So you have implemented the best strategies, but you couldn’t get into Google’s local pack.Every business experiences the problem local SEO ranking

Here’s The Glimpse of Critical Local Search Ranking Factors 2020

Local SEO Ranking

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The Importance of Top Listing In Google

  • Top Position Gets More Traffic
  • Enhance Business Authenticity
  • Win Customers from Your Competitors
  • Create Brand Awareness
  • Increase Conversion Rate

Chapter 3: What Factors Influence Local SEO?

  • Google My Business
  • Online Review
  • Keywords
  • Backlinks
  • Citations
  • On-page Optimization
  • User Experience 


So you have implemented the best strategies, but you couldn’t get into Google’s local pack. Well, you are not alone. Every small business experiences the same. When it comes to local SEO ranking, local search results are personalized based on your location. In fact, there is no such thing called one-size-fit-to-all for ranking factors. Yes, it keeps changing, and it could be hard to keep up with the developments, especially if you are a beginner.

What worked for a business may not work for you, and it doesn’t have to. SEO requirements evolve, and so do the rankings and results. Some companies may be in the zero position for a certain period but not always. If you want to hold that position, you need to really work very hard.

But, why? What influences local SEO ranking factors? Why do results differ from one to another widely? Well, you are in the right place. This blog is all about the factors that influence the local SEO rankings.

If you figure it out, then am sure you would know what to do and how to adjust your strategies accordingly.

Before getting into the local search ranking factors, let’s find out the perks of being at the top of Google’s local search engine result pages. 

The Importance of Top Listing In Google

Getting into the top of the search result pages was a dream for many small and local businesses. But, in a platform where big brands with big budget domination are high, it was very challenging for local businesses to get into the top list. It was when Google came up with a smart solution to give small businesses to target local audience.

Yes, Google, the boss of search engines, rolled an algorithm update called pigeon which was a boon for small and local businesses. Pigeon changed the whole game of SEO by giving preference to businesses that were in close proximity to the user. This is when local SEO was born! The update meant a lot for local businesses and a lifeline in an increasingly competitive SEO world. Since then, small businesses have been thriving and had a place for them in local search results.

1.Top Position Gets More Traffic

Do you know websites on the top get about 42% of the traffic while the second gets 11%? Yes, it’s clear why your website should be in the top position. In fact, according to the latest SEO data, 78% of users make a search that includes location information will carry out a transaction in the physical store. It’s not just for online businesses. Even for businesses that have physical store, it is crucial to have a local SEO strategy that helps them expose to their potential customers.

It’s the website that helps you reach your target audience. Since the competition is high, you’ll need to optimize your website to reach the top position in search engines. If your website is on top, it means that you are trustable which significant elements for more leads and traffic.

2.Enhance Business Authenticity

Search engine page rankings not only help grow your business but also give an opportunity to show your audience as your business is reliable and authentic. Yes, recent data show that users think the first websites at the top of the search engine local results are the most trustable companies in the industry. Isn’t that a great opportunity? Indeed!

3.Win Customers from Your Competitors

See, if your website tops in Google pack, you will win even if your competitor has a better product at a low price or offer a reliable service. Yes, that’s the power of local search results. In fact, it is proven that if a websites rank on top in search engine result pages, a particular business will become five times better than their competitors.

4.Create Brand Awareness

Does your target audience aware of your business? Well, ranking high in search engine results helps you to create brand awareness and the best impression without investing a lot. This makes your brand more widely visible and increases the chances of converting the audience into regular customers.

5.Increase Conversion Rate

Ranking high in search engine local results can boost your conversion rates in different ways. The more you get traffic, the more chances for the conversion. If you have a well-designed and optimized site, you can boost the conversion rates.

What Factors Influence Local SEO?

While Google includes 200 factors into their algorithm for ranking websites, there are some crucial ranking factors that accounts for high ranking in local search results. So, what influences the rankings?

1.Google My Business

GMB signals account for 25.12% when it comes to ranking factors!

Google My Business is the number one ranking factor that tops the list. GMB plays a significant role in local search. Yes, with well-optimized Google My Business listing you could attract your customers, generate leads, and convert them into buyers. In fact, GMB is the most influential for local businesses. It is not just a directory that’s going to give information about your business. It is a powerful digital marketing strategy that helps to enhance your authority and credibility.

GMB is a boon for local businesses! On average, potential customers will find your business 800 times from discovery searches and 157 times from direct searches. So, it’s essential to keep discovery searches as high as possible to drive traffic to your website,   and Google My Business can help with that.

The activities related to GMB have grown significantly from 25% in 2018 to 33% in 2020. About 64% consumers rely on Google My Business to find the details of a local business. So, it’s no wonder why you need to claim your GMB listing and optimize it.

How to Optimize My Google Business?

Claiming Google My Business is easy. It is a free platform. Once you register your company, you could begin using it. It is of utmost importance to add as much as information possible to increase your visibility. Ensure your listing is accurate and up-to-date. Focus on NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) as these are the significant elements will be indexed when a user searches for a product or service that you are offering, providing a foundation for your Local SEO.

Add high-quality images of your product or service to boost your listing’s effectiveness. It will help searches view your products and service and get a feel that you are a trusted brand. Use local number and make sure it’s updated.

Choose the right category so that Google will decide which category your business listing belongs to. Reviews are one of the best features of GMB so encourage reviews and more importantly, respond to customer reviews no matter if it is bad or good.

By building up your Google My Business listing, you will be able to drive more traffic to your website and boost your ranking.

2.Online Reviews

Whether you believe or not, online reviews are now the second most influential factor for local SEO rankings that overtakes backlinks. Why small businesses need online reviews? Well, about 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Moreover, according to SEO experts, review signals account for 15% of Google local pack ranking factors.

The purchase likelihood for a product with five ratings and more positive reviews is 250% greater than a product without any reviews.

Positive reviews save more time of the consumers as it helps customers trust businesses, converts searchers into leads, and ultimately, drives more traffic to the website and boost rankings. In short, you can expose your brand as more trustworthy to your users.

How to Grow Online Reviews?

Okay, let’s admit it; it’s very hard to satisfy every customer. Do you agree? But, there is one thing could. What is that? Respond to the negative reviews. If a customer is not satisfied and gave a bad review and rating, ask them and try to resolve the issue. Here’s what you need to do to grow online reviews:-

  • Deliver an excellent customer experience
  • Request reviews from your customers
  • Be strategic
  • Offer a range of review platforms
  • Respond to reviews, be it bad or good so that you will be projected as a good company that is concerned about their customers


Keywords are another crucial factor for local search. Choosing the right keywords is the key. If you are trying to rank for a particular keyword, you need to show Google that your website is a relevant result for it. Since search engines use crawlers to analyze your pages and find out what you are offering, it is important to use the right keywords. So, keywords are an essential element as they help determine which pages of your business have the chance to rank for.

How to Select Keywords for Local SEO?

Perform local keywords search. The first step you need to do is to determine which search queries are helping people to find the service or products you are offering. Optimizing the website will be a hassle-free if you know the keywords you need to rank for. You can implement the right local SEO strategies and focus your efforts on the relevant keywords.

Use free tools like Google’s keyword planner, SEMrush, etc. to find out the keywords for your location. Don’t just restrict the location. Search by including nearby and distant location as people are using voice search as well.

In addition to it, research on what your competitors are doing to rank better in local searches and what keyword they are using.

By doing so, it’s easy to source the keywords and work on them to rank better in search engine result pages.

Once you pick the right keywords, it is essential to incorporate them into your webpages. But, make sure not to stuff the keywords to boost your rankings as you will be penalized by Google.


Despite various algorithm updates, backlinks still remain to be one of the strongest ranking signals by search engines. Backlinks play a significant role in driving more traffic to your website and boost the rankings in organic search results. This makes them a crucial local SEO ranking factor. When another website links to yours, it signals to search engines that your site is reliable and trustworthy, which in turn drive more traffic.

The more links you earn, the more traffic. When a reputed site links to yours, it tells the search engines that your site has valuable information that users are looking for.

That said, the quality of links have a major impact on the rankings. Yes, not all links are good and created equal. If your website has a lot of unnatural, irrelevant, and broken links, you’ll be punished by Google. This can negatively impact your site’s performance. You’ll have to start from scratch.

How to Build High-Quality Backlinks?

There is no better way to build quality links than publishing than creating valuable contents to the users. Matt Cuts, Former Head of Google Web Spam, said it right, “The objective is not to make your links appear natural; the objective is that your links are natural.” Yes, search engines look for natural links.

Good contents not only rank higher in Google but also attract a number of backlinks. Reach out the bloggers, industry editors, and other sites to make them check your content. Email and let them know that you have some newsworthy, valuable content that would benefit the users. You could build links with infographics, videos, contents, and much more.


Citations play a significant role in how people see your business. In fact, it is an important element in local SEO. A local business citation is the NAP of a business through a website, social media platforms, and online directories.

If you monitor the local citations and keep your NAP updated and consistent in all the directories, the chances are high that your website will rank high in local search results. If overlooked, it could negatively impact your ranking and people may not see your business at all.

While accurate and consistent data can build trust among internet users, inconsistent NAP could damage your reputation and revenue.

How to Maximize Local Citations?

Get listed on local listing sites as it is one of the best ways to reach and influence in a particular area. Make sure your local citation listing has consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number throughout online and social media platforms. Try to contact the website administrator of a website that mentions your business details incorrectly.

Keep all the information updated across all your channels so that it doesn’t affect your local SEO rankings. With free SEO tools, it is easy to monitor who says what about your business.

6.On-page optimization

On-page optimization is one of the most important areas you need to focus on ranking high in local search results. In fact, on-page contents account for 15% of local SEO ranking factors. Having the right keywords in the titles of the landing page and keyword relevance across all the pages makes a significant difference to your local rankings.

On-page SEO will never become unimportant for local SEO rankings. So, it is crucial to optimize the website as per Google’s guidelines.

How to Optimize Local On-Page Content

Location relevance is very important when it comes to local on-page content. If you have many branches, create city-specific landing pages with content tailored for each area. Also, keep the website’s metadata, including title tags, description, and other information is updated and consistent across all the pages and make it easy for the readers to read and understand your content. Performing on-page checks is crucial to identify potential issues that could affect your local SEO rankings or hinder the user experience. Also, make sure the site is free of errors by auditing the site regularly to avoid being penalized by Google.

7.User Experience

Do you know the way users interact with the site could affect your rankings? Yes, user behavior signals are sent to Google, which indicates whether or not your site is helpful for the users. Behavioral signals account for 10% of local organic results. This is one of the reasons why Google consider behavioral signals as one of the major factors. Therefore, it is essential to provide users with a positive experience to ensure they spend more time on your webpage. The more time user spends on your site, the more positive outcomes.

Click-through rate, pages per session, bounce rate, page speed, and responsive design are most important behavioral factors search engines consider for rankings.

How to Enhance the User Experience?

Focus on all the areas, including Click through rate, pages per session, bounce rate, page speed, and responsive design. By making certain improvements to your website, you’ll be able to provide users with a positive experience. This, in turn, keeps the searchers interested in your website and makes them remain on your site for a long period. See, it’s not just about improving your rankings. It is all about focusing on the right audience to your business.

Final Thoughts

Of course, there are many local ranking factors to consider when it comes to local SEO. But, the ones above are some of the most important factors you need to put a lot of efforts and focus more to build and grow your digital presence. If you want to see long-term benefits from local SEO, you’ll have to follow a comprehensive and systematic approach. Local SEO takes time and requires ongoing effort to get it right. Identifying the factors that affect the local SEO rankings is just the beginning of your local search marketing. You still have to go a long way to achieve the desired results.

Need a lift in local search results? Our SEO specialists could help you. We implement the right and most effective strategies to dramatically increase the leads that your website receives through organic search. 


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About Charanya A S

Charanya A S Books are my best companions and obsessed with Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Masson novels that are based on crime thrillers. The more I read, the more I love to write. I believe that when you write something, you can make anything happen. Writing gives me great satisfaction, as if I have achieved something. They say, “Practice makes the man perfect,” and I strongly believe in. The passion for writing will never stop; I am learning and will learn to enhance my writing skills forever! .... more info