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Ranking Factors for Local SEO and Google My Business

David Halmai, B.Comm.
  •  July 8, 2023


Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website and online presence to rank higher for local searches. Local searches are queries that have a geographic intent, such as “pizza near me” or “dentist in Chicago”.

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to create and manage a profile for your business on Google. Your GMB profile can display your business name, address, phone number, website, hours, reviews, photos, products, services, and more.

Ranking well for local SEO and GMB can help you attract more customers, increase your visibility, and grow your reputation. But how do you rank well for local SEO and GMB? What are the factors that Google considers when ranking local results?

In this article, we will cover the most important ranking factors for local SEO and GMB, based on research and best practices. We will also provide some tips on how to optimize your website and GMB profile for each factor.

Google My Business Ranking Factors
Google My Business Ranking Factors

Search Relevance for Local SEO

Search Relevance is the degree to which your website and GMB profile match the user’s search intent. Google wants to show the most relevant results for each query, so it will analyze your content, keywords, categories, attributes, and other information to determine how well you fit the user’s needs.

To improve your relevance for local SEO and GMB, you should:

  • Conduct keyword research to find out what your target audience is searching for locally. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, or SEMrush to find relevant keywords with high search volume and low competition.
  • Optimize your website content for your target keywords. Include them in your title tags, meta descriptions, headings, body text, images, and URLs. Make sure your content is informative, engaging, and answers the user’s questions.
  • Optimize your GMB profile for your target keywords. Include them in your business name (if possible), category, description, products, services, attributes, and posts. Make sure your profile is complete and accurate.
  • Use schema markup to add structured data to your website. Schema markup is a code that helps Google understand what your website is about and display rich snippets in the search results. For example, you can use schema markup to add information about your location, reviews, opening hours, events, etc.

Proximity to User’s Location for Local SEO

Proximity is the distance between the user’s location and your business location. Google wants to show the most convenient results for each query, so it will use the user’s device location or the location term in the query to rank the results.

To improve your proximity for local SEO and GMB, you should:

  • Claim and verify your GMB profile. This will help Google confirm your business location and display it on Google Maps and other Google products.
  • Add or update your address on your website and GMB profile. Make sure your address is consistent across all platforms and matches the format used by Google.
  • Embed a Google Map on your website. This will help Google associate your website with your location and provide directions to your customers.
  • Build local citations on relevant directories and platforms. Citations are mentions of your business name, address, phone number, and website (NAPW) on other websites. They can help Google validate your location and increase your authority. Some examples of citation sources are Yelp, Facebook, BBB, Yellow Pages, etc.

Business Prominence and Reputation on Google My Business

Prominence is the popularity and reputation of your business online. Google wants to show the most trustworthy and authoritative results for each query, so it will use various signals such as reviews, ratings, links, social media activity, and online mentions to rank the results.

To improve your prominence for local SEO and GMB, you should:

  • Encourage and respond to customer reviews on Google and other platforms. Reviews are one of the most influential factors for local SEO and GMB, as they can affect your click-through rate, conversion rate, and trustworthiness. Ask your customers to leave honest feedback on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or other platforms that are relevant to your industry and location. Respond to reviews in a timely and professional manner, thanking your customers for their support and addressing any issues or complaints.
  • Build high-quality links from relevant and authoritative websites. Links are another important factor for local SEO and GMB, as they can boost your domain authority, traffic, and visibility. Reach out to local bloggers, journalists, influencers, or organizations that are related to your niche and offer them value in exchange for a link to your website. For example, you can offer them a guest post, a testimonial, a discount, a sponsorship, or a collaboration.
  • Increase your social media presence and engagement. Social media can help you increase your brand awareness, reach, and loyalty. Create and maintain profiles on platforms that are popular among your target audience, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Share valuable content, interact with your followers, and join relevant groups or communities. You can also use social media to promote your GMB profile and encourage reviews.
  • Monitor and manage your online reputation. Your online reputation is the perception that people have of your business based on what they see and hear online. It can affect your credibility, customer satisfaction, and sales. You should monitor and manage your online reputation by tracking your mentions, reviews, ratings, feedback, and complaints on various platforms. You should also address any negative or inaccurate information and showcase your positive achievements and testimonials.

Conclusion to Ranking Factors for Local SEO and Google My Business

Local SEO and GMB are essential for any business that wants to attract more local customers and grow their online presence. By optimizing your website and GMB profile for relevance, proximity, and prominence, you can improve your chances of ranking higher for local searches and increasing your traffic, leads, and sales.


References:
How to improve your local ranking on Google. https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en.

David Halmai, Ads Specialist

David Halmai, B.Comm.

David is a Senior Paid Search Specialist at Clicks Freak, with over 23 years of experience in the Digital Marketing space working with B2B and B2C companies, in a variety of verticals. He is a Google Ads Certified and loves to help others out where possible. His goal is to deliver both consumers and clients the best experiences possible.


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