Before this year ends (2020), Local search has quickly become one of the most integral parts of marketing small businesses. Why? Because they noticed the potential of an extensive local SEO as it brings them massive amounts of search visibility, and the ability to connect with local customers. Local SEO is one of the best options in the search engine optimization rankings.
Local SEO can be divided into 2 parts:
1. Local – 3 pack rankings and map results
- Local SEO Pack / Map Rankings Factors – Number 1 factor on Local SEO Ranking Factor is My Business Signals which means you’ll need to properly optimize your Google My Business listing. OnPage signals from your website, citation signals, and reviews are the lists of links that are very important as some called this a “Google algorithm”. Map results before were less influenced by the website’s ranking signals, but now those two are intertwined. You need stronger signals on a website if it is not ranking in maps.
2. Organic listing rankings
- Organic Listing / Website Ranking Factors – Links remain as a necessary part of ranking organically. We need to consider all these factors, we see OnPage signals (optimizing your website with appropriate keywords and content), behavioral signals, personalization, and NAP citation signals.
Local Search Ranking Factors
- Google My Business Listing – It is important for ranking, and for your customers, your GMB listing must be filled out as completely as possible. It can be penalized by Google’s ranking algorithm if it is not filled out completely. There are primary listing at Google that is editable in the GMB dashboard and publicly accessible at 3 locations, these are:
- Google Search
- Google Maps
- Local Finder
- GMB Landing Page is the page which usually the homepage or a location page is where a GMB listing links to.
- Local Pack is the regular local 3-pack that appears for most local search terms.
- Local Snack Pack – this listing runs on a different algorithm and niche-based. Local packs include the name, address and phone number of the business with user’s reviews.
- Local Finder is the complete list of local results extended listing of local businesses that appears when the “More places” link at the bottom of a local pack is clicked.
- Local Services Ads are the special packs that are generated by Google’s paid lead generation program. Local Service Ads are pay per leads and not by click. With these packs, specific industries and cities appear at the top of local search results.
General Ranking Factors
- Google My Business signals – properly setting up your GMB listing is an integral part of getting your business noticed by both Google and potential customers (proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.)
- Citation signals are great for getting consistent information about business out onto the web and acquiring local backlinks from legitimate and authoritative websites (IYP/Aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.)
- On-page signals – search engines will look out for the use of keywords that are highly relevant and strategically placed to work out where your site belongs (presence of NAP, keywords in titles, Domain Authority, etc.)
- Link signals are the signals that come up with search engines with an idea of how important your website is (inbound anchor text, linking Domain Authority, linking domain quantity, etc.)
- Review signals – positive online reviews help to paint your business as trustworthy, reliable, and legitimate. (review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.)
- Social signals refer to a webpage’s collective shares, likes and overall social media visibility as recognized by search engines (Google engagement, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.)
- Behavioral/mobile signals – using this factor can influence website rankings (click-through rate, dwell time, mobile clicks to call, Social Media Check-ins)
Specific Ranking Factors
- Foundational vs Competitive Factors
- Focusing on More and Focusing on Less
- Negative Ranking Factors