Google’s Top 4 Local SEO Ranking Factors for 2020

In 2020, the importance of local search engine optimization, or local SEO, cannot be overstated. To prove this point, just think about what you search for when you’re on the go. More than likely, your search includes local intent, which essentially means “results around me and my sphere of influence.” Everything from events and sports scores to lawyers, restaurants and dentist offices get lumped into this category. It equates to literally trillions of searches every year.

As a business owner, this represents a massive opportunity. What’s even better is that you’re most likely already taking advantage of Google’s noticeable shift to favor local results and you don’t even realize it. Whenever “local intent” is triggered, Google will also change what the typical search engine result page (we in the SEO industry just say “SERP”) looks like.

 

What Does Australian Local SEO Look Like in 2020?

Back in the day, a simple Google search would give you, for the most part, paid ads first and then the most relevant web pages and websites the search engine could find after that. Today, Google has come a lot further in its mission to “organize the world’s information” — and learned that it profits most if it serves that information at a glance, right in front of you.

The Google SERP is designed to keep you on Google.com instead of leading you somewhere else to explore. Have you noticed how, most of the time, the answer to your question is now prominently displayed right on the Google page? Google makes more money when you stay on its web properties. It can serve you more ads and collect more data.

Many people look for business information on Google. With that being the case, it is important to treat your business’s appearance on Google’s homepage the same as you would your own website’s homepage. However, creating an easy-to-understand Google listing that makes a compelling case as to why your organization deserves the customer’s time, attention and money is easier said than done. Getting your listing to appear above related businesses is even trickier — and it requires education in local SEO.

 

Local Search Ranking Signals

Local ranking signals are constantly changing over time, which makes it much more difficult to stay on top of local search marketing. Google has three main local SEO ranking factors that every local business should take into consideration when optimizing their online presence for local search: proximity, prominence and relevance.

  1. Proximity

Because many Google search queries are made with local intent, proximity is a key ranking factor. Proximity is mainly dependent on the distance between a business’s physical location and a Google user’s location when performing a search. However, Google may be unclear that it’s seeing the same thing as your users without consistent citations. A citation refers to any place your business’ information appears together online within directories, social media profiles and the website. Google My Business (GMB) is by far the most important place for a citation to exist for a local business.

Above all, Google most values these four things: name, address, phone number and website URL (NAPW). NAPW citations can appear in one of two ways:

Company Name, Street Address, City, State, Postcode, (Phone Number)

Or:

Company Name

Street Address

Suburb, City, State, Post Code

(Phone Number)

Inconsistent NAPW citations will blur Google’s focus as to where you’re situated, whereas consistent NAPW citations will sharpen it — think of taking a pair of glasses off and putting them back on. If there are inaccurate citations, reach out to the editor or publisher of the site or blog and request for the change to be made.

  1. Prominence

You’ve helped Google better see you; now you must prove that you deserve to be seen. Prominence is measured by credentials, perceived online through ratings and reviews, social signals, inbound links, user engagement, and the overall domain and website authority.

While social signals and engagement rely on users, businesses do have control over getting more inbound links and reviews. A strong link-building strategy coupled with consistently receiving good reviews and ratings can take a local search presence to the next level and set a business apart from the competition.

Top4.com.au is a really cool platform that uses one dashboard to manage all of your social media strategies with a focus on localizing content, managing online reputation and ads for multi-location businesses and franchises

Top4.com.au lets users review your business, and we help you manage those reviews. That way, we help you maintain trusted online credentials and tell Google that your business deserves to be seen.

  1. Google Relevance

Even if your business boasts a visible and credible web presence, it still has to be correctly targeted. Google’s end goal is to provide users with the most relevant search results based on their intent. The best way to be more relevant is through local keyword optimization, which involves adding local keywords to your website, blog posts, GMB listing, social media profiles and other areas of your web presence.

If you’re a multi-location business, consider creating pages on your website for each of your locations that feature hours, contact info, staff members, and specific products and services offered at that location.

Website and social media optimisation is a lot of work. Most business owners don’t have time for that when they’re already so busy running their business. That’s where Top4 comes in. We’ll manage all of your social media presence across platforms — for only a small monthly fee.

  1. Get Found In Local Search

Building an optimized web presence can be difficult, especially with no knowledge of the blueprints. Local SEO experts are like virtual civil engineers, ensuring that your local search credentials are consistently up to code. Stand out with a sound structure; run your business with a clear focus.

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