Most people use search to find nearby businesses. Google, the most popular search platform by far, knows this and has implemented several factors to help local businesses rank highly in relevant searches.
The three main factors that determine local search rank, according to Google are:
- Relevance: The business matches what the searcher is looking for.
- Distance: The business is close to the user.
- Prominence: The business is a good example of the search term.
Of these, prominence is the hardest to achieve, but the most important. When there are limited results that are a match for all three factors, Google continues to put the most weight on prominence when determining search results.
Factors in Google Local Prominence
So, what factors are considered when determining prominence?
Ratings and Reviews
Google considers reviews to be an indicator of how well regarded a business is in the eyes of fellow consumers. The average star rating for businesses that earn a rank in the top 20 is about 4.1 stars.
A higher than average volume of reviews is an indicator that a listing has the potential to achieve a top ranking.
Google adds attributes to keep pace with features that searchers are looking for. These include things like woman-owned, pickup or delivery, and virtual appointments. Almost half of listings in high rank positions have at least one prominent attribute selected in their Google Business listing.
Google displays cover photos in the results for generic queries, as well as photos pulled from the gallery in the Google Business profile. Photos are used to demonstrate the relevance of the listing for a particular search.
These are snippets of text pulled from a variety of places, including Google Posts, reviews, and the business website. They are displayed in search results and are a factor in determining the relevance of a listing to specific searches.
What You Can Do
While there is still no way to guarantee you will earn a top search rank for one or more searches, there are things you can do to help your chances.
- Solicit Google reviews and respond to each one using keywords.
- Select all attributes that apply to your business in your Google Business profile.
- Upload great photos that represent your business and what you do.
- Use all of the features of the Google Business listing to reinforce your most important keywords including posts, questions and answers, service attributes, and product/service listings.