Local SEO Ranking Factors
Local SEO can be a challenging endeavour for any small business or even a seasoned SEO professional. It is essential to identify the factors that influence Google’s local SEO algorithm and devise your best possible local SEO strategy based on those ranking factors.
In our blog post, we will identify and understand the most important local SEO ranking factors that would help you develop a more focused and robust local SEO strategy for your small business.
What are the Google Local SEO Ranking Factors?
According to bright local, there are six highly important local SEO ranking factors that can help your business rank in the Google local pack or Google map pack, as it is all alternatively called.
- Google Business Profile Signals
- Online Reviews Signal
- On-Page SEO Signals
- Backlinks Signals
- Behavioral Signals
- Local Citation Signals
We will explore all these factors in more detail individually below
Google Business Profile Signals
According to the survey conducted by bright local, Google’s business profile is the most important local SEO ranking factor for Google local pack. The main strategy in terms of Google business profile is to focus on ensuring that your Google business profile is complete with all the relevant sections and pieces of information added to the profile.
Within Google’s business profile, the primary category remains the top-ranking factor, followed by having the correct keywords in the business’s name as well as having the appropriate, relevant subcategories for their business vertical. Over the last few years, the importance of Google business profile sub-ranking factors such as primary category subcategories verification, etcetera has increased in importance over all other ranking factors for the Google local back.
There are certain Google business profile-related ranking factors that do not impact rankings, such as having geotagged photos, keyword stuffing the business description, product services, and other elements of Google posts as well as enablement of the messaging feature. However, the reports of these elements cannot be disregarded from an engagement perspective.
Bright local review signals are the second most important local SEO ranking factor for Google local back rankings. Both the quantity and the rating score of Google reviews are considered important ranking factors for local SEO. Over the years, review signals have also increased in importance, according to bright local.
One of the ways of enhancing this local SEO ranking signal is to ask your customers for reviews, especially those customers that have had a positive experience with your brand or service. One also must ensure that a appears more trustworthy if it has organic reviews that are a great balance of both negative and positive reviews.
Another way of enhancing the review signals is by turning to party review sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Best Rated. These external third-party review sites send positive signals to googles local SEO algorithm and help in enhancing your business’s overall local SEO rank in the local in the Google local map pack. Hence review management should be a comprehensive and structured part of your local SEO strategy.
On-Page SEO Signals
According to the survey conducted by bright local page SEO is the third most crucial ranking factor and has been since 2013 for local SEO especially considering its impact on your business’s ability to rank in the local map pack.
From a local algorithm perspective, on-page factors such as NAP data, focus keywords on metadata, internal linking, and domain authority are considered important local SEO ranking factors. One way to build and optimize your on-page content is to develop quality content in high volumes and develop topical authority in the relevant topic by both developing broad and deep-level content.
When it comes to metadata optimization, the use of location-specific keywords adds to the development of local pages targeting content for local consumers to help increase your website’s local SEO authority. This, in turn, helps amplify your on-page SEO signals.
High-quality backlinks are not only important from an organic SEO perspective, but they are almost equally important for your local SEO ranking signals. Backlinks high-quality backlinks improve your website’s overall domain authority and can pass high-quality link juice to your website as well if they are developed from higher authority and high-quality websites.
It is recommended when it comes to backlinks to focus on quality instead of quantity. Quality backlinks should also be coupled with an extensive internal linking structure across the entire website, which helps pass the link. Juice or authority from the linked page to other pages that are not directly linked from an external website.
The important individual ranking factors for backlinks include the quality of the anchor text, the overall domain authority of the linking website as well as the overall number of linking domains.
Local Citation Signals
According to the survey conducted by bright local, your local citations are also considered an important local SEO ranking factor. Individual ranking factors such as location data, nap consistency, and the number of citations are considered important.
Citations are business listings developed by businesses on the relevant directory or business listing websites. They are one of the fastest ways of developing backlinks for your new website as well. The focus for backlinks from citations mainly focuses on structured citations, which are considered more trustworthy and authoritative by Google.
If done correctly, a great citation-building campaign can help your website build authority and increase its web presence. As discussed before, ensuring nap consistency and accuracy of business information is crucial to avail this highly important local SEO ranking factor.
Behaviour signals are user interactions with your websites, such as clicks, click-through rate, bounce rate as well we’re all engagement metrics. Google considers behavioural signals to be important because they truly reflect the relevance of half the content to the visitor and hence the website’s importance in that particular niche. Although behavioural signals are an important organic local SEO factor, for Google local pack ranking, it has decreased in importance over the last few years versus other ranking factors.
Google local SEO ranking factors are crucial for local businesses to increase their local presence and generate local demand. All the ranking factors, including Google business profile signals, review signals, on-page SEO signals, link signals, citation signals, and behavioural signals, should be made part of their local SEO strategy.
By optimizing for these local search ranking factors, you can increase your chances of being discovered in localized searches and gain an edge over your competitors in your niche.