The Top 5 Google Local Ranking Factors for 2016
Google’s local ranking factors will be one of the most fundamental studies for search marketers and small businesses optimizing local search in 2016. With the Google 3-pack consistently showing for all types of geo-specific keyword searches, local SEO is perhaps the most vital marketing tool for locally-focused business (that want to remain competitive.)
So what are these key Google Local ranking factors that we must pay attention to in 2016? Below we outline the top five to be most aware of for local SEO.
1. Physical Address of Business in Relation to City
This is a Google local ranking factor that’s often outside the realm of local SEO and control of most small businesses, however it is still important to note. When people search for a particular product or service related to your business, there are higher chances that you’ll appear in Google’s local 3-pack results if your company is located close to the defined city center.
For instance, if you’re a plastic surgeon in the Miami area, there are better chances that your business will be found in the local 3-pack if you’re plastic surgery practice is located in the city center of Miami. In essence, no amount of in-house SEO for surgeons can override this ranking factor.
As you implement this SEO consideration in 2016, it is worth noting that Google tends to be bias in this respect. That is, service area business and brick-and-mortar business may be disadvantaged simply because the business is not located within a given city. That is, they may not appear in the Google’s local results pack.
2. Consistency of Structured Citations
For a successful local SEO strategy, you must have a correct business citation on any web-based mention at all time. Basically, the terms “structured citation” simply refers to the process of listing a local business details in online directories – Yelp, Bing Local, YP.com, etc. The details may include business name, address and phone numbers. This can be abbreviated as NAP.
Therefore, in your SEO campaign, you need to correct any inconsistencies in all your listings.
How does it affect your SEO efforts? Misaligned citation will not only cause confusion to human beings, but also to the search engines. That is, Google will not trust the information it has gathered about your company. This will have a negative impact on your local SEO strategy. Thus, it one of those important ranking factors you must consider.
3. Proper GMB Category Associations
GMB refers to Google My Business. This year, it will be yet, another important raking factor. In an attempt to have a proper GMB category associations you must consider the following key factors:
- Claim a GMB page via individual or bulk verification.
- Give an accurate description of your business. For example, don’t confuse a business category and services your business renders or products.
- Consistency in address and phone number.
- Use a keyword that describes your business as the business title. Do not stuff the keyword.
- Add relevant information that describes your business. That is, a short description about the business, pictures, opening and closing hours.
4. Proximity of Address to the Point of Search
In your local SEO campaign for 2016, the proximity of an address to the point of search will also play an instrumental role among the ranking factors. Initially, it only formed a smaller segment of regular search. However, according to a research carried out by Moz it is among the top 5 Local Stack ranking factors.
So, what does it mean for SEO?
Google will detect a physical location of a business that tend to have local intent. That is, Google is biased towards a business located within a specific geographical location. This implies that, business that are near the searcher will appear in the local results.
5. Quality/Authority of Structure Citations
You must list your business on high quality websites. A general rule, strive so that, your business is listed on authoritative local business directories and indexes. You need to perform a thorough search of every aspect of your business.
Even through this process seems to be dynamic, you may consider places to list a business based on the following key criteria:
- Domain authority.
- Link profile quality.
- Domain age.
When you blend all these ranking factors for local SEO in 2016, there are chances that you’ll yield better results.