Google Releases the Top 3 Local Ranking Factors

Written by: Jason Bayless | April 08, 2017

Although the mysterious, behind-the-scenes workings of the Google algorithm for determining page rank will never be fully known, this search engine giant is fast becoming more transparent for website owners who are looking to streamline and enhance their SEO. Rather than investing money in random optimization campaigns and strategies that may or may not work, business owners currently have the ability to structure their SEO for assured success. This is especially true for owners of local companies given that they now have access to the top three local ranking factors used by this platform.

  1. Relevance

The first factor that determines whether or not your pages will rank well for geographically specific keywords is their overall relevance. Focusing on establishing greater relevance, however, is not about loading your pages with high-interest, industry-specific keywords. Instead, you should be paying attention to things like your bounce rate. Are consumers landing on your pages only to travel immediately back to search results? This indicates that your pages are meeting neither expectations nor needs and that they aren’t truly relevant to the search criteria of the people who are using Google. Working to lower your bounce rate and increase the amount of time that people spend touring and using your online platform is one of the best things that you can do to prove your relevance within your local niche. Also, make sure that all online information about your business, particularly the information in your Google business listing, is up-to-date and accurate.

  1. Distance

You’ll rank infinitely better for geographically local searches if you’ve taken advantage of the Google mapping function and have completed your Google local listing profile in its entirely. You should be mindful of the fact, however, that Google is working to provide hyper-local results. As such, it is using things like conversation cues and the exact location of web users to determine which businesses will prove most convenient and most relevant to individual needs. As such, there are definitely factors pertaining to the distance that lies outside of your control. Moreover, if you don’t take advantage of the mapping function or engage in other activities that connect your organization to its physical address, this search engine will calculate an approximate location for your company, which is unlikely to work out in your best interests.

  1. Prominence

The prominence of your website is ultimately its popularity. The more successful you are in driving traffic to the web pages of your local business, the more prominent or popular it will invariably be. This is something that can be accomplished by building a robust link profile that includes links from the local chamber of commerce websites, niche directories, video and article submission sites, online press releases and more. Rather than going all-out with business directories in order to rapidly increase your inbound links, however, focus on building links organically. Building links too fast and via the wrong strategies can be more detrimental to your local SEO efforts than beneficial.

The Quest To Provide Hyper-Local Results And It’s Impact On Site Design

Before attempting to streamline your local SEO campaign according to the top three local ranking factors, it is important to understand Google’s quest to provide hyper-local results. This search engine has found that more web users are conducting their searches while on the go, than ever before. As such, it is placing an ever-increasing focus on ensuring that websites are accessible via a broad range of mobile devices. Thus, in addition to relevance, distance, and prominence, you also have to work on your overall website design. Your site should be just as viable on mobile phones and tablets as it is on laptops and traditional computers.

Make sure that pages load quickly in every format and that the site remains easy to navigate even when previewed in mobile design. Professionals with existing sites for their local businesses should have these platforms reviewed and improved upon by seasoned design professionals. Those who are still in the formative stages of the design process should account for the fact that having their pages properly coded by knowledgeable designers from the outset will invariably prove cheaper than paying for corrections made in hindsight.