Anatomy of Google's Local Search Algorithm

Word count: 559 Reading Level: College Student Reading time: 2.03 Mins

Geocentric Local SEO is really important, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses. Users conducting searches from mobiles tagging their search term “near me” have been on the rise in the past couple of years. This really stresses the importance of optimising your business website for local searches, especially when your business relies heavily on local customers. There are several vital elements, such as; citations, user generated reviews, Google My Business registration, locally focused content which should be factored for while optimising your website for local searches. Publishing a solution to the query, “Where is the nearest XYZ in suburb yoursuburb?” can always help you to rank better in no time.

Being mobile friendly

Your website must be mobile friendly to rank locally. Google may not even should your website in search results if you are not. Additionally, in Australia and most other countries most searches are from mobile devices and a very large percentage result in a purchase or in contact being made with the business. The figures are far higher than desktop. Furthermore, ensure you website hosting is as fast as possible, mobile users will suffer the most from a budget web hosting service.

Correct use of backlinks

Backlinks have been a large governing factor that will still give a website search rank in the local SEO space. Studies have proved that backlinks have a distinctive factor, which influences even Google 'My Business' Rankings. A word of warning here, don't just get any old company to create backlinks. The best backlinks take a lot of work to achieve and no 'Insta-backlink' creator will help, in fact the effect will likely be very negative.

Content length & search term density

Even when search experts claim that Google has been relying on more sophisticated ranking algorithms, real-time studies show that the length of content and search term (similar to keyword) density on a website's pages are directly proportional to local rankings. Additionally, it is very important to have user generated reviews and/or local based content in your niche matter.

Google My Business

Getting your business registered on Google My Business will create a positive effect on your local search ranking. Often this may be all that is required to get a first-page ranking. Further blustering your My Business registration with customer reviews can further improve GMB rankings, especially when others in your space don't have them. Visually, users will more likely click through on a business with a high star review rating and are less likely to click through if the rating is low.

Search terms in your Business Name

Incorporating search terms in your business name has been pitched as an ideal strategy to rank better in Google My Business. As a matter of fact, using popular search terms in your business name is associated with an improved ranking of up to 1.5 places. Though for the sake of a small ranking gain, having an easily spelled while unique name is probably more important.

Summing up

When it comes to Local SEO in 2016, it is essential for you to focus on all the above-mentioned attributes. Concentrate more on quality link building and keeping your website optimised. Focus on your strategy and be consistent with your local SEO tactics. Try to match your business with Google’s best practice website guidelines and launch an active and useful content strategy to get started.

Bibliography:

Mozcom. (2016, no-date). Match Your Local SEO to Your Business Type with the Local SEO Checklist. [Weblog]. Retrieved 17 July 2016, from https://moz.com/blog/local-seo-checklist

Localseoguidecom. (2016, no-date). How Does Google's Local Search Algorithm Work?. [Weblog]. Retrieved 17 July 2016, from http://www.localseoguide.com/guides/2016-local-seo-ranking-factors/

Joyannehawkinscom. (2016, 13 June 2016). The Ultimate Guide to Fighting Spam on Google Maps. [Weblog]. Retrieved 17 July 2016, from http://www.joyannehawkins.com/ultimate-guide-fighting-spam-google-maps/

Searchenginelandcom. (2015, 9 January 2015). Everything You Need To Know About Google's Local Algorithm, Pigeon. [Weblog]. Retrieved 17 July 2016, from http://searchengineland.com/everything-need-know-pigeon-algorithm-211771

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