Google has made some recent changes on local ranking signals, including more traditional ranking signals – such as links, articles, and overall standing in web rankings. Google review score and numbers are taken into consideration for local search ranking and the more positive reviews and ratings will serve to improve the local ranking of a business. A company’s position in web results is also a consideration and hence best practices in SEO do apply to the local SEO.
This effectively means that a website’s ranking from organic searches will affect the company’s Google My business page – that is how well or not it appears in local search results. The fact is that if a company does not focus on traditional SEO strategies for its business website, the visibility of the Google My Business page could decrease, since the traditional signals now introduced by Google influence rankings.
Local reviews too have a direct positive affect on local search rankings and a company would be wise to invest time and effort to acquire them. This does not mean only Google reviews, which should be priority – but a company should focus also on getting reviews from other local directories. Building links within the local SEO campaigns is critical and is one of the most overlooked aspects. Comparing standard SEO campaigns to local SEO – local SEO relies a lot more on links from other local sites, which would be extremely important and relevant to a business. The focus is not getting links from websites considered to be ‘an authority’ in their space, but from sites that would be similar to the kind of business a company is involved in. This essentially means that local directories and ‘knowledge’ are highly useful and effective resources to build links, which in turn affect rankings.
Google explained that the reason for adding these new ranking factors became necessary since some local businesses are more popular and visible online than in the ‘real world’ and therefore local search results do count when ranking. Relevance and proximity still have a stronghold with regard to local rankings – which is a reference to the query’s relevance and the distance from the person searching. Google does clarify however, that companies have no way of requesting or paying to get better rankings through their ‘engine’. The most popular search engine says that they protect the details of search algorithm and treat them with utmost confidentiality to ensure that the ranking system is fair and unbiased for everyone involved.