What’s New In Google’s Local Search Update?
In November, Google announced their latest local search and map algorithm and ranking update. The announcement was in line with marketing predictions, that had already been suggesting the search engine had changed the way they displayed local search results.
The exciting new update favours local businesses by honing in on specified search locations, or user’s whereabouts, and promoting them with increased prominence on search engine result pages (SERPs).
This is great news for smaller, local businesses working on their local SEO rankings. By levelling the playing field to give them more real estate on SERPs, and boosting their Google My Business rankings, they’re going to be more easily discovered by potential customers close by.
Ranking Factors For Google’s Local Search
So what are the ranking factors Google is looking for in local searches?
Relevance is key to search engine ranking, and it all depends on how your company’s Google My Business profile is optimised to best suit search results. Businesses should take great care to fill out their GMB accounts with up to date, accurate, and relevant information, to increase their chances of being featured in local searches. (For help with this, check out our post about setting up your Google My Business.)
Distance ranking factor takes into account the location of the searcher, and uses this to produce relevant search results. Even if the user hasn’t specified a location in their search, Google can estimate the best results by using the position of the searcher, and therefore show relevant results to them.
SEO, online directories, and Google My Business, are just a few tools Google uses to determine how prominent, or well-known a business is. Asking customers for Google reviews, and including articles or web links on your website, will let Google know you’re an active, trusted business in your area and in turn, you may feature higher on SERPs.
What Businesses Can Do To Help Their Google Local Search
Google My Business optimisation is by far the most important tool to help you take advantage of Google’s algorithm update. This simple tool is how potential customers find key information about your business at a glance, such as address, phone number, and opening hours, and incorrect info can have a direct, real-world impact on your sales.
Give your business the best chance to make the most of local searches by:
- Adding relevant business information
Add or update your businesses details and website link, to ensure potential customers can find you! If you have a physical shop or business location, keeping your address up to date is critical to ensure your customers can find you, and for improving your local search rankings.
- Improve your website
Make your website Google-friendly by employing best practice SEO tactics, to land a higher ranking. This may be done by creating engaging content, adding relevant inbound, outbound and internal links, and including keyword research throughout, to ensure Google knows what you’re selling or offering as it ‘reads’ your website.
- Google reviews
Ask and encourage all your customers to review your business on Google. This lets it know you’re an operating business with real customers, and strengthens your business’ prominence. Positive reviews are always favourable, but use any negative feedback constructively, to improve your product or service and ensure ongoing success, beyond Google.
Where To Go From Here
If SEO practices and Google rankings seem overwhelming and out of your wheelhouse, we can help! As a leading Perth SEO agency, we’re proud to offer a full suite of services, including SEO optimised website design, ongoing managed SEO campaigns, and one on one coaching, to help you if you’d like to take your marketing into your own hands. We were delighted to be selected as 2021 Finalists in the SEO Effectiveness category of the Australian Web Awards, and we love sharing our knowledge and expertise to help our clients bloom! For SEO assistance and coaching for your business, contact us today, or sign up for our newsletter below.