Written by: Briony Cullin
Published: 28 July, 2021
Performing well in local search is essential for a lot of businesses. If you’re looking to attract customers or clients in your local area to your business, then our guide to the key factors which impact local business rankings will help you reach those people.
In terms of Google search, "local results are based primarily on relevance, distance and prominence." (via Google). This means that when a user searches, Google will take these elements into consideration when displaying results.
Search results may vary from user to user depending on their search location and the keywords that they used.
An example of this is a user searching for “Sushi, Oakridge” might be more likely to see a sushi restaurant which is slightly further away than a Japanese restaurant in Oakridge. Google takes into account the search term the user has searched for to display the most relevant result.
When doing city-specific searches, like Oakridge, you will notice that Google tends to either match results closest to the geographical center of the city or will use your IP to match locations closest to your physical location. Searches for “sushi near me” will also match results closest to your actual location.
The factors you should consider for your own business include:
Let’s delve into each of these in turn.
1. Have an up-to-date Google My Business listing
There’s so many aspects to Google My Business (GMB) and it’s one of the most under-utilised aspects we see in terms of local search. Here’s the specific sections we recommend checking within GMB:
Check all the information on your profile. Are your business hours current? Have you included COVID-19 information for your business? The more detail you provide, the more useful your profile is to users. This in turn can help improve your Google visibility.
Does your GMB profile have reviews from happy customers? Make sure you reply to them to say thank you to your customers for leaving the reviews! Also monitor your profile for any negative reviews, or spam reviews. Keeping on top of these will help keep your profile fresh and accurate. Want to learn more about managing your reviews? Check out our blog post about how to manage your Google reviews.
Posts are like short-form social media posts where you can promote special offers or events. The products feature lets you show details of specific products on your listings which customers can then click through to your website to purchase.
The Q&A feature is used by customers when they have a specific question about your business which they are happy for anyone to answer. For example, a customer might ask “is this restaurant keto friendly?” and other reviewers will reply. As the business owner, you are also able to reply and should make sure you do, so that the correct answer is displayed on your profile.
Photos on your listing will really help your business stand out - no matter what kind of business you have. Whether you sell products or provide services, people want to know the people behind the business so make sure you have professional headshots on the listing. You can also add photos of the physical business premises - inside and out - to help customers find you when they visit!
We also recommend using UTM links on your Google My Business profile for analytics. Read more about how to use UTM parameters in our blog post.
2. Name, Address & Phone number - and why it matters
Google as a search engine tries to understand references to your business across the internet. It uses NAP - or name, address and phone number - to do this. Thinking about your business across the internet, do you always use the same format for the address? Are you always using the same business phone number? Make sure your citations are consistent across the internet.
Looking to take your local business ranking to the next level? CRO:NYX Digital can provide you with expert SEO guidance.
Briony's background as a lawyer in Australia is a uncommon but very handy foundation for her attention to detail and enthusiasm for improving rankings & ROI.