Important Local SEO Ranking Factors

Written by: Jason Bayless | April 21, 2016

If you have a business that serves a specific geographical region, it is important that you optimize your website to increase its ranking in local searches. Knowing some of the factors that have the biggest impact on your website’s ranking is important when positioning it to get the best ranking possible. Fortunately, Moz (an SEO expert) has done an exhaustive research and come up with 8 key factors that determine a site’s ranking in local searches (1). You, therefore, don’t have to work with factors you are not sure of their importance. Here is a discussion of these 8 factors listed in order of importance.

On-page signals

This is the most important factor in ranking for local searches. It refers to the presence of your business name and contacts, important keywords in your page titles, URLS and headings. All these help to boost your sites local relevance and increase your SEO rankings.

Link Signals

When it comes to links to your site, it is not just the quantity that matters; their quality and authority plays a major role in pushing up your website’s ranking in local searches and, therefore, traffic to your site.

My Business signals

Having a Google My Business profile page is crucial in achieving higher rankings in local searches. Make sure to include your business’ address, phone number, and opening hours on your landing page. In addition, list your business in the correct category. A listing in the wrong category can have a devastating impact on its online visibility.

External location signals

Having other sites mention your business’ name and contacts such as phone number and address significantly increases its ranking even if there are no links directed to your site. It is, therefore, important than your phone number, address, business name and geographical location be consistent in all places that mention your business such as local directories, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, industry directories and your website itself.

Behavioral signals

Presence of click-to-call for mobile phone users, coupons, offers and check-ins is important not only in generating revenue for your business but also in improving the ranking of your site.


Search engines often personalize search results based on factors such as the identity and location of the user. That is why it is important to include your address, name and contacts on each page of your site. It is also important that you encourage users to leave a review and share your page as such acts increase its social visibility and rankings. Another factor that is increasingly becoming prominent in ‘personalization’ of searches is mobile experience. Users now use mobile phones more than desktops in making searches online. It is, therefore, important that you make your site as mobile-friendly as possible.

Review signals

Users are increasingly relying on reviews to make purchasing decisions. It is this reason that has informed Google’s decision to increase the prominence of user reviews in ranking sites. To achieve higher rankings, the reviews should be many, not acquired over a very short time as that will bring their credibility into question and diverse.

Social signals

Factors such as number of Facebook fans, likes, comments, shares, twitter mentions and followers and other factors that show your social media strength also play a significant role in determining your site’s rankings.

It is important to understand that these factors are not exactly what search engines such as Google use to rank websites; rather they are some of the major characteristics of web pages that rank high. A proper understanding of these factors together with knowledge and experience of search engine algorithms will definitely help you better your SEO practices.