New Survey Shows What Local SEO Experts Think Are The Most Important Ranking Factors

Updated: March 30, 2023
local seo important ranking factors

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By now, most marketers and business owners should have an understanding of just how vital SEO and Google Rankings are to the success of a business.

Each year, Whitespark, a leading provider of local search marketing services, releases a comprehensive report examining the latest findings on local SEO and the most important ranking factors. The 2023 report provides critical findings on which factors affect local SEO the most, according to experts.

Below are some key findings that can help you decide this year’s strategy for local SEO and ranking.

Local Search Ranking Findings

The Local Pack on Google is the cream of the crop for organic search results. These businesses appear along with maps and other outstanding information on Google’s SERP when customers research local businesses. Whitespark’s research found that, out of all the ranking factors, some of the most vital factors that can help land your business on the local pack rankings include the following:

  • Your GBP Category: Your Google business profile’s category has a large effect on the visibility of your business in the local pack. Make sure to choose a category that best reflects your business.
  • GBP’s business name and title: Integrating keywords into your title is somewhat frowned upon by Google. However, if you can integrate a keyword relevant to your business, it can drastically increase your visibility in the local pack.
  • Proximity to Point of Search: The closer your business is to the searcher’s location, the greater the chance it has of appearing on the local pack rankings.
  • Physical address in the city of search: If your business does not have an address in the city of the searcher’s location, it will be difficult to show up on local pack rankings.
  • Removing spam listing through spam fighting: Spam will never help your local visibility and can even hurt it. Make sure to address any spam listings where possible.

Organic Local Search Ranking Findings

Organic, in SEO terms, refers to traffic coming from search engines, as opposed to paid ads or direct visitors. Since organic searches are generally the most effective for businesses, Whitespark’s research focused on understanding which factors are most important for organic local search rankings.

Some of the key findings include the following:

Dedicated page for your services: We get it, designing a website is hard enough, and focusing on dedicated pages for all of your services can seem daunting. However, having individual pages devoted to each service you offer increases the chances that you will appear in local organic search results.

  • Internal Linking Across Site: Linking to other pages of your website is important, not only to help customers find more information quickly, but also to show Google that you are a credible source. Consider revamping your content and adding in more internal links when possible.
  • High-quality and Authoritative Inbound links to your website: Generating quality backlinks is an essential part of SEO, and increasingly important for organic local search rankings. Backlinking, for those that don’t know, is when a website links to yours. Make sure the backlinks are coming from authoritative and reliable websites to help improve your ranking drastically. Blackhat tactics, like having a spam website link to your page, will only hurt your rankings.
  • Geographic keyword relevancy of content: Never keyword stuff your content, but do make sure to include relevant keywords that match the geographical area you are targeting. Adding relevant location keywords will help boost your visibility in local organic search rankings.
  • Keywords in Google Business Profile landing page title: Again, keyword stuffing and irrelevant keywords are not helpful. However, including relevant keywords in your Google business profile landing page title can help you rank higher.

How to Implement the Above Findings

Now that we have discussed the most important ranking factors for appearing in local SERPs, let’s look at how to effectively implement them. These are just some tips that scratch the surface of improving your search rankings.

  1. Carefully choose your Google business profile category: Make sure to select a category that best reflects your business and won’t confuse customers.
  2. Revamp your Site: Created dedicated service pages and add more internal links to relevant pages.
  3. Incorporate geographic keywords into your content: Adding relevant location keywords to your content will help show Google that you are targeting a specific area.
  4. Generate high-quality backlinks: Make sure any backlinks coming to your website are from reliable and authoritative sources. This will drastically help improve your organic local search rankings.
  5. Optimize your Google My Business listing: Include a detailed description of your business in your GMB listing, and make sure to add relevant keywords to your page title.

Final Thoughts

Your organic local search visibility is an essential part of marketing your business online. Utilizing Whitespark’s findings can help you improve your rankings and reach more customers. Implementing the tips discussed above can give you a head start in boosting your local SEO presence and visibility.

Do you want to continue to be updated with Marketing best practices? I strongly suggest that you subscribe to The Beat, Rock Content’s interactive newsletter. There, you’ll find all the trends that matter in the Digital Marketing landscape. See you there!


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