sources three times a day and can range from 10-100 queries.
Create a plan of attack. Think about what your business is all about, what market you are trying to serve, and which outlets align with your business values.
Editor’s note: If you need help setting up a website, check out GoDaddy’s Website Builder to easily get started with no tech experience necessary.
Pro Tip: Don’t respond to every query!
Instead, choose the ones that most resonate with your ideal audience. Seek out queries that you would be best suited as a source for.
Once you start receiving queries, read them carefully and start responding.
Be prepared to respond quickly!
Some journalists get dozens of pitches and don’t have time to read each one. They may decide to stop accepting pitches after receiving a few decent responses. Pitches that come in too late risk getting buried at the bottom of their priority list.
For example, one of my most recent HARO queries had 56 responses and I was only able to use 11. Though I got a lot of great responses, I went in the order I received them and chose the first 11 that worked for my content. I didn’t even read the rest!
However, that’s not to say you should rush when responding to queries – not by any means. Always give thorough and well thought out responses, but don’t wait several hours to figure out who you want to respond to.
Real world examples of how to use HARO for your business
To help you determine your plan of attack, let’s look at some real world examples of sources that know how to use HARO successfully.
Hugo Guerreiro, The Men Hero
Hugo Guerreiro, founder of lifestyle and men’s fashion blog The Men Hero, says that HARO has been wonderful for building his domain authority with backlinks. He says, “It’s free and takes less time than pitching to other websites to provide you with a link or write a guest post. I have built all my backlinks with HARO, since my answers have been chosen multiple times. I would advise anyone who wants to improve their blog authority to answer HARO questions.”
Jackie Blanchard, Fortress Development Solutions
Jackie Blanchard is a social media marketing specialist for the construction development company, Fortress Development Solutions. She says HARO has been great at getting “niche industry opportunities” and adds that it has also helped her company “get in front of a national audience.”
“The more articles we can collaborate in, the more opportunities our potential customers will have to find us. HARO is very user-friendly and we get emails daily with potential opportunities. I scroll through and if we’re a good fit I reach out and share our story.”
Her best advice for sources looking to get selected is to be open. “The more information you share, the more likely you will get chosen for follow-ups.” She also notes that it helps to get email notifications, so you can be among the first to respond. “Always answer all questions and offer your company for future needs.”
Additionally, your response should be thorough, yet straight to the point. I’ve gotten responses that were as short as one sentence and as long as three pages. The three pages were overkill!
Stephen Curry, CocoSign
Stephen Curry is the CEO of the online signature platform, CocoSign. He says that HARO has become the best means of getting his business featured in the media and that it has “proven to be the best backlink generation technique.”
His best advice for sources is to:
“Read the requirements that the reporter has given. If you feel that you have a unique point of view and insight on that query, use your best words to describe it as clearly as possible, and you’ll see that query getting accepted in no time. The chances of getting selected as a source get much higher when you provide credible content in less time.”
Patty Malowney is the social media marketing and SEO expert for Badass Web Goddess. Her best advice on how to use HARO is to:
“Use HARO consistently every day. They send out queries three times a day. Go through every single one of them. If you miss one, you could miss an opportunity. When you find a query that interests you, respond back promptly. Make sure what you write is quote-worthy. Think about whether or not the author can easily use what you say in a quote. If not, condense what you have to say into a bite-size quote.
Don’t get discouraged. You have to send pitches regularly and be patient. Sometimes you won’t hear anything back for a month or longer. If you stick with it, you’ll get better at your pitches and will be selected more often.”
Alex Shute, FaithGiant
Alex Shute, founder and chief editor of the Christian lifestyle website FaithGiant, says, “HARO has been a reliable source of media attention for our website and the best way to utilize HARO is to choose queries that are related to your website’s main topic and interest.”
His best advice for getting selected as a source is to write answers that are “straight to the point yet incorporate your own experiences related to the queries.” He also adds that your goal for answering should be “both helpful and genuine.”
When it comes to the length of your answers, Shute recommends aiming for a happy medium:
“It’s all about finding the right balance between one that’s short enough for both the recipient and the would-be readers to not lose interest easily, but also be long enough to be informative, engaging, and compelling. This can be the difference between someone opening it or sending it to the trash. A well-written answer to the HARO query can save the day.”
Remember, the end-game is to offer answers with substance in a timely manner.
Greg Jenkins, Bravo Productions
Greg Jenkins, founder and partner of Bravo Productions, has been using HARO for the last 13 years. He says “it has been a great experience in not only getting our company’s name out to global audiences, [but] it’s also been beneficial in educating consumers and various audience demographics about the profession.”
To highlight his point, Jenkins notes that “topics run the gamut” and can include examples like:
Quick party fixes for Health & Fitness Magazine
Budget tips for websites like Brides.com
Super Bowl party tips for publications like the Atlanta Journal & Constitution
Party planning advice for Costco Connection Magazine
Security and risk management advice for publications like Smart Meetings
He takes things a step further by sharing any content his company is mentioned in on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. This helps Jenkins:
Build up his social fan base
Set himself up as an expert in event planning
Increase brand awareness
Knowing how to use HARO helps give your small business the upper hand in marketing and Jenkins reports:
“We find using HARO is a means to distinguish our company from the masses and competitors. There are a plethora of event and party planning companies in every city. When included in an article, it’s one way to distinguish our company from those who may not receive the same media exposure.”
His best advice for a source is to, “Be specific in your answers. Vague responses to questions will not help the journalists or the end reader if your input adds little to nothing in the story.”
Jenkins also adds that you’ll want to make sure you edit and utilize spell check for grammar before sending responses to journalists. He suggests keeping an eye out for typos and making yourself available for any follow-up questions.
Linda Pophal, Strategic Communications
Linda Pophal, founder and owner of Strategic Communications, uses HARO as both a source and a journalist. She says the most important thing is to “only respond to pitches that you are truly qualified for.”
Pophal also notes that HARO, in her opinion, has been overrun “by trash responses from people [clearly] seeking only to attain backlinks.” She adds that these responses often use content generation tools to develop their responses, which typically don’t offer any valuable insights to her queries.
“If you don’t have the credentials [or] expertise the reporter is looking for, don’t respond. If you do, and do so repeatedly, you’ll fall off their radar screen and likely be blocked. I have a number of names I’m now familiar with that I now delete responses from without even looking at them because their input has been so irrelevant or off the mark.”
Finally, she acknowledges that journalists are busy and more likely to use “detailed written responses than to take time to interview sources.”
“Providing relevant detailed information can boost the odds that your input will be used. A side benefit is that, since you’ve actually documented your response you’re more likely to be quoted accurately.”
Ryan Stewman, Break Free Academy
Ryan Stewman, founder of Break Free Academy, reports that the two most important things for him are consistency and delivering value. He says:
“I’ve been using HARO for three years now. I answer one to two email queries daily. If you add it up, that’s 700 or so opportunities per year to get published from HARO.”
When it comes to getting published, Stewman says his experience as a source is to “give the reporter the information they are looking for.”
“Most people fail to get published because they made their replies about themselves, instead of about the needs of the reporter. The key to getting the most out of HARO is to consistently answer queries daily, and answer them according to what you think the reporter wants information on, not about yourself.”
Key takeaways and next steps
To close things out, I’ve rounded out some final tips to get your business featured in the media using HARO:
Don’t wait. Start learning how to use Haro right away. There are hundreds of opportunities every week, and your business might have the exact insights journalists (like me) are looking for.
Give thorough and valuable responses. Read queries carefully and answer all questions appropriately. If you want to get selected, holding back won’t do you any good.
Answer truthfully and don’t hype yourself up. No one likes to find out their source isn’t as amazing as they claim to be. It’s also a quick way to land yourself on a blacklist for many websites.
Have a bio and headshot ready. Many journalists will want to feature your information alongside your quote or answer to a query.
Don’t forget to include contact information. Add this to your emails in case a journalist wants to follow-up.
Keep pitching via source requests. You never know who is looking for a source, or which pitches will be selected.
What are you waiting for? Sign up for HARO and start working on getting your business in the news today!
But equity rounds aren’t the only way for a company to raise money — alternative and other non-dilutive financing options are often overlooked. Taking on debt might be the right solution when you’re focused on growth and can see clear ROI from the capital you deploy.
Not all capital providers are equal, so seeking financing isn’t just about securing capital. It’s a matter of finding the right source of funding that matches both your business and your roadmap.
Here are four things you should consider:
Does this match my needs?
It’s easy to take for granted, but securing financing begins with a business plan. Don’t seek funding until you have a clear plan for how you’ll use it. For example, do you need capital to fund growth or for your day-to-day operations? The answer should influence not only the amount of capital you seek, but the type of funding partner you look for as well.
Start with a concrete plan and make sure it aligns with the structure of your financing:
Match repayment terms to your expected use of the debt.
Balance working capital needs with growth capital needs.
It’s understandable to hope for a one-and-done financing process that sets the next round far down the line, but that may be costlier than you realize in the long run.
Your term of repayment must be long enough so you can deploy the capital and see the returns. If it’s not, you may end up making loan payments with the principal.
Say, for example, you secure funding to enter a new market. You plan to expand your sales team to support the move and develop the cash flow necessary to pay back the loan. The problem here is, the new hire will take months to ramp up.
If there’s not enough delta between when you start ramping up and when you begin repayments, you’ll be paying back the loan before your new salesperson can bring in revenue to allow you to see ROI on the amount you borrowed.
Another issue to keep in mind: If you’re financing operations instead of growth, working capital requirements may reduce the amount you can deploy.
Let’s say you finance your ad spending and plan to deploy $200,000 over the next four months. But payments on the MCA loan you secured to fund that spending will eat into your revenue, and the loan will be further limited by a minimum cash covenant of $100,000. The result? You secured $200,000 in financing but can only deploy half of it.
With $100,000 of your financing kept in a cash account, only half the loan will be used to drive operations, which means you’re not likely to meet your growth target. What’s worse, as you’re only able to deploy half of the loan, your cost of capital is effectively double what you’d planned for.
Is this the right amount for me at this time?
The second consideration is balancing how much capital you need to act on your near-term goals against what you can reasonably expect to secure. If the funding amount you can get is not enough to move the needle, it might not be worth the effort required.
Elon Musk said Sunday he “somewhat agonized” over the font designs for his companies Tesla and SpaceX.
The billionaire businessman added he “loves fonts” and has tweaked the logos over the years.
He revealed the SpaceX logo also holds a hidden meaning, representing a rocket’s arc to orbit.
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In a series of Sunday tweets, Elon Musk said he “somewhat agonized” over his choice of fonts for his businesses and revealed a hidden meaning behind the SpaceX logo.
Responding to a tweet about serif and sans-serif fonts, the billionaire businessman took a break from posting cryptic memes and discussing politics to say he loves fonts and put significant consideration into how his companies are presented to consumers.
“I somewhat agonized over the Tesla & SpaceX font design (love fonts tbh),” Musk tweeted. “There are some similarities, particularly use of negative space. We’ve made many little tweaks over the years.”
The Tesla logo — a T-shaped design with a custom, sans-serif font spelling out the brand name — is meant to resemble a cross-section of an electric motor. The SpaceX logo, written in a similar font with an extended X, references the reusable rockets made by the company.
“The swoop of the X is meant to represent the rocket’s arc to orbit,” Musk tweeted.
Other business logos have also held hidden messages: Baskin Robbins, a chain that sells 31 flavors of ice cream, has a secret ’31’ hidden in the letters of its logo. Likewise, Amazon’s arrow logo is meant to represent a smile, while the circular ‘B’ logo for Beats by Dre represents a person wearing the popular headphones.
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The internet has revolutionized the business world and changed how we conduct business. Any business that aims to increase its visibility and boost profit needs to pay much attention to top ranking factors, including local SEO — which introduces the topic of the local search algorithm.
Local SEO is one of the top practices that help boost a business’s visibility and generates more sales.
However, achieving better local SEO rankings is not a walk in the park, especially due to increased competition. To appear higher on local results, businesses and marketers need to understand how the local search algorithm works.
Knowing this helps guide the steps for improving rankings in the local pack.
The competition gets stiffer as more businesses open and optimize for local searching. Besides, Google is updating its algorithm consistently, meaning only businesses that can keep up with these updates can appear at the top of local search results.
Luckily, you have come to this post as this article looks at everything you need to know about Google’s local search algorithm and what you can do to get that top spot in the local pack.
Understanding the local search algorithm
Google aims to provide the best results that match a specific local search query. It constantly updates the local search algorithm to determine which business to rank on top of local search results.
Ideally, Google wants to provide local content that is relevant and valuable to users. As with search engine optimization, keyword stuffing cannot give you that top spot in local search results.
SEO specialists and marketers should consider Google’s local search algorithm updates and make the necessary changes to rank higher. Failure to consider these updates means losing your local search presence, resulting in fewer leads and conversions.
Local algorithms check the Google My Business (GMB) listings to determine where to rank a business in local search rankings.
Ideally, Google’s local algorithm ranks businesses with information that matches a searcher’s query. And the higher a business ranks in local search results, the more chances a potential customer will click on it.
This post looks at the three major pillars that determine local search results to better understand the local search algorithm: proximity, prominence and relevance.
Of course, other factors make up Google’s local search algorithm, but since we cannot identify all of them, we’ll focus on the most crucial ones in this post.
By understanding these pillars, marketers can better position themselves for local search success.
Proximity is one of the major ranking factors when it comes to local search. That means the distance between a business and a searcher is a ranking factor in local search.
When a searcher searches for something, Google considers how far the searcher is from the location of the term they use in the search. When a searcher doesn’t specify the location, Google calculates the distance based on the information they have regarding their location.
Ideally, Google aims to provide the most relevant results to a search query. For instance, why would Google provide a list of coffee shops in Los Angeles if the searcher is searching from Colombia?
That would be irrelevant local search results that won’t benefit the searcher.
Unfortunately, while proximity is a major local search pillar, it’s one of the factors that businesses have little control over. After all, you cannot change where your business is located, right?
You can only ensure your business location is as clear as possible, so that it appears for related nearby queries. Here are steps you can take to achieve this:
Claim and verify the Google My Business listing
Ensure local listings are accurate and optimized for local products or services
Get the Google Maps API Key and optimize for your location and routes
Set up your profile correctly (for Service Area Businesses) to avoid violating Google’s guidelines
Users can perform several types of local searches, including:
Users will perform geo-modified searches when they are planning to visit somewhere. For instance, a searcher in Los Angeles planning to visit Toronto, Canada, may search for a “coffee shop in Oakville.” The results will differ from if they searched for “coffee” while physically in Oakville.
To be specific, geo-modified searches are mainly based on relevance and prominence as opposed to proximity when a user searches for something when outside the city included in the search.
Searchers perform this type of search when looking for something around them. For instance, a user in Los Angeles performing a local search for “coffee.”
Ideally, the user only needs to search for something and is shown results based on proximity. They will get the results that are closest to them.
“Near me” searches
“Near me” searches have been so popular in recent years. Although their popularity has significantly declined, users still perform this type of search when looking for something locally.
For instance, some users could add “near me” when searching for a coffee shop, hoping to get the most relevant results near them. As we’ve stated, this trend has lost popularity because when you perform a local search, you are searching for something near you.
It is not necessary to add “near me” to what you’re searching.
Prominence refers to how important Google thinks your business is, which gets factored into the local search algorithm.
In other words, it refers to how well a business stands from the rest in various aspects, including directories, links, reviews, mentions, among other things.
If search engines view your business as trustworthy and credible, they will likely show it on top of related search query results.
The local search algorithm views businesses/brands with a stronger online prominence as credible and trustworthy. Some of the factors that determine prominence include:
A local citation is the mention of a business’s information online. The mention can include the partial or complete name, address, and phone number (NAP) of a local business.
Citations are an excellent way for people to learn about local businesses and impact local search results.
A business with high-quality citations can rank better in local search results, although businesses must continually manage citations to ensure data accuracy.
Backlinks play a crucial role in local business prominence. Gaining relevant backlinks from high-quality sites is an excellent way to build a business’ online reputation.
If you’re trying to outrank your competitors without much success, your backlink profile could be the reason.
In that case, you should check your competitor’s backlinks and compare them with yours. When doing this, pay attention to the number and quality of their backlinks.
As a rule of thumb, aim to have high-quality local backlinks pointing to your site to improve your page’s authority.
Next, you need to pay much attention to reviews to improve local prominence. Many customers look at a business’s online reviews before deciding whether to engage more with the business or not. Besides, many positive online reviews can increase a business’ ranking factors.
Consider this scenario. A potential customer is looking for a pub around Oakville. When they perform a search, they are presented with two results: one with over 100 reviews and another with less than 10 reviews.
Which business do you think the searcher would trust? The one with 100 reviews, obviously.
As with search engines, customers need to trust a business before they decide to do business with it. Similarly, search engines can view online reviews and analyze them to determine a business’s online prominence.
That said, here are strategies you can use to boost your online review signals:
Have a strategy
You won’t have a strong online prominence if your products or services are not of a high standard. So, the first step to having many great reviews is to develop great products and services.
After that, develop a strategy to encourage your happy customers to leave honest but valuable reviews of their experience doing business with you to help boost your online reputation.
Monitor and manage the reviews
Having many reviews is one thing; you need to develop a plan to engage with your customers for better results. Responding to reviews shows people that you care and are genuine about your products and services.
People will avoid businesses that don’t respond to customer reviews (whether positive or negative).
Search engines, too, can tell whether you engage with customer reviews or not and will use the information to determine where to rank on local search results.
When responding to online reviews, pay special attention to negative reviews and how you respond to them. While no business likes getting negative reviews, how you respond to them can positively impact your business — respond positively to turn the negative reviews around.
As earlier stated, Google wants to provide the most relevant results to a local search query. This key ranking factor will determine a business’s position in local search results — how well does a local business match a search query?
Even if your business ticks the above pillars (prominence and proximity), if the content on your page isn’t well structured and doesn’t cover the topics that a searcher is looking for, you won’t appear on top of local search results.
Here are factors that businesses should consider to create a relevant listing:
Local page signals
Local listing categories and attributes
Social posts and responses to online reviews
Local listing signals and categories
A business GMB listing and category can impact its relevance score for local searches. As such, complete your business profile carefully and continually add quality content to the web page to ensure it is relevant for proximity searches.
More specifically, ensure that all information on all listing pages, including Yelp, Bing, and Google, is complete and accurate. Aside from these factors, here are two crucial features you should pay attention to:
Selecting the right categories for your local business listing is among the crucial factors for ranking locally. With over 4000 GMB categories, you want to choose categories that best describe your business — ensure they are relevant and specific.
Here are guidelines to follow when selecting a category:
Describe your business as opposed to your services
Be specific to minimize competition
Reduce the number of GMB categories to describe your business better
Without a proper description, users won’t know what your business is about. This section is about adding an introduction to your business so that customers and search engines can know more about your business.
However, don’t use this section for marketing your business. Just give users and search engines descriptive info that can help determine whether your business matches their needs.
Local page signals
Another way a business can improve its standing in the local search algorithm is by optimizing web pages for specific keywords. For multi-location businesses, it’s essential to have separate, localized pages for each location, with relevant information and contact details for customers to reach you.
Performing competitor research is advisable to determine what terms or keywords to use for a specific query. Here are top on-page signals to consider when trying to gain relevance for a given topic:
Keyword research — Before creating local content, you need to find keywords that matter to your business. Perform keyword research to determine highly relevant keywords with high intent. When finding relevant terms to use in your content, base your research on the customer perspective; think about what they search for and the type of content they are looking for.
Create local content — After finding the right keywords, it’s time to create your content. Google values the quality of content more than the length of the content, so keep this in mind when creating content. Another crucial thing to pay attention to is localizing the content. For example, you can create content on local news and events or use your city’s name within your content.
The goal is to create a connection between what’s happening in your local area and your business. Also, use pictures with your specific geolocation to increase your content relevance.
Creating quality and relevant content is only the start. You need to optimize your content for on-page signals so local search algorithms can discover and rank them better. Here’s how you can optimize your local content for on-page signals:
Meta descriptions — Include keywords in your meta descriptions to encourage searchers to click through and increase visibility
Title tags — Title tags are some of the factors that search engines use to determine where to rank content. Incorporating keywords naturally in your title tags can help boost local rankings
Image tags — Another way to improve local rankings is by including relevant keywords in your image tags. Including geotags also comes with an added advantage
Headings — Users and Google value pages with clear structures. Consider creating headings within your content to capture readers’ attention and encourage them to read on. However, ensure your heading tags describe the content that comes after them well. Also, include keywords in your heading tags to help search engines understand them and their importance.
Off-page local signals
Gaining high-quality backlinks is a great way to boost credibility and trust. Backlinks refer to external links from another website to your site. Aim to have more high-quality backlinks to boost your website authority.
Ideally, having many quality backlinks shows search engines that your website or page is credible and trustworthy, which boosts the chances of ranking it higher in search engine results.
Guest posting is one of the best examples of link-building strategies you can use. Finding great guest posting opportunities provides an excellent opportunity to share your content to a new but relevant audience, which helps boost your website authority.
Another strategy you can use is to create longer and better content than what is already available on the web. When your content is high quality and relevant, it will be easier to get high-quality backlinks.
Review and social signals
Online reviews can also help boost relevance for your local business. Aim to get as many positive reviews from your happy customers as possible.
Remember, when customers perform a local search, they get not only the relevant businesses but also reviews related to the search. The more positive reviews a business has, the higher chances a potential customer will do business with them.
Closing thoughts on the local search algorithm
Ranking on top of local search results can seem daunting, but it shouldn’t when you know the vital things to focus on. As you have seen above, the local algorithm is based on three pillars: relevance, proximity, and prominence.
Of course, other factors determine local search rankings depending on your industry and competition.