Optimizing your small business for local search rankings is more important than ever. Especially when customers are searching online for local products and services. Though the goal of local SEO is to increase online visibility for searches with local intent, many organizations do not understand what ranking elements go into how Google determines outcomes for “near me” searches.
What Are Ranking Factors?
Ranking factors are the components used by search engines to measure web pages. The purpose is to figure out how they will display the search page outcomes.
When Google determines that the intent of a question is local, they will use these three elements to rank results: significance, distance, and prominence.
Significance: Significance describes how well a local Business Profile matches what someone is looking for. It includes the complete and detailed info for your company to help Google better understand and match your profile to pertinent searches.
Distance: Distance regards how far each potential search result is from the area term utilized in a search. If a user does not define a place in their search, Google determines the range based upon what it does understand about his or her place.
Prominence: Prominence describes how popular a company is. Some locations are more popular in the offline world, and search results attempt to show this in local rankings. For example, popular museums, landmark hotels, or popular store brands are similarly likely to appear high in local search rankings.
What Doesn’t Have an Impact on Local SEO?
There are lots of SEO myths out there about what does and does not affect your local SEO rankings, and sorting through them all can be difficult. To save you time, here are a couple of elements that do not straight impact your local SEO:
- Keywords in Google My Business description
- Keywords in Google My Business services
- Participation in ad services
- Presence of appointment URL
While these don’t have an influence on your local search rank, they still can be handy features and additions to reach customers that are searching for more details about your company in Google.
How Do I Improve My Local Search Ranking?
If you are asking yourself how to improve your regional search ranking, you should begin with the following:
Review your primary category. If your business changes its core focus throughout the year, consider updating your primary category to reflect this. Always evaluate competitors’ categories on Google to see where your company places. Do not stop here, however. Include as many specific and pertinent additional categories to further Google’s understanding of your organization.
Keywords in the business title can impact how you appear in local search rankings, particularly in competitive markets. If you can leverage your legal company name, this can help in moving the needle.
It is important to encourage employees in front of your customers to offer a great experience and use feedback to better your company. Understand how brand-new workflows and evaluation qualities embed into the feedback process.
Knowing how much your physical location is considered when ranking can beneficial. If there are cities or metros that you wish to be visible in, understand how near or far you are from the area, along with your rivals.