Have you ever wondered how does Google ranks local businesses on search results?
What factors does Google consider for ranking local search results?
If you’ve been struggling to improve your local search rankings, then this guide is for you.
In this guide, we list down a comprehensive list of 50 local search rankings factors. This guide also consists of explanations and examples of these ranking factors.
So, let’s dive deep into the top 50 local search ranking factors.
Reviews are a significant indicator of the quality of your products and services. Reviews also indicate the kind of user experience that you provide. Hence, Google considers reviews as a local search ranking factor.
You can see in the below image that a business with better ratings is placed above the other.
Positive reviews lead to an increase in your business’ local search rankings. These can be positive reviews on your Google My Business (GMB) account. Or, these can also be reviews on other directories such as Yelp. Even the number of positive reviews on local directories count.
You should actively work towards gaining more positive reviews for your business. You can do this by asking your happy customers for reviews.
Ask them only when you know that they find your products satisfactory. Another way to get more positive reviews is to reach out to customers through emails.
Google uses a factor called domain authority. Google uses domain authority to gauge the authoritativeness of your website.
If your website’s quality and content are high, then your domain authority will be more. If your website is old and gets more traffic, then the domain authority will be higher. It also depends on the number of backlinks that you get to your domain.
Here’s a site that has gained a lot of backlinks resulting in its increased domain authority.
Domain authority also contributes to your local search rankings. Higher domain authority will indicate that you are a credible, high-quality business.
It is just like, how would consider a company that has been in the market for years. And the company is well known for its brand name. It works the same way for online websites.
Increasing the domain authority of your website takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. But, you should start working on it right away.
You can increase the domain authority of your site by using certain techniques.
These include various on-page and off-page SEO techniques.
NAP stands for Name-Address-Phone number. NAP is a vital part of local search. Your local customers will try to visit and convert only using NAP details. They will look for your NAP details on your website or Google My Business account.
Many people use online directories to search for local businesses. They may also look for your NAP details in these directories.
Google looks at NAP details in multiple platforms to ensure a business is genuine.
NAP consistency is an essential local search ranking factor. It means that your NAP details should be consistent across the Internet. Also, the NAP details should be the same on your website, GMB account, and directories.
But, why is NAP consistency important?
It is important because it leads to a better user experience.
Let’s suppose you have different addresses or business names at different places on the Internet.
Then, your prospects might get confused and will end up having a bad experience with your brand.
You should decide on a fixed set of NAP details and provide the same details everywhere. You may even find some differences in certain online directories. In that case, you should try to update them with the correct NAP information.
61% of users are more likely to contact a local business from a mobile device. Hence, Google wants to ensure that the businesses that rank are mobile-friendly.
Businesses should often check their site’s mobile-friendliness on google or bing mobile-friendly genuine business testing tool.
The absence of mobile-friendliness leads to a bad customer experience and reputation. Your users will abandon your site and may never visit you again.
Mobile-friendliness includes factors such as responsiveness and content readability. No matter the size of the device users is using, your website should adapt to it. Also, the content should be readable through mobile devices.
You should also improve the mobile page load speed of your site. 53% of mobile users will abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
So, keep a tab on your mobile page loading speed to improve critical elements to maintain high rank and increase user engagement.
They will then visit some other local business site. If this happens with many users, then Google will decrease your rankings.
You should incorporate mobile-friendliness right from the development stage of your site. The same goes for responsiveness as well.
Test your website on various device sizes. You should do this to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Also, you must remove options such as hover, that users cannot access from mobile devices.
Website load speed is extremely important. It carries a lot of weight for local search rankings. Website speed majorly contributes to user experience.
Today, consumers are impatient. They value their time more than ever. Hence, if users find that your website is taking time to load, they will instantly move on to other sites.
Google is very particular about user experience. And thus, it will not rank a slow loading site well. Imagine if you are urgently searching for a local business, and the first result takes time to load. Then this leads to a bad user experience for Google.
You can use various techniques to improve the speed of your website:
Many users use online directories and review sites to look for local businesses. These are nothing but a collection of resources, such as a list of local businesses.
It’s because online directories provide the most relevant and verified businesses present in the vicinity of a particular location.
There are various types of online directories. These can be global ones that have all types of businesses and their information listed. These can also be industry-specific directories.
Examples of industry-specific directories are online directories specific for doctors, plumbers, movers, and more. These can also be online directories specific to your locality.
Some examples of online directories are Yelp, Yellowpages, Glassdoor, AppleMaps, and Foursquare.
Google uses the mentions on these online directories as a local search ranking factor. If many such directories have listed you, this adds more credibility to your business.
You should try to get as many mentions as possible on these directories. You should also try to get listed on local and industry-specific directories. These will lead to an increase in local search rankings.
Just like your web page title affects SEO, your Google My Business title affects local SEO.
Let’s suppose you perform a local search for plumbing services nearby. Almost all the local search results have “plumbing services” mentioned in the title.
Hence, based on the products you have or the services you provide, use the same keywords in your GMB title.
For example, in the below image, businesses with focus keywords in title rank on top in local search.
You can find the keywords by doing keyword research. You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner, ahrefs, or Ubersuggest to find the keywords.
Start by searching for your product or service name. You’ll find the best performing keywords that users use to search for your products or services on Google.
You’ll also find the search volume. More search volume means that users search for this keyword more often. Based on this, you can find your target keywords. Ensure that you use these keywords on your title.
When users search for local businesses, they are looking for the nearest business. Hence, your business’s proximity to the user’s location is an important local search ranking factor.
Proximity plays a crucial role in the local pack. The local pack usually consists of local businesses nearest to the user’s location.
Hence, it is essential to claim your Google My Business account.
You can claim your GMB for free.
When you claim your account, your location will get listed along with the address. Thus, your listing is most likely to come up on top when someone closer to your local business searches.
Adding consistent NAP information is also crucial. Without this, Google wouldn’t know the location of your business. Thus this will reduce the chances of your business ranking for local search.
A backlink is an inbound link pointing from other websites to your website. It is one of the top three ranking factors for SEO, and the same goes for local SEO. Google considers backlinks from local websites as even more crucial for local searches.
Let’s suppose that numerous local websites or directories add a link to your website. It ensures the quality of your products and services. It also increases the relevance of your local business in your locality.
There are numerous ways to gain local backlinks for your business website.
Look for local websites accepting guest posts, adding resource pages, or broken links to fix it with your link.
You should try to provide high-quality services and gain more positive reviews. Then, local websites will automatically link to your website.
You can try to reach out to local websites and ask them for a link. They will link to your landing page if they think that your products are valuable to their users. Reaching out to local directories also helps to increase the number of local backlinks.
You can also reach out to local newspapers, communities, and forums. It will help you gain more visibility while getting more local backlinks.
Try to work on local link building consistently. Over time you’ll see an enormous increase in your local search rankings.
Title tags play a crucial role in local search rankings. When Google crawls local websites for rankings, it looks for keywords in the title. Hence, you should add the right keywords to your title tag.
The blue lines in the image below are title tags. It’s crucial to optimize it with local keywords to rank o top for local searches.
It is mainly applicable to your website landing page. And it is also applicable to your services page. Let’s suppose that you offer plumbing services in Seattle. Then, your website landing page must include the keywords “Plumbing Services in Seattle.”
You can use keyword research tools to find the primary keywords and add them to your landing page titles. It will significantly improve your local search rankings.
Creating localized content will help you improve the relevance of your business to the locality. When you create localized content, you will include keywords related to your location. It will increase your local search rankings.
Creating localized content indicates that you are an active business in that location.
For instance, Airbnb excels at offering localized content based on users’ location.
Both Google and users value localized content. Hence, more localized content is an important local search ranking factor.
All this will boost your local rankings.
The velocity of positive reviews is the rate at which you get positive reviews for your local business.
For example, Let’s suppose that you get lots of positive reviews in a short period. Then the velocity of positive reviews will be more for your local business.
To show it, a clothing store gets reviews monthly, which is a good velocity as some businesses get reviews with a gap of a few months or even years.
The velocity of positive reviews is also known to be a local search ranking factor. It indicates to Google that more users love your brand.
Increased velocity of positive reviews indicates that your local business is getting popular. Many users are opting for your products and services. And many users are returning as happy and satisfied customers.
All these are positive signals of brand authority and quality of products. These factors also denote the user experience offered by your business. Hence, the increased velocity of positive reviews will lead to better local rankings.
Diversity of positive reviews is another crucial review signal. Diversity refers to the various sources of reviews for your business.
In addition to the Google reviews, users’ opinions from other platforms boost a business’s authenticity.
Let’s suppose that you get positive reviews from many places around the Internet. Then your rankings will be better.
For example, Let’s assume your business has 100 positive reviews only from one website. And on the other side, consider that one of your competitors has 100 positive reviews. But all these reviews are from different sources such as online directories and GMB. It means your competitor has better review signals.
Google considers the diversity of positive reviews as a good local search ranking signal. Diversity means you are getting genuine positive reviews from people using different listings. It adds authenticity to your positive reviews. Thus, better local search rankings.
When we search for local businesses on mobile devices, the purchase intent is usually high.
For example, Let’s suppose you are searching for the term “plumbing services near me.” Then you are most likely to call a plumbing service provider soon. So, Google provides a call button on this listing. Using this, you can immediately contact the local business.
This is possible when you have updated contact information in your info category.
When users perform a local search, Google provides a long list of local businesses. Amongst these, users are likely to call the business they think best suits their needs. They’ll look for things such as the ratings and location to call a business.
Let’s suppose a user clicks on a mobile local business listing and calls the business. Mobile call clicks indicate to Google that users want to contact you for further details. Hence, this is also a crucial local search ranking factor.
Google my business listing is super-important for local search. In GMB, users will look for your NAP details, ratings, review, and images. And thus, the engagement in this listing is also used by Google as a local search ranking factor.
Engagement on Google my Business listing can be of many forms. It can include merely scrolling through the listing. If most users are not scrolling through the listing, then this will reduce your rankings.
Engagement also includes clicking photos. When users check in to your local business, they may click pictures and add them to your GMB listing. It acts as a positive indicator.
Other activities, such as reading reviews and Q&A, also count as engagement. If users were not interested in your business, they wouldn’t bother going through your reviews.
You can get detailed insights into the GMB profile’s engagement stats, a chance.
You can increase this ranking signal by actively updating your GMB listing. Ask satisfied customers for positive reviews and ratings. You can also encourage them to click pictures and add them to your GMB.
You should also actively respond to all the reviews. And add as many details and Q&A as possible to your GMB listing.
Google has over 3000 My Business categories. These categories help Google to group local businesses into different types. It helps to get better search results.
Adding the right GMB Categories to your listing plays a vital role in local search ranking. For example, suppose you provide air conditioning services. You can add categories such as “Air Conditioning Contractor” or “Air Conditioning Repair Service.”
You can add as many categories that highly indicate your business.
You should try to add a few categories. Also, ensure that the primary category you add is as accurate as possible. It shouldn’t be a problem, as the list provided by Google is very exhaustive.
As mentioned above, Google values its users’ experience as much. Hence, it uses a set of user experience (UX) signals to rank websites. The same is applicable for local search also. One of the most critical UX signals is the organic click-through rate.
It refers to the people who clicked on your organic link compared to those who viewed it. The more the organic click-through rate of your website, the better is your UX signal. It will increase your local search rankings.
It brings organically interested users and lessens the need for advertisement. The CTR can be calculated using the equation:
Organic click-through rate indicates to Google that your website is offering what users are looking for. Let’s suppose Google finds that the 2nd result is getting more clicks than the first. Then Google will eventually start ranking the second result on the first position.
The organic click-through rate is usually higher for the top three positions. Hence, if your site pops up in the top three local search results, then you’ll get more clicks.
The meta tag is super-important for organic click-through as well as local SEO. When Google crawls your site for ranking, it will look for the target local keywords in your meta description.
Moreover, users will also read your meta description. Based on this, they will decide whether to click on your site’s link or not. So an optimized meta description is one of the top local search ranking signals.
It summarized a page's content and gives vital information to readers as to why they have to click it.
Firstly, you should include your target keywords in the meta description. Do not stuff the keywords, as this will hurt your click-through rate. Ensure that it comes naturally.
You should also add an attractive meta description to your pages. Using power words and stating the benefits of your local business helps. You can look at the meta tags of Google ads for your target keywords. From here, you’ll get an idea of the meta description you must use.
Ratings are one of the most accurate measures of the quality of your products and services. Hence, Google also considers ratings as one of the local search ranking factors.
Google considers both native and third-party ratings. Native ratings refer to those received on your Google My Business listing. At the same time, third-party ratings are the ones received on online directories such as Yelp.
You can add these reviews from multiple platforms on your site to show trustworthiness.
Just like reviews, you should try to get good ratings for your business. Ratings are usually in the range of 0 to 5. You should aim to get five-star ratings for your local business.
You can achieve this by focusing on the quality of your products and services. You can also do this by asking your happy customers to give you a five-star rating on your Google My Business account.
Moreover, ratings also help with organic click-through rates. When users look at the local pack or the other search results, they will look at ratings. If your business has higher ratings than others, the users will be more likely to click on your link.
Google considers the depth and volume of your content as an essential SEO factor. The more the number of words on a web page, the better will be its quality according to Google.
As per research, the webpages having lengthier content acquire a better position on SERPs.
When there is more content on any page, the depth of the content is more. It means users will easily find the information that they are looking for.
Using more words will make your content more comprehensive. It is a positive indicator of the quality of your website and its content.
The same goes for your Google My Business landing page too. If your landing page has more volume than others, users will find all the information they are looking for. Users wouldn’t have to go elsewhere.
Therefore, you should have the maximum number of words on your landing page. Ensure that you provide all the necessary information in-depth and do not leave out any details. Keep updating your landing page with more information.
Do not add fluff and irrelevant details to increase the word count. Keep it as natural as possible while trying to add all the details.
Updating your GMB listing with all the necessary details is another local search ranking factor. Completeness means that you should have all the fields on your GMB listing filled out.
When a user tries to find information about your business, they will find everything on your GMB listing. They wouldn’t have to look elsewhere to find all the details. It leads to a better user experience for Google’s users.
Hence, ensure that you fill out all the data in your GMB account. Try not to leave any information blank.
Here’s an example of how Washington Square Park has covered every detail in their GMB listing.
You should also keep the GMB details updated. Let’s suppose that there are any changes in your NAP listing. Then you should immediately update your GMB information.
Failing to do so will lead to a bad reputation for your business. It will ultimately lead to lowered local search rankings for your business.
Google prefers structured data for higher local search rankings. Structured data is a way of presenting information about your page. Using structured data, Google will easily understand your website’s content and context.
Also, your product will have the chances to appear in rich results which appear as an example below.
Google has a set of structured data definitions applicable to local businesses. These include the following details:
Using these structured data, Google will be able to access all the necessary details for ranking.
You can implement structured data using Google’s guide on structured data. If you are using a website builder such as WordPress, then you can use plugins to implement structured data on your website.
Use Google’s free Rich Results tool to check if your structured data is well-defined. If you find any issues, then you should try to get them fixed as soon as possible.
As explained before, the volume of content is a significant ranking factor. For local search rankings, Google considers the number of words on all your services pages.
For instance, suppose you have web pages for air conditioning repair services in different locations. Then you must ensure that you include at least 1000 to 1500 words in these pages. You should explain all your services in detail.
So, you must provide all the important information on your services page. Then, Google will consider that as a good sign. It will start ranking your site higher as you have added comprehensive details about your services.
Brand name searches carry a very high value in search engine rankings. Users search for business names only when they get familiarized with the business.
Your existing customers, who love your services, can make branded searches. Such searches can also happen through word of mouth marketing. It happens when your happy customers refer your business to their friends and family.
All these indicate the quality of your services. Branded searches also indicate to Google about a positive UX and good brand reputation.
Here’s an example of branded search happening for Spacex. So, use as many branded keywords as possible on your webpage.
All these are extremely important factors for Google’s E-A-T rankings signals. E-A-T stands for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness. When your business scores high on all these three signals, Google will rank you higher.
Hence, you should try to improve your brand awareness. You can do this by effectively marketing your brand on all channels. You can run social media ads or advertise on local media.
Good marketing, advertising, and PR lead to increased brand awareness. In turn, it will lead to an increase in the number of searches for your business name.
Social mentions happen when someone mentions your brand name or handle on social media.
Let’s suppose that you get an increased number of such social mentions. It indicates that you are generating more brand awareness. It shows search engines that your brand is authoritative and credible. Hence, Google will improve your local search rankings.
Often, it is difficult for search engines to understand the context or meaning of a text-based review. Hence, Google analyzes the sentiments of your reviews.
Google does sentiment analysis by identifying certain keywords used in the reviews. Based on these words, the tool categorizes the reviews into positive, negative, or neutral.
Let’s suppose that Google sees a consistent flow of positive sentiment reviews for your business. Then your local search rankings will improve.
For instance, let’s say that many users are adding reviews to your GMB account. And they are using words such as “delighted” or “happy.” Then Google classifies these as positive sentiments.
When you get an increased number of such reviews, you’ll rank higher for local searches.
Bounce rate is a crucial user experience signal used by Google.
Consider that a user clicks on your link and comes to your landing page. Then the user finds that the information is not accurate, ratings are not good, or the site has some other flaw. Then the user will immediately bounce back from your site and move on to check other results. It means that the user has bounced from your site.
When more and more users do this, then your website bounce rate will increase. It harms your local search rankings.
You can check any website’s bounce rate along with user engagement using the Alexa extension.
Google uses bounce rate to gauge the quality and content of your landing page. If users don’t find what they are looking for, Google wouldn’t want to rank your site.
You should reduce your website’s bounce rate by adding all the necessary information on your landing page. Also, try to remove any disruptive ads. Ensure that your landing page design is clean and minimalistic.
Finding the right keywords is an important step to reduce your bounce rate. If you optimize your landing page for the right keywords, then the search intent will match. It will drastically reduce your bounce rate.
Native reviews refer to the reviews you receive on your Google My Business account. These carry a higher weight for local search rankings. If Google sees that the native reviews of a local business are significantly higher, it will rank the site higher.
You should proactively work towards increasing the number of positive reviews on GMB. Generate a link for adding reviews and send it through emails to all your customers. It will lead to an increased number of native reviews.
What do we do when we discover an awesome, valuable local business? We share it with our friends and family. And, social media is the most widely used way to share such details with friends and family.
It means that if you provide satisfactory services to customers, they will likely share your business page on social media.
Google considers more such social media shares as a positive sign. And thus, Google will rank you higher for local keyword searches.
We shouldn’t ignore the importance of an SSL certificate when talking about ranking signals.
When you get an SSL certificate, your website URL shifts from an HTTP to an HTTPS. It means there is an added level of security to your website.
The data shared between the website and the users’ browser is encrypted. So, customers’ sensitive information is not compromised while accessing your website.
Today, most hosting providers offer SSL certificates. You should get one for your local business website as well.
Let’s suppose there is no SSL certificate on your site. Then the users’ browser may warn them about accessing your website. It will indicate that your website is not secure.
Google prioritizes the security of its users’ details. Hence, Google considers SSL certificates as one of the topmost local search ranking factors.
Just the number of reviews on GMB account or online directory is not enough for local SEO. Google also considers the number of responses for reviews as a local search ranking factor.
Google considers the responses for both the positive reviews and negative reviews. If you fail to respond to negative reviews, then it has a greater negative impact on your local rankings. When you respond to negative reviews, it indicates that you are working towards good UX.
Therefore, you must always respond to the reviews you receive on the Internet, especially those on your Google My Business account.
The business below has a better rank on SERP as they have responded to all positive and negative reviews.
For negative reviews, you should apologize to the user and try to resolve the issue. It shows Google and users that you value your users’ opinions. And that you offer a good customer experience.
Often, it is difficult for users to find your business’s location just through an address. Hence, maps are a convenient way to understand your business’s physical location better.
You can embed the map with your location on your website landing page.
Most websites embed maps to show multiple locations of their business.
It helps users to locate your business right from your landing page.
They need not have to go to maps and search for your address. It will contribute to improvement in your local search rankings.
As discussed above, searches for business names contribute to better E-A-T signals. Apart from the number of brand name searches, the velocity also matters.
With the below image, you can imagine the various searches and velocity the business is getting.
When more users start searching for your business name on Google, then the velocity increases. It shows Google about the increasing popularity and awareness of your local business. Hence, the velocity of branded searches is also a local search ranking factor.
We’ve talked about backlinks being an important local search ranking factor before. But it is important to understand that the diversity of links also matter.
For example, suppose that 70% of your backlinks come from the same domain. It doesn’t carry as much weightage as a site with all its backlinks coming from various domains.
Focus on increasing referring domains as it increases your site’s domain authority.
Hence, always try to diversify your link profile. Reach out to different websites for backlinks. You can have a mix of both local and global backlinks.
Even the local backlinks should come from different domain names. It will lead to better local SEO for your website.
Just like the volume of content on a page matters, the volume of content on your entire site also matters. More number of pages on your site contributes to better local ranking signals. Because the more pages you have, the more comprehensive your content is.
Moreover, having more pages on your website also increases your chances of getting backlinks. If you have a blog that you regularly keep updated, then more pages of your site will get indexed. This, again, leads to increased local search rankings.
For example, Buzzsumo is a well-established SaaS with a few categories on its website. But yet they have produced over 12K pages of content.
Apart from the usual homepage, services page, and contact pages, you should also add a blog to your site. You should regularly try to publish content in your blog. It will increase the volume of content on your site. It will also bring in more backlinks and increased local rankings.
Let’s suppose that users are unsure about a local business. Then they would instantly try to find pictures and videos of the place. You would have experienced this first hand.
It happens because visual elements such as photos and videos give a better idea about a local business. Hence, adding photos and videos can completely transform your conversion rates.
These things give potential customers a quick virtual tour of your product.
So, take high-quality photos and videos of your place. Add these to your Google My Business account if you haven’t done already. After this, you’ll find more users visiting your local business. It not only constitutes a good UX but also increases your local search rankings.
Often users looking for driving directions click on a business link. It means that these users are interested in visiting the business. Hence, Google uses the number of driving directions to business clicks as a local search ranking factor.
To start with, you must claim your business on your Google My Business account. This step is a must. You should add all the necessary details. You should also add the accurate address of your business’s physical location. All these will help you get more driving directions to business clicks.
Just like domain authority, each page indexed by Google also has a score. You can use Moz’s link explorer to determine the approximate page authority of any webpage. It is a score given on a 100 point logarithmic scale. The more the score, the better is the page authority.
It’s the metrics that indicate a particular page’s performance.
Google uses page authority while determining the local search ranking. This would usually be your landing page or your services page. Suppose these pages’ page authority is high. Then Google will consider it as a positive indicator for local rankings.
Page authority is more of a relative metric. It means that instead of taking it literally, you should try to keep your page authority score better than your competitors.
You can do this by improving the link profile of the landing page. You can also do this by getting more high-quality backlinks to this page on your website.
Relevancy is an important factor in most of Google’s local search ranking signals. Hence, the relevance of your reviews across the Internet also counts.
Google measures the relevancy of a review by the keywords used in the review. Suppose that the review consists of the location name and your business’ focus keyword. Then these reviews positively impact your local SEO.
For example, if you are running a seafood restaurant in Seattle. Consider that the keywords “Seattle” and “seafood restaurant” appear in reviews. Then these will lead to improved local search rankings.
Search engines take website domain names as a ranking factor. Hence, the keywords that are present in your domain name also matter.
Let’s suppose that you have the name of your location in your domain name. Then you have higher chances of rankings for local search results. It is in comparison to other websites that do not have a location-based keyword in the domain name.
Here’s a coffee business in New York that ranks well for location-based keywords as it also contains New York in the domain name.
If you do not have a domain name yet, then you should consider this factor. Try to get a domain name with the location name in it. It will give you a great head-start in your local SEO journey. If you already have a domain, there is nothing much you can do about this.
Just creating your Google My Business account is not enough. Google needs to verify your account. Only then will you be able to claim the business location. You’ll also be able to restrict other internet users from making any changes to your listing.
Google verification determines the credibility of your business. Hence, it is a super-important factor in determining your local search rankings.
You can verify it by clicking on “own the business?” when it appears on SERP or by logging into your GMB profile.
If your GMB account is not verified, you most likely won’t get ranked high for local searches. Hence, try to get your account verified as soon as possible if not done already.
When users visit your business, they get options for check-in. It indicates that the user has been to your business location.
It encourages new users to mention check-ins typical on Facebook and other platforms.
An increased number of check-ins for your business location means more visitors have visited your business. It leads to increased authority for your brand. And thus, Google will rank your local business higher for local searches.
You can increase the number of check-ins by increasing your brand awareness. Post more on social media and run ads once your place becomes popular, more people will check-in.
As mentioned above, backlinks are one of the top three ranking factors used by Google. Local backlinks matter a lot for local search rankings. But you should know that the quality of your backlinks also matters.
So, focus on outreaching to local website bloggers that receive better engagement from the local audience and request for a quality backlink.
What do you mean by the quality of backlinks?
Many factors determine this. One of these factors is the domain authority of the source of the link. If the source’s domain authority score is high, then Google considers this link as high quality. Usually, it is difficult to get backlinks from high authority websites.
Another factor that determines the quality of backlinks is relevancy. If the backlink source is from a website in your industry, then it is of high quality.
If the link comes from an irrelevant website, then the backlink’s quality would be less. The page authority of the source also contributes to the quality of backlinks.
Hence, you should keep these things in mind while building backlinks. Ensure that you don’t use any black hat or gray hat techniques such as link exchange or link farms. Try to earn backlinks using white hat techniques. Keep the domain authority and the relevancy of the source in mind.
The age of your Google My Business account also matters. If you are a relatively older local business, then your authority will be more. Users would be able to trust you better. And you would have more experience than a new business.
Hence, the older a Google My Business listing, the better will be its local rankings. It is a factor that you cannot do anything about. But, it is important to understand this while doing a competitor analysis.
Another review signal that matters is the authority of the review sites. Reputable online directories have more authority than other unknown directories. Examples of these are YellowPages and Yelp.
Like reaching out to google, even these review sites don’t allow business owners to delete the negative reviews unless there is verification from the moderators.
Citations from high authority sites are good for your local search rankings. Hence, you must try to get reviews on these reputable directories and review sites. You can do this by engaging with users on these review sites. You can ask customers to add positive reviews to such high authority sites.
Address and location play a crucial role in local SEO. Google thus uses local area code as a ranking factor. If you have added a local area code to your GMBlisting, your chances of ranking are higher.
Dwell time is also a user experience signal that Google uses. Dwell time refers to the amount of time any user spends on your landing page after coming from search results.
Google considers the amount of time spent on your landing page before the user returns to the search result pages.
Dwell time for your Google My Business landing page is also a local search ranking factor. It is because it shows that you are providing a good experience to the users.
The more a page’s dwell time, the higher its rank on SERPs will be.
Users are finding what they are looking for on your web page. They are going through your business details and reading your content. All these are positive indicators for Google.
You can improve the dwell time of your landing page by adding engaging elements to it. You can add more visual elements, such as images and videos.
You should try to keep your landing page design clean and skimmable. Also, add comprehensive details about your business on your landing page. All of these factors will lead to increased dwell time.
Anchor texts are also significant for determining local rankings. The general rule is to have a more relevant anchor text.
The best possible anchor text would be when it contains the location and product-based keywords. It signals Google about the relevancy of your backlinks. This, in turn, leads to increased local rankings.
You should have this in mind while building backlinks. While reaching out for backlinks, you can request them to add anchor texts containing these keywords. It will help you further improve your rankings. Even when you add internal links, try to follow this anchor text pattern for better local SEO results.
The structure of a page refers to the hierarchy of headings and subheadings on your page. You should follow the proper structure by following the hierarchy.
For example, the H2 heading should come only after H1 headings. You should also ensure that you are formatting your landing page using bullet points, numbered lists, and tables. You should include proper alt texts for any images used on the landing page.
A well-structured web page improves readability. It contributes to a good user experience. It also acts as an important local search ranking signal for search engines.
Location-based keywords carry added weightage when present in domain names. The same goes for title tags too. So, you should add location-based keywords to your landing page’s title tag.
Run through free keyword-finding tools like answer the public to know the local trending keywords and use them in the title.
Apart from the landing page, you should also consider adding local keywords to most of your pages on your site. It increases your website’s local relevance. It ultimately leads to better local SEO rankings.
After going through the 50 local search ranking factors, you must have a better understanding. Many of these factors overlap with usual SEO ranking factors. But most of these factors are specific to local searches.
So, start working on these local search ranking factors right away. Some may take more time. Some may take comparatively lesser time. But, it is better to begin now to get a good head start above your competitors.
If you have any doubts or need help, you can get in touch with our Local SEO experts anytime.
He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.
He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.