Local SEO ranking factors

Local SEO Ranking Factors – A Guide to Mastering Local SEO

By: Frank DePino | January 25, 2024

With more than 87% of consumers using Google to evaluate the credibility of their businesses, using local SEO ranking factors to stand out in the crowd is key. But what exactly are these factors, and why is it so important for your business to pay close attention to them? 

Local SEO ranking factors are the parameters Google and other search engines use to determine where a business appears in local search results. From optimizing your on-page SEO to completing your  Google Business profile, there are numerous ways to climb higher in the SEO rankings. 

In this guide, we’ll look in-depth at how you can improve your rankings in search engines. 

What Are the 10 Most Important Local SEO Ranking Factors? 

Though Local SEO ranking factors are in a constant state of flux, there are a few factors that seem to stand out more than others. 

1. Domain Authority

Domain authority is an umbrella search ranking metric that was developed by the team at Moz, which predicts how likely a website is to secure a top SERP position. 

Better domain authority means better rankings in local, organic search results.

While there are many methods you can use to achieve higher domain authority, some of the most important include optimizing your Google Business Profile, creating engaging and relevant content, and acquiring high-quality backlinks from other local businesses. 

2. On-Site SEO Optimization

While there are endless ways to optimize a website to increase the flow of local search engine traffic, making sure you have relevant, high-quality content and a user-friendly site structure will get you furthest with search engine crawlers. 

Here are a few ways you can start optimizing your on-site SEO:

  • Use relevant and impactful headings
  • Establish internal links
  • Implement quality multimedia components
  • Craft compelling meta-descriptions
  • Optimize page titles

Let’s work together and create an on-site optimization strategy that suits your business.

Image showcasing Mediaboom's Google Business Profile (GBP) and its gallery

3. Google Business Profile (GBP)

Google Business Profile (GBP) is somewhat of a cornerstone of local SEO optimization. It’s a completely cost-free Google tool that connects consumers with nearby businesses via Google Maps. 

When you have your GBP listing filled out correctly, it captures the attention of both the search engine’s algorithms and potential local customers. In fact, the Google Business Profile is often the first point of contact for people looking for products and services on Google, which is why it’s key to make sure you have your business listed and that you’re actively managing it. 

Note that your Google Business Profile determines relevancy with factors like categories, proximity, and keywords, so take these into account when filling out your profile. 

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4. NAP Consistency

NAP, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, offers business contact details while reaffirming the legitimacy of a business for search engine crawlers.

Make sure your NAP is identical across all directory and citation listings so that you don’t confuse the search engines. 

5. Local Keyword Usage

With a dialed-in local keyword strategy, you can reel in potential customers who are searching for niche products or services that you offer.

Google has long emphasized the importance of geo-targeting and location-based keywords when it comes to search results and local SEO ranking factors. One of the things you can do is research and implement the most relevant keywords with keyword tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush and implement them into your site.

Contact our team to learn more about how you can boost your SEO with proper keyword utilization.

6. Online Directory Listings

If your business is not already in online directory listings, put the task on your to-do list.

Search engines rely on the NAP data from these directories to determine your local organic search result rankings, so ensuring your business information is verified and complete can be hugely impactful.

7. Citation

Online citations and directories are somewhat like modern-day Yellow Pages, providing accurate and up-to-date information about your business that can help you secure reputable and authoritative local backlinks. Citation signals account for 13% of the overall ranking factor.

Many consumers turn to these citations to find contact details and various products and services, while search engines rely on citations to verify essential business details.

8. Local Backlinks

As a local business, you should strive to acquire relevant and authoritative backlinks from local websites. Do note that in Google’s eyes, however, quality surpasses quantity, so do your research.

The local SEO ranking criteria take a number of factors into account regarding backlinks, including the authority of the linking domains, link relevance, the number of linking domains, and the specific anchor text.

image featuring 5-star positive reviews for Mediaboom, the premier Digital Marketing Agency in CT, alongside glowing testimonials on Google.

9. Google Reviews

When you’re looking for a new restaurant to try, you want to see that it has positive reviews, right?

Google sees it the same way. When it sees positive reviews, it pins the business as “trustworthy.”

Google gives businesses with consistently positive reviews better rankings. However, don’t think you can fool Google with fake reviews, as it also takes the overall quality, quantity, and diversity of reviews into account.

We recommend encouraging your happy customers to share positive feedback on platforms like Yelp and Google Maps!

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10. User Behavior

There are many ranking factors that consider how users interact with your site, such as dwell time and click-through rate.

Though user behavior only accounts for 8% of your ranking weight, it’s still a key factor to keep in mind.

Google highly values user behavior, as it’s much harder to manipulate than some of the other local SEO ranking factors. 

While some SEO experts try to manipulate user behavior, we often find that it’s better to spend time optimizing your Google Business Profile and crafting high-quality content to provide users with the best possible experience.

In turn, you’ll naturally enhance your user behavior signals. 

Google My Business local SEO ranking factors

How To Track Local Ranking

If you can’t monitor your website’s performance, how in the world will you know what areas need optimization?

This is where having the right tracking tools is invaluable.

Top 3 Useful Tools

Here at Mediaboom’s digital marketing agency, we use the highest-quality digital marketing tools to optimize site performance. Here’s a short list of some of our favorite tools.

Want to learn more about how we use these tools to optimize our clients’ rankings? Get in touch

Semrush position tracking as a tool for local SEO ranking factors.

1. SEMrush Position Tracking

SEMrush Position Tracking is one of the best SEO tools on the market, as it allows users to track their daily positions by monitoring a custom set of keywords.

It also provides a number of great advanced tracking functions, such as geographic location tracking, language tracking, and device type tracking. You can even take all of your SEO ranking data and compile it into a downloadable PDF format to assess in full. 

2. Moz Rank Checker

Moz has been a long-standing player in the SEO industry, and the Moz Pro Rank Tracker is a great example of a reliable rank-checking tool.

You can use it to monitor keyword rankings either weekly, monthly or in a completely custom timeframe of your choosing, as well as make insightful comparisons for keyword visibility between mobile and desktop searches.

3. Ahrefs Rank Tracker 

Ahrefs is one of the most well-known SEO companies in the industry, and Rank Tracker, with its many precise features, makes it a top choice for pro SEOs. 

With Ahrefs Rank Tracker, you can monitor keyword positions for your pages and post and pinpoint rankings for specific countries by adding keywords to your tracker list, taking it outside the sphere of local SEO.

Ahrefs also provides endless data for you to assess, including the average position, current keyword position, and keyword-generated traffic, making it incredibly valuable for those who need deep insights into their SEO work. 

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What are the 4 SEO Rank Factors?

There are four key factors that can influence your SEO rankings:

1. On-Page SEO

On-page SEO includes things like images, internal links, and title tags, all of which optimize the user experience. When Google “crawls” your site, it tries to determine certain things about your content, such as whether you’re using relevant keywords based on the content, whether pages on similar topics are linked to one another, and whether images have alt-text.

2. Off-Page SEO

Contrary to on-page SEO, off-page SEO looks at external site factors, including social media engagement, product reviews, and audience interaction. The more users engage with and share your content, the more Google will value it. Guest blogs and backlinks are two essential components of off-page SEO.

3. Technical SEO

This looks at how smoothly your site operates and includes aspects like sitemap creation, speed optimization, duplicate content removal, and whether or not your site performs optimally on all devices, including mobile and desktop.

4. Local SEO

As you now know, local SEO helps consumers discover nearby businesses with organic searches. Google Business Profile is one of the main tools used for local SEO ranking factors, as it allows you to manage how your business is displayed on Google.

More importantly, however, are the actions you can take to optimize each of these rank factors.

Woman searching on her laptop for local SEO ranking factors

Additional Resources to Improve Local Rank

Beyond taking care of the above local SEO ranking factors, there are a few additional things you can do to climb higher in the search engines. 

Optimize Your Website Design

Google likes responsive, user-friendly websites, and as mobile usage continues to surge, it’s even more important to provide a smooth mobile experience. 

Check out our web design project for Quazi Clinic for an excellent example of how great web design can have beneficial results.

Increase Your Speed 

Most of your traffic will originate from mobile users, so make sure to assess the speed at which your pages load on mobile devices. Excessive dynamic elements and visuals can hinder load times, though luckily, we have tools like PageSpeed Insights that can provide detailed insights into your website’s loading speed to give you a better idea of how it’s performing. 

Explore our SEO Optimization article to find other ways to increase your visibility.

Mediaboom content marketing strategy for local SEO ranking factors

Define a Content Marketing Strategy

If you don’t have a quality content marketing strategy in place, it’s important to start crafting one now. 

From creating valuable, keyword-optimized blogs to auditing and repurposing existing content, there are many ways in which having a consistent stream of content can boost your local SEO efforts.

Get in touch with us here at MediaBoom to see how we can help you build a one-of-a-kind content marketing strategy like this one.

Constantly Publish New Resources

With a continuous flow of new content and resources, you show search engines that you’re active and authoritative. Plus, it’s a great way to keep people coming back to your site. 

Check out our content creation guide to see how you can best regularly update your website with fresh and informative content. 

Collaborate with Local Businesses In Link-Building Campaigns

As we said before, having quality local backlinks from reputable businesses can significantly boost your local SEO rankings, so establishing partnerships and collaborating with businesses in your area for link-building campaigns can be incredibly beneficial. 

Get in touch with reputable businesses in your area that work in the same industry or offer relevant products and services.

Team working together and planning local SEO ranking factors

FAQs About Local SEO Ranking Factors

How Do I Rank Higher In Local SEO

There are several ways in which you can rank higher in local SEO, though some of the most important factors include:

  • Optimizing your Google Business Profile
  • Improving your internal linking structure
  • Performing a local SEO audit
  • Ensuring NAP consistency across all platforms 
  • Engaging on social media
  • Optimizing online citations and directories

What Is The Most Important Local Search Ranking Factor?

Having an optimized Google Business Profile is one of the most important factors for local search rankings. 

How Does Google Determine Local Ranking?

Google determines local search rankings based on a combination of factors, including prominence, distance, and relevance, so having SEO to support these elements is key. 

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Looking to take your business to the next level? Mediaboom is here to help. Sign up for a free consultation with one of our digital experts.

Conclusion 

As you can see, there are many essential local SEO ranking factors to account for, and each holds its weight when it comes to driving organic traffic.

A lot of these strategies require trial and error, and seeing consistent results often means months of work. However, one way to speed up the process is to partner with a digital marketing agency like Mediaboom. 

Allow us to do the hard work for you so you can focus on what really matters — your business. 

Contact us today to get started.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals, building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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