10 Important Factors of Google Local Search Ranking Algorithm

by YC Ng on January 21, 2011

Search engine optimization has become harder by the day as Google change its ranking criteria. Local SEO managers are facing an especially tough time trying to figure out ways to get the biggest hits for their companies and clients.

It used to be a lot easier. Define the correct keywords is just one focus to get your website ranked high in the search engines. Now, you have to localize your efforts to the region you wish to target on. If you ask for the most important factors for local search ranking, it is going to be dependent on many things…

1. Business Address in City of Search. The first consideration when it comes to local search ranking is the address of the company. Having an address located in the city being searched largely affects local rankings. Google Places has become an intelligent inspector of addresses, and a business website will rank higher in a local search if the address provided in the city being searched.

2. Proper Business Categories. The category of business matters and it is important to categorize your business correctly so that it does not get listed in other unrelated searches. This is a very important factor! Use proper keywords in custom categories.

3. Keyword in Business Title.

However, if you would like to strengthen your ranking in Google, it will be fantastic if your business name includes your keyword. If you are in a bakery business, it will be good to include the word ‘bakery’ in your business name as it will help with your Google ranking. But then again, your business name is a very commercial choice which should not only take into consideration search engine ranking. It is necessary to ensure that the business name that you choose is one that will give you the creativity and flexibility to thrive.

4. Volume of Citations.

One of the most time-consuming but rewarding SEO methodology is having other sites mention your products & services, giving the site more credibility. Google relies heavily on such mentions and has gone a step further by determining whether the mentions are positive or negative remarks about a business. Apparently, Google decided to take into consideration businesses with good customer service and high customer satisfaction when it comes to ranking a business website. This means companies must find ways to improve on customer service so that the money they spend on SEO services will not go down the drain because of any bad mention from unhappy customers.

5. Complete Google Places Profile. Making sure your listings are claimed with complete information and verified is crucial. This will put your business on Google Map, and only valid companies will be able to do this. Google has a way to verify your business existence, by phone or by postcard. This is probably Google’s way to prevent spamming and false businesses from cheating the general public.

6. Consistent Business Info. Your business information should be consistent across the board. If there are mentions about your company on other sites, it should carry the same contact information as your own site instead of having different information which may seem, to Google, a spam and derogatory information about your business.

7. Reviews and Rating.

Again, Google reminds us about the quality of our business, especially in customer satisfaction, when it comes to ranking high in the search engine. Google Maps is not just a search engine, but a recommendation engine. It recommends the most interesting places to visit, the best restaurants to dine in and a lot of other businesses for the convenience of the public, especially for a tourist. For this simple reason, Google will wish to highlight the best venues on its map so that web users will trust the convenience that Google tries to deliver with its map function. Hence, it also checks on the credibility of the business and follows reviewers recommendations closely.

8. Quality of Incoming Links to Website. Incoming links are the important factors in SEO. Quality is always important than quantity. If inbound links are local in nature, they can have a positive effect on local rankings.

9. My Map.

Those who have a Google account and familiar with its customized “My Map” function will probably know that users may tag a particular business on the Google Map for a familiar and repetitive reference of the venue. It is probably out of your control, but it does help if more people are tagging your company location especially if you are in a retail business. There may also be other geotagging ways, such as some tours and travels sites that may include a map that can be indexed by Google. This is, again, Google’s interest in the public sentiments to consider a site for higher ranking in its search engine.

10. Other SEO Factors. While all the “new” Google search engine ranking criteria are useful to help a site rank higher in this search engine, one must never neglect some of the traditional SEO factors such as age of the Place page, age of the website domain and PR of the website. These factors still play vital importance to the ranking of a page.

Based on the 10 factors above, it is obvious that Google is putting pressure on businesses so that it may keep its customers coming back to the search engine. The shocking revelation that Facebook has become the King of the web may have triggered Google’s intention to further improve on its users’ experience. Such improvements will also be beneficial to the public, and to businesses who are playing fairly in the World Wide Web.

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