How to Better Understand Google’s Local Algorithm
Local businesses that want to rank higher on their locality are often confused as to how Google picks who gets the best spot. Is it by popularity? By the amount of traffic? Although it can be confusing for some, it’s quite easy to understand how Google works in the local sphere. In this post, we will discuss how Google chooses businesses in the local pack and which should appear on local searches.
Even if you’re not an SEO geek, you can easily grasp the following points.
Criterion no.1: Relevance
The first thing that Google has to consider is your business’ relevance to the search query of the user. For example, if a user searches for “taco store near me” and you’re selling burgers, your business will not be relevant to the search.
That’s a pretty simple concept and one that applies to all websites, regardless if it’s a business page or not.
For this criterion, Google will be asking itself: does this business relates to the search query entered? If not, your business will be filtered out from the local pack. This happens in split seconds.
Criterion no. 2: Prominence
Prominence is somewhat similar to relevance, but it focuses more on the location of the query. For example, if a user searches for “burger joint in 7th avenue”, Google will yield businesses on 7th avenue. That’s the case even if 7th avenue is far away from the searchers’ location. To add, Google gives results that are prominent to the searcher’s word-per-word query.
Here’s another example: a searcher looks up “best burger joint”. In this case, Google will show results regardless of location. They choose the business with the most relevant content and nature to the search. Some businesses, in this case, can be from another city.
Criterion no. 3: Proximity
The third criterion here is the proximity to the user. Google checks if the search result is close enough to the actual location of the searcher. Of all the criteria, this is the defining point of which business gets into the local pack.
For example, if the searcher looks up “burger joint near me”, the results would be the businesses closest to his or her location. This works in line with prominence, even if there’s no given location to the actual search.
So if you want to show up in the local pack, make sure that your GMB account has an accurate location and information about your business. That way, Google will associate your business with an accurate location.
Criterion no. 4: Traditional factors
As much as the three points above are the top criteria for the local pack, other traditional factors could be at play. The likes of domain authority, optimization level, and click-through rates will also affect how a business will show up in the local pack.
Let’s take this example: your burger joint business is located in the same building as another burger joint. With the same prominence, proximity, and relevance to a search query, one of you will be filtered one.
This is where the traditional factors come in. Make sure that your on-page SEO elements are better than your competitor.
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