While the click through rate (CTR) and the number of times a page was consulted were previously considered by the algorithm, they have now been dropped. In fact, since several months now, only three factors are taken into account by Google for local search results. Let’s have a look at which ones do really matter for local ranking today!
Relevance refers to whether the information of a business listing match the query used by a given web user. It is obvious that the more the listing will be complete and accurate, the easier it will be for Google’s algorithm to understand the activity of your company, and therefore to show it in the search results.
Distance is to be understood as the geographical distance. For Google, the distance corresponds to the estrangement which may exist between several businesses appearing in search results and the location used by the user. If the web user does not include a location in its search query, Google will try and estimate the distance based on the information it possesses about the user.
The prominence simply refers to the popularity of the business. Some places are more popular in the real world than on the web, and that is something Google currently tries to take into account. By the way, it is a really good thing. Awesome restaurants, renowned leisure centres and prestigious restaurants or hotels are now more likely to enjoy a higher prominence in Google local search results.
But that is not all…
On top of these three essential criteria, the number of reviews and positive ratings found by Google around the web may also improve the prominence of your listing, as is the ranking of your website. Backlinks, publications on your website (if you have a blog, for instance) and the feedbacks received by your local Google My Business page are other criteria taken into account.