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Local Search Ranking Factors in 2024

Local Search Ranking Factors

Welcome to our list of local search rankings for 2024! We’re here to walk you through the essentials, from your Google Business Profile to the impact of reviews and on-page elements.

As the significance of local search grows, so does the complexity of search algorithms, which have evolved significantly in recent years.

Search engines like Google focus on delivering users the most relevant and proximate information. Achieving high rankings in local search results now requires a well-thought-out strategy, considering various factors to meet these evolving algorithmic criteria.

Let’s get into it.

Google Business Profile Factors

Here are three specific factors within the GBP and how they relate to your search ranking.

Business Title

The name you choose for your GBP is more than just a label; it’s a potential SEO tool.

For example, a bakery specializing in custom cakes might benefit from a name like “Custom Cake Creations by Jane” rather than a vague “Jane’s Shop.”

This strategic use of keywords can help improve your visibility for relevant searches.

Categories

The categories you select in your GBP should accurately reflect your business’s offerings.

For instance, a restaurant primarily serving vegan cuisine would benefit from being categorized under “Vegan Restaurant” to attract the right audience.

Up to ten categories can be selected, allowing for a nuanced representation of your services.

Website URL

The URL linked in your GBP can influence how your business is perceived and ranked.

Linking to a well-established page on your site, such as a page detailing your services or a popular blog post, can enhance the authority of your listing. Conversely, linking to a less significant page might yield different benefits.

Your Google Business Profile also hosts various other features, such as attractive photos, dynamic posts, a Q&A area, booking options, direct messaging, and detailed hours of operation. 

These components, though not direct ranking factors, are instrumental in converting visits to sales. 

The influence of such elements on search rankings is an area of active study, and it’s beneficial to evaluate their effectiveness within your market context.

Review Factors

Review factors are vital to local SEO and can significantly impact a business’s visibility in search engine results. Let’s break down the types of reviews and their nuances that could influence your rankings.

Types of Reviews:

Google-based Reviews

Customers leave reviews and star ratings directly on your Google Business Profile. Given that they’re on Google’s platform, they are apparent and can significantly influence how potential customers perceive your business.

Third-Party Review Sites

Reviews on external platforms like Yelp or industry-specific sites like Zagat also matter. These reviews contribute to your business’s overall online reputation and can indirectly affect your search engine rankings by influencing your business’s perceived trustworthiness and popularity.

First-Party Reviews on Your Website

Displaying customer testimonials and reviews directly on your website can enhance credibility and provide fresh, relevant content, which search engines value. It also lets you showcase positive customer experiences to potential clients visiting your site.

Nuances Impacting Rankings:

Recency

Fresh, recent reviews can signal to search engines (and potential customers) that your business is active and relevant. Outdated reviews may suggest a need for ongoing customer engagement or business activity.

Velocity

The frequency with which your business receives new reviews can indicate its popularity and customer engagement. A steady flow of reviews may contribute positively to your search engine rankings.

Diversity

Having reviews on multiple platforms, including your Google Business Profile, third-party sites, and your website, demonstrates a broad and authentic customer base. It suggests that your business is recognized and appreciated across different channels.

Authority

Reviews from authoritative sources, such as professional reviewers or participants in programs like Google’s Local Guides, could carry more weight than those from less frequent reviewers. The perceived expertise or influence of the reviewer can add credibility to the review.

Format

The impact of text-based reviews versus star ratings alone can vary. Text reviews provide more detailed feedback and content, which could benefit SEO and customer insights more than ratings without written feedback.

Understanding and optimizing these review factors can enhance your business’s online reputation, positively impacting your search engine rankings. Regular monitoring and active management of your review profile across different platforms are essential strategies in local SEO.

On-Page Factors

Next, we examine key website components that influence how well your business ranks in search engine results. Specific page strengths, the importance of consistently displayed business details, and strategies for optimizing your site content to meet search engine criteria better.

Domain Authority

Predicting a website’s likelihood of ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs). Websites with higher domain authority rank better in local and organic search results than those with lower scores.

A high domain authority indicates a website’s reliability and credibility to search engines.

Page Authority

Assesses the strength of individual web pages. A page with a high authority linked to your Google Business Profile is more likely to influence your rankings positively than one with lower authority. This reflects the importance of each page’s quality and relevance in search rankings.

NAP Consistency

Standing for Name, Address, and Phone Number, NAP consistency is crucial.

Your business’s NAP should be prominently displayed on your website and match the information on your Google Business Profile.

Consistent NAP information across the web helps search engines verify your business’s legitimacy and location, aiding in local search rankings.

Website Optimization

This encompasses optimizing your website’s text content, tags, and internal links to align with your target audience’s search queries.

For example, a page on a local bakery’s website optimized for “gluten-free bakery in [city name]” is more likely to rank higher for those specific search terms than a less optimized competitor’s page.

Content Quality

The quality of the content on your local business website plays a significant role.

Content should be authoritative, well-researched, and free from spelling and grammatical errors. High-quality content can improve your site’s rankings and attract more organic traffic.

Technical and Security Aspects

Technical aspects like the configuration of robots.txt and proper handling of redirects enable search engines to crawl and index your site effectively.

Websites that meet these technical and security standards are more likely to rank higher due to better user experience and trustworthiness.

This covers on-page factors and the various ways your website can achieve better search rankings.

Citation Factors

Citation factors are crucial in local search engine optimization (SEO), directly influencing how a business ranks in search results.

Let’s break down the concept and importance of citations in local SEO:

Structured Citations

These are formal listings of your business on recognized platforms such as Yelp, Nextdoor, or TripAdvisor. They typically include your business’s complete NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information.

Structured citations are essential as they directly contribute to your business’s visibility and credibility in local search results.

Unstructured Citations

These citations occur when your business is mentioned on various platforms, not primarily business directories. This can include mentions on blogs, news sites, or other online platforms.

Unstructured citations enhance your online presence and can positively impact your local SEO, albeit more indirectly than structured citations.

Key Factors in Citations

Accuracy: Ensuring your business’s contact information is consistent across all platforms is vital. Any discrepancies can confuse potential customers and search engines, potentially harming your local SEO efforts.

Distribution: The breadth of your online presence matters. Being listed and cited on multiple platforms increases your visibility and can positively impact your local search rankings.

Quality: The authority of the platforms where your business is listed or cited matters. Citations from well-regarded, high-traffic sites can be more beneficial than those from obscure or low-quality sites.

Relevance: Having your business listed and mentioned on sites relevant to your industry or locality is advantageous. This not only helps in reaching your target audience but also strengthens the context of your citations in the eyes of search engines.

For a deeper understanding of citations and their impact on local SEO, exploring resources like tutorials on the local search ecosystem can be beneficial. 

Additionally, tools like Moz’s Check Presence tool can help you assess the health of your structured citations, offering insights into areas for improvement.

Link Factors

Link factors significantly influence a website’s search engine rankings. Understanding and optimizing these aspects can enhance your SEO strategy.

Let’s examine each factor in detail:

Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA), a ranking score created by Moz, estimates a website’s potential to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). This metric helps in gauging a site’s likely position in search results.

Inbound links from high-authority domains are more beneficial for SEO, as search engines perceive them as more credible and trustworthy.

Page Authority

Page Authority (PA) is a metric created by Moz designed to forecast the ranking performance of a particular webpage on search engine result pages (SERP).

This score helps in predicting the effectiveness of an individual page in its ability to rank on search engines. A high-authority page linking to your site can positively impact your search rankings.

Quantity of Links

The total number of quality inbound links to your site is crucial.

A higher quantity of inbound links indicates popularity and relevance, which can improve your website’s search engine visibility. Equally important are internal links within your site, which aid in navigation and indexing.

Relevance of Links

Links from related industry or topic sites are more valuable and practical than those from unrelated platforms.

For example, a link from a relevant industry blog is more advantageous than one from an unrelated field.

Diversity of Links

A diverse range of websites linking to your site is beneficial for SEO. Various sources linking to your site indicate broad recognition and relevance, enhancing your site’s perceived value.

Link Anchor Text

The actual text used in hyperlinks to your site also matters.

Descriptive, relevant anchor text can enhance the effectiveness of each link.

For example, specific and informative anchor text is more beneficial than generic phrases.

Behavioral Factors

When considering how users interact with your online listings and web pages, numerous behavioral factors come into play.

It is generally understood that the engagement of users with your digital presence through specific actions has a direct positive effect on your rankings.

These actions include, but are not limited to:

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate measures the frequency people click on your listing or website when it appears in search results.

A higher CTR indicates to search engines like Google that your content is relevant and exciting to users, potentially improving your ranking.

Dwell Time

Dwell Time refers to the duration a visitor spends on your page after clicking through from search results.

Longer dwell times can signal to search engines that your content is engaging and valuable, contributing positively to your rankings.

Clicks-to-Call

This metric tracks the number of users who click the “call” button on your listing.

High clicks-to-call rates can indicate that your business is appealing and that users are interested in engaging directly with you.

Clicks-for-Directions

Clicks-for-Directions measure how often users click to get driving directions to your business from your listing.

This behavior strongly indicates local interest and intent to visit, which search engines can interpret as a positive signal.

Clicks-to-Site

This factor gauges the number of users who click through your website from your listing.

High click-to-site rates show that users are interested in learning more about your business, services, or products, which is a positive signal for search engine algorithms.

Elevate your local opportunities with local buyers

With these insights into local search rankings for 2024 now in your arsenal, you’re set to elevate your online presence. 

If this effort seems daunting or you seek specialized help to refine your local SEO and climb the SERPs, we’re here to help. 

Let us assist you in maximizing your website’s potential.