April 5, 2016
Google has recently announced how which factors play a part in local SEO, and how it decides on when your business is shown in local results.
Updating their Google My Business help page, the search engine have included details on how it determines your local ranking, and these are:
Relevance – Unsurprisingly, Google will show websites which are most relevant to the search query. According to the help document “adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.”
Distance – Google will show results based on how far each business is based on the location term used in a search. The help page adds “if a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.”
Prominence – This essentially means how well your business is known. The help guide reads “some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.”
“Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.”
Essentially, this last bit means that if you’re not focusing enough on your ‘traditional’ SEO for organic search, then you’re going to struggle to appear in local search results too.
In addition to all of this, Google have also made it easier for people to leave reviews for your business, by removing the need for the user to have a G+ account. This should increase the number of reviews left, which in turn will help your local business ranking. As part of this, Google have also updated the user interface for adding reviews, and here’s what it looks like.