Every update (of which there may be several in a month), allows Google to become more transparent and accurate in its search results.
One of these updates includes an updated ‘help page‘ in Google My Business.
This resource details how you can improve your local rankings with practical guidance on keeping your business information complete and accurate (physical address, phone number, category), verifying your location(s), keeping your opening hours accurate and managing customer reviews.
It also lists the ways in which Google determines your local ranking…
How well does your local listing match what someone is searching for? This is why it is importnat to ahev all business information as updated and accurate as possible. The more detail, the better and it helps to listen to Google dashboard of where to organise photos etc and how much text should be used. All this creates a fully populated profile that allows the search engine to determine that much more about your webiste.
How close are you to the person searching for a particular term? Bear in mind that relevance will be the stronger signal. If a business is further away from a searcher’s location, but is more likely to have what they’re looking for than a business that’s closer, Google will rank it higher in local results.
Additionally, if a user doesn’t specify a location, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
Basically… How well-known is your business?
Here’s the exact wording on ‘prominence’ from Google…
Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local rankings. 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.
Your business’s overall organic search presence is a ranking factor when it comes to local.
So ultimately, all of your regular, everyday SEO practices that you do to boost your rankings, whether on-page or off, apply to local.
It’s also interesting to note that Google confirmed that customer reviews and ratings are factored into local search ranking. (Although be warned that there was a ‘probably’ in the original text above.)
Experts always figured this was true anyway. Moz previously found that review signals are 8.4% of the overall ‘local ranking pie’.
Canll Dental Design on 01202 677277 to talk through your Local rankings and dental SEO.
With thanks to Christopher Ratcliffe.