Google Local Search Results

Google Local Search Results – What You Need to Know

This is the second article in the series: “Unlock the Door to New Customers with Local SEO”

Google is constantly changing and updating its search algorithms and it is important for businesses to keep up with the latest information and trends. For a business who operates locally, one of the most important functions of Google search are the Local Search Results.

The Map Pack

When a user searches for a service or type of business, Google will display the top three results along with organic search results on the first page. This top three is called the Map Pack. This is extremely high value real estate and it is the goal of a successful SEO strategy is to have your business appear in these top three listings.

All other businesses will be listed on a Google Local Listings page accessed with the “More Listings” button in the Google determined ranking order. The further down the list, the more likely you will not get a phone call.


How Results Are Ranked

A Local search works like any other search. Google, like all other search engines, scans through its index to provide the best results based on the search criteria provided. What makes local search different are the ranking factors used to rank the search results.

google ranking
Source “How to Improve Your Local Ranking”, Google December 2022

Relevance refers to how well a local Business Profile matches to what someone is searching for.

Distance considers how far each potential search result is from the location term used in a search. If a user doesn’t specify a location or used the term “near me” in their search, the distance will be calculated based on what Google knows about the user’s location.

Prominence is based on information that Google has about a business from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking and more reviews and positive ratings can greatly improve your business’ local ranking. Your position in normal web results is also a factor, so organic search engine optimization is a part of a local SEO strategy.

Prominence can be the most important to achieving a higher search engine result ranking and can be broken down to the following components:

  • The location the person is searching from
  • NAP+W citations (name, address, phone numbers and website)
  • Presence of optimized Google Business Profile listing
  • Keywords used in Google Business Profile
  • Sentiment of online reviews
  • Number of “check-ins” at the location
  • Shares on social media
  • Google Maps star rating for the business

Local search still needs organic SEO. Optimizing website elements like page titles, header tags, meta descriptions can improve rankings. Local based and relevant content such as blog posts and user reviews are also key components to improve your search engine rankings.

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