Google My Business: Updates to Local Ranking Factors

Google has confirmed the local search ranking factors that impact how your Google listing shows up in the local pack results. So, what are these factors, and what does this mean for your local business’ listing? Let’s explore.

What factors impact local search results?

In addition to accurate, complete business information, Google says that there are three key factors that impact a business’ local ranking: relevance, distance, and prominence. You’re already familiar with making sure your listing is relevant to the search term and the searcher’s location, which are important factors in Google’s algorithm.

But with the addition of prominence, Google is now saying your entire web presence, like quality links, articles about your business, and the presence of other local directories can all impact how your Google listing ranks for local searches.

What is prominence and how can you take advantage of it?

Prominence refers to how well known your business is online as well as offline.

According to Google, “Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the Web (like links, articles, and directories).”

So, for example, if you’re searching for a restaurant in Dallas, you may see well-known chains or famous eateries in the area before you see lesser-known or possibly inaccurate results. Same goes for famous store brands. Google is looking to show searchers places or brands they’re familiar with in an effort to display the most relevant results possible.

This means it’s more important than ever to make sure information about your business is accurate online, not just on your website and your Google listing itself. That’s because if Google is looking at all the information about your business across various articles and directories, it’s important that your business is represented correctly in those places. Some of this you can control: for instance, by verifying and managing your business listings, you can help present a clear and accurate picture of your business online.

How does reputation play into your local rank?

Another interesting piece of information is that Google has said reviews and customer feedback may play into a business’s prominence or search rank.

“Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and more positive rating will probably improve a business’s local ranking,” Google says.

The key word here is “probably,” but this does point toward the growing importance of customer feedback, and your business should make its online reputation a part of your local SEO strategy.

What do these Google ranking factors mean for your business?

Google stresses that the usual search ranking factors like relevance, distance, and your organic search presence still apply when determining which results to show for local queries. So, continue working on your local SEO strategy, make sure your business information is correct across the Web, and start building up your online reputation to boost your chances of appearing in local search results for your products and services.

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Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the Sr. Marketing Manager for USA TODAY NETWORK | LOCALiQ. She has experience in digital marketing, social media management, and content creation for SMBs. Stephanie specializes in helping businesses improve their online reputation and appreciate the impact social media and digital marketing can have on their brand. When she isn't researching the latest online marketing tips and trends, she enjoys watching reality TV with her husband and her dogs.

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