It’s the gold nugget understanding Google ranking and algorithm. How to rank your local business in Google by understanding the ranking factors Google My Business requires for SEO.
The above statement is a mouthful if you’re not familiar with SEO. But it does make perfect sense if we break it down. (SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation) If we can understand the way Google ranks your GMB listing, we will be able to boost your business higher in the search engines.
“5-star ratings in Google My Business are not as important as you think”Zanet Design
But there lies the big question. Who knows how local SEO ranking works? Additionally, are most business owners relying on the wrong ranking factors through old and outdated information?
While there are numerous suggestions about how adding keywords into Google My Business is an important factor, it’s still only one part. Like one piece in a 1000 piece jigsaw that Google keeps close to its chest. So today I’m excited to look at the complete breakdown of factors that affect local SEO for small business ranking.
You must use Google My Business to the full. For a free video guide, Zanet Design provides 4 levels of an entree on their YouTube channel see http://bit.ly/zanetsub
Absolutely. This is one of the biggest gains you can make in local SEO. See below on what we found to have a massive factor on your rankings.
It isn’t about the ratings, it’s about several signals outside of your control plus consistent posting of images, photos and content people want to read and link to. Add all this together and the “cream will rise to the top“.
This recent update to the chart (see screenshot above) is based an incredibly detailed research. This took place back in 2018 where the Local Search Ranking Factors were analysed by Moz. As a couple of years have passed I’ve combined it with my findings and produced these new charts. Head over to Moz as they provide the reasoning behind there findings and the advice from many SEO gurus.
As you can see from the chart, We can quickly unravel one of the biggest mistakes small business owners make. So many times I hear a misunderstanding about the ratings. They look at the competition in there local category. They notice business and competitors are above them in Google maps or Google SERPs. Yet their review rating score is higher! In fact, some are above them and have no review at all!
Well, maybe a few per cent of the ranking factor is tied to the behaviour of the visitor. A potential customer is more likely to click on a higher rated business. Yet it might be further down the ranked page listing. This signals an improve CTR and impacts around 10% of your local ranking in Google.
One of the biggest mistakes small business make is to focus on the obvious. They think it’s all about the score of reviews. A 5-star review is a fixation for them. Most studies would agree reviews are important but not the way you would expect. Around 15% of Googles ranking factor is based on reviews. Break this up and we are talking a huge 5% on the number of reviews, 5% for the velocity and 5% for the diversity. It’s worthwhile concentrating on this and why Google would use this method rather than the score itself.
So lets now focus on boosting your local search ranking with some GMB optimisation.
In most of my articles and videos, you will notice, the best way to view your business is from a certain perpsective. Firstly from the clients point of view. Then from Google. Then fianlly your own. How often this is repeatedly put in any order other than the above.
So let’s take the perspective of your potential clients. If you cant think and act like your potential client you will never appeal to them. You may find inviting random people to search for your business in Google an interesting experiment. This is a great way to achieve a frank understanding of reality. However, be prepared for some honest criticism. When given, listen to it. It may hurt, the truth often does. But a lot of it is what your customers are thinking and yet never tell you.
One of the most obvious steps to take is to improve your local search ranking by adding your business to Google My Business. See my article on how to claim my business on Google.
Once you have registered your business on GMB do spend time filling it out consistently. Fill out as much as you can, add your local towns and cities to the description and areas covered. If you are a service, then map out the area you cover. If you are a shop front. You can add towns cities within the Google maps section of GMB during your registration.
Local Pack Search Ranking Factors Within Googly My Business make up around a quarter of your local business ranking. This is measured through your keywords in the description and business title as well as the proximity of the searcher and the accuracy of your categories.
Proximity in the Moz study shows the importance of convincing Google you are based locally to the searcher. Not only are your Geotags pointing to local coordinates, but your references, outbound links and also your images visually match the landmarks and algorithm Google has for the area in question.
When you blog and post your latest business news to your website. As above, are you thinking with a local mindset? Make sure you link to local events and reference places that would be familiar to other locals. Why? Google just gets it, with its full ability to read images, it knows pretty much how the world looks and what is considered local to locals.
Remember a local focus is very different to a national focus and its that focus that will really help you grow in the local area.
Google gives almost 30% of its ranking factors to business based on on-page and link signals
Link signals include Inbound anchor text which is one of the most well-known Search Engine Optimisation processes, the domain authority through links in and out, which used to be given the name “link juice” and “page rank”.
In more recent time we have spoken about NAP being a large factor and this is still very much the case (for a completed breakdown of optimising NAP go to GMB NAP consistency) Along with NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority on page all make up the Google algorithm.
Its important to add your business to other indexes and citations listings. If you focus too much on Google you can actually lose rank in Google. Let me explain.
Google is giving a huge amount of credit to other Local search indexes. So Yelp, Yell, Gumtree, Tripadvisor etc are all boosting your rankings. NAP (Name, Address. Phone) is still very important here. This is why having a way of scanning your citations is important as part of your optimisation process. I use a free directory scan at Bright Local: https://shrsl.com/2b1lf
Continue to check your NAP consistency and citation volume as that has around 11% impact on local businesses ranking.
Make sure you have an accurate description. Input your correct contact details. Add some extremely good reviews and you will top your local rankings in no time at all. It’s even become more apparent the Google is now pulling content from other social media references and websites. For example here is a reference from a Facebook page reported recently on Twitter.
You now know that the ratings on your Google My Business are more about the quantity, velocity and diversity. Whereas the score itself is more likely to encourage improved CTR behaviour.
Additionally we looked at the importance of thinking form a local perspective and reflecting this in your GMB listing. Don’t forget the benefits of Inbound anchor text and linking domain authority. With internal linking and on-page ranking these signal a huge factor in Googles Algorithm. It has been estimated around 30% of your ranking in Google is made up of these.
Add to that the growing importance of citations. The consistency in the details of your business. In total that covers more than 50% of your Google algorithm. Now we are cooking on gas! We now know where to scratch the itch or in basic terms. What makes up your local SEO signals in Googles ranking factor.
Do you need an experienced professional to manage your website and help your small business grow on the web? If you consider building up authority in Google a chore. You see it as a necessary evil in the running of your business and would prefer to let a trustworthy expert handle this for you then I guess that’s where you may want to contact me and book in a quick consultation.
Let me know what is needed on my contact page. We can take a look at some great solutions together.